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BMW charging monthly fees
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Technology

Get this: BMW is charging $18 a month for heated seats

Fuel prices may have come down some, but drivers across the country are still spending more than they’d like to gas up.

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When you walk into a dealer looking for a new car, you expect optional extras that you can tack on. But those are one-time fees for additional convenience. BMW has taken options to a new level with monthly subscriptions for some features. You won’t believe it until you see it.

Here’s the backstory

BMW’s Connected Drive is available for specific models, essentially connecting your vehicle to the internet for software updates and functionality improvements. In addition, the Connected Drive Shop is a technological hub for digital services.

If you want Adaptive M Suspension, it will cost you about $470. The thing is, the hardware is already in your vehicle, and you can easily activate it through the BMW app. After making a digital payment, of course.

Going through a trial phase in several countries, including the U.K., Germany, South Korea and South Africa, you must pay a monthly fee if you want additional features. Here are some of the options:

  • BMW Drive Recorder starts at the equivalent of $235 per month. You can try it for free for one month.
  • If you want to know about any fixed traffic cameras, the BMW Safety Camera Information add-on starts at $29 per month.
  • High Beam Assistant automatically switches your high beams on and off when there is oncoming traffic. It costs $11 per month or $237 for unlimited use.
  • Can’t hear your vehicle’s engine? You can pay $117 to transfer the sound directly into the vehicle interior through the IconicSound Sport add-on.
  • Want a heated steering wheel? That’ll cost you around $11 per month, $177 for three years, or you can pay $237 for unlimited access.

Perhaps the biggest gripe is the monthly cost for heated front seats. For around $18 per month, you can heat your backside to “multiple intensity levels.” The unlimited option is available for a one-time payment of $415.

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What you can do about it

Potential BMW customers are drawing a line with monthly subscriptions to features already available in the vehicle.

“Is this Spirit Airlines or a luxury brand?” asked one perplexed Reddit user, comparing the subscription model to the budget airline. Another said that BMW wouldn’t get a hand on their money: “This is a dealbreaker for me. If they want subscriptions, they don’t get my business.”

But as the New York Post points out, this isn’t the first time a vehicle manufacturer is charging for extras. For example, any Tesla owner knows they must pay around $200 per month for the full self-driving functionality.

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