BMW Makes Heated Seats an $18/Month Subscription Service—Again


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 weeks ago  •  4 comments

By:   Nico DeMattia (The Drive)

BMW Makes Heated Seats an $18/Month Subscription Service—Again
BMW is testing out monthly subscription fees for options for heated seats, automatic high beams, and more in Korea.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

BMW is asking owners in Korea to pay for subscription-based options like heated seats or driver-assistance software.

byNico DeMattiaJul 11, 2022 1:11 PMNewsBMW-Sub-Fee.jpg?auto=webp&auto=webp&optimize=high&quality=70&width=1440

BMW has toyed with charging monthly subscriptions for certain digital "Connected Drive" options for a few years, testing the waters in different markets with different features. Korea is the latest market for subscription-based options, and customers can now pay monthly for physical options such as heated seats and a heated steering wheel.

As cynical as that might sound, Korean owners aren't forced to pay monthly for heated seats, or any of BMW's other available options, but monthly payments can be made to try those out. Heated seats, for instance, cost ₩24,000 (roughly $18) per month. But you can also pay for a year subscription ($176), a three-year subscription ($283), or you can buy the heated seats permanently ($406).

Some other options available with monthly or yearly subscriptions are a high beam assistant, BMW's Driving Assistance Plus software, a heated steering wheel, and an artificial noise generator to give electric cars like the i4 M50 a sci-fi noise while driving. Those will be available for different fees, and some can be added to a customer's car immediately via computer or smartphone.

There may be other avenues to enable the options, potentially. For something like heated seats, where the function is paywalled by software, I can easily see modders figuring out how to jailbreak the system and unlock the option for free. Volkswagen owners have done similar things to older VWs for more than a decade by using simple OBDII-based tools and laptops to unlock lighting modes and window functions, for instance. More recently, Ford Maverick owners learned they can unlock cruise control on entry-level Mavericks, simply by swapping out the steering wheel buttons and using some software.

So it isn't a stretch to assume BMW enthusiasts will figure out how to do the same thing for heated seats, heated steering wheels, and other options that the car already physically has equipped.


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PhD Guide
1  evilgenius    4 weeks ago

This is happening with other cars too. Kia Connect has a one year free trial and then you have to pay, or not have the service. I think we'll be seeing this in more luxury models and then filtering down to other cars.

PhD Guide
1.1  evilgenius  replied to  evilgenius @1    4 weeks ago

So at lunch today I see that GM has announced that any new 2022 and 2023 GMC or Buick will have 3 years of OnStar whether the buyer wants it or not. It's just a new line item on your build that ranges from $300 to $1500 depending on model and trim level.

Senior Silent
2  SteevieGee    4 weeks ago

My 96 Z3 has heated seats and no possible internet connection so...  Suck it BMW.

Split Personality
Professor Principal
3  Split Personality    4 weeks ago


My Mercedes has no spare tire so I keep their road side assistance

but paying for heated seats already installed in the vehicle?

pffftttt.  So be it, it will just drive people away from BMW & KIA.

No one with a smart phone needs the factory gps service either.

The "plan" almost sounds desperate.


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