BMW Starts Selling Subscriptions for Heated Seats at $18 a Month

The BMW UK store offers many distinct software locked features, such as heated steering wheels.

The BMW UK store offers many distinct software locked features, such as heated steering wheels.

BMW starts selling heated seats at $18 a month
BMW (Image: Unsplash)

The future of auto industry seems grim, in the sense that it's racing towards a future full of microtransactions. BMW, one of the biggest auto makers in the world has begun selling subscriptions for heated seats in some countries.

Subscription Tiers

In its entirety, there are four tiers that, if you subscribe to, can enjoy the ‘luxury’ of heated front seats.

  1. A monthly subscription costs $18.
  2. Followed by yearly one, which is $180.
  3. A 3-year subscription that costs $300.
  4. Finally, a lifetime subscription that you can enjoy for a measly $415.

Where and Why

It is still unclear when exactly BMW started offering this particular ‘valuable’ feature as a subscription, but they were reported to have launched it in South Korea first. Although BMW has started putting many of its features as subscriptions since 2020, and this “heated seats” feature is now available in multiple countries such as UK, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa, except USA.

The interesting thing is that the drivers of BMW won’t have to take their cars to any BMW service stores for the installation of these features. The hardware is already here, it only needs to be unlocked through software, by paying. BMW themselves have said that; “the hardware for this feature has already been installed in your vehicle during production, at no extra cost".

BMW’s UK digital store with subscriptions
BMW’s UK digital store with subscriptions. (Source: BMW)

BMW Store

The BMW UK store, also known as “DriveConnected” offers many distinct software locked features such as heated steering wheels, from $12 a month; the option to record footage from your car’s cameras, priced at $235 for “unlimited” use; and the “IconicSounds Sport package,” which lets you play engine sounds in your car for a one-time fee of $117.

BMW Playing with ethics

BMW has come under fire for making its features available on subscription. They have ignited the argument that if companies should be allowed to sell their products like this, since this isn’t a software or a streaming site that can be bought on subscription. Not to mention, the hardware is already present in the car, so why is there a need to pay more for subscriptions. Although, people who are capable of buying a BMW may not bat an eye to this but they may set a precedent for other companies to follow, which could get troublesome.

Furthermore, these microtransactions could come bite them in the back when hackers jailbreak or root the car to unlock away all of these features free of cost.

by Talha Shaikhani