BMW subscription services increase in US, no change for Australia yet

BMW boss warns electric cars will “never be cheap”

The rollout of BMW’s controversial subscription services – which unlock certain features already installed in the vehicle – has spread across the US. What’s next for Australia?


German carmaker bmw has expanded its range of controversial subscription services in the US – which unlock certain features already built into the car – but BMW Australia says there are no plans to expand its pay-to-play roster for the time being.

In July 2022, BMW announced it would offer heated seats and built-in dashcams as an additional cost option via a monthly or annual subscription in certain overseas markets. The controversial program arrived in Australia in late October 2022 with the local debut of the new generation X1 SUV.

While BMW’s cars come factory-equipped with the appropriate hardware to operate the features and ship them to customers, owners have to pay a subscription fee to unlock the features.



As reported by Motor Vehicle AuthorityBMW’s US division has now added more features to its Connected Drive subscription service store, ranging from convenience features – like remote engine start – to potentially life-saving features, including adaptive cruise control with Lane Keep Assist.

A spokesman for BMW Australia said drive There is currently no announcement regarding the local rollout of the subscription features.



2023 BMW X1

US availability and pricing of new subscription features vary by model and year.

A table of prices is available below, thanks to data sources from Motor Vehicle Authority.

special feature Availability A month A year 3 years Unlimited
Remote engine start 2019-later models with four- or six-cylinder engines, automatic only $US10 ($AU15) $US105 ($AU152) $US250 ($AU362) $US330 ($AU477)
Tachograph (built-in dashcam) Requires BMW Live Cockpit Professional and Parking Assistant Plus N / A $US39 ($AU56) $US99 ($AU143) $US149 ($AU216)
Traffic camera (warns of fixed and mobile speed cameras) Models from 2020 with BMW Live Cockpit Professional N / A $US25 ($AU36) N / A N / A
Driving Assistant Plus with Stop and Go (Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Keeping Assistant) BMW iX from 2022 $US20 ($AU29) $US210 ($AU304) $US580 ($AU839) $US950 ($AU1375)
Parking assistant professional BMW iX, X7 and 7 Series from 2022 with Parking Assistant Plus $US5 ($AU7) $US50 ($AU72) $US130 ($AU188) $US220 ($AU318)
BMW iX

As BMW continues to move certain features to its subscription service platform, the automaker has said it will not copy Mercedes-Benz by offering performance upgrades for a recurring fee.



In North America, owners of the electric Mercedes-Benz EQE and EQS models can purchase a limited-time power upgrade of 45 kW and 55 kW, respectively – an increase of about 20 percent – for an annual payment of US$1200 (AU$1735 ) receive.

As reported by AutoBuzzBMW’s chief technology officer (CTO) Frank Weber ruled out any possibility of the automaker offering customers more power as a subscription service due to the legal complexity of the process.

After AutoBuzz, automakers are required to report performance specifications for each new car, which includes software-based changes. This would be a time-consuming and potentially costly exercise that Weber says BMW could do without.



2023 BMW 7 Series

in November 2022, Top Gear Netherlands reported that Mercedes-Benz faced litigation in Germany after attempting to introduce the subscription power increase, with the publication claiming that European laws do not currently allow the practice.

the top gear The report suggested that Mercedes-Benz’s subscription would be against the law, as the automaker asks for a recurring annual payment to unlock the extra power.

Polestar also offers performance upgrades for its electric cars, although customers have to pay a one-time fee and no recurring payments.



As previously reported, the subscription trend has angered car buyers, but automakers are persistently trying to create a new level of profit — and ongoing revenue after their vehicles are sold to customers.

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MORE:Find used BMW cars for sale
Jordan Mulach

Jordan Mulach was born in Canberra/Ngunnawal and currently resides in Brisbane/Turrbal. Jordan joined the Drive team in 2022 and has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. A self-proclaimed iRacing addict, Jordan finds himself either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or berating his ZH Fairlane over the weekend.

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