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BMW is hiding its best car features behind a paywall?

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By James Brizuela | 12 seconds ago

We can imagine that owning a luxury car of any kind is not a cheap undertaking. However, it seems that BMW is adding even more exclusivity to its produced vehicles. In a strange move, it has been announced that some of the most popular features offered in the company’s cars will now be treated as microtransactions† Yes, you read that right. Heated seats, active cruise control and automatic beam switching are some of the features built into the cars, but can only be unlocked through monthly subscriptions or for a large lifetime fixed fee.

The Verge had first reported that the seat heating feature was being converted to a monthly service. Apparently BMW charges $18 a month to run the heated seats even though it’s already built into the car. Customers can pay $18 per month, $180 per year, $300 for three years, or $415 for “unlimited” access to the function† This is a strange way to promote the vehicles that already cost a lot of money. A Twitter user talked about this strange feature paywall in reference to the model 530e they are driving trying to use the beam assist option. You can watch their tweet below:

According to the BMW website, the 530e model currently has a suggested retail price of $55,580. The xDrive 530e also has a higher price of $57,580. Each of those cars is quite expensive, and we understand that owning a car means that one could afford that much. However, imagine someone has to make their payments and find out that they have to pay an extra $400 to use a feature built into the car. The above Twitter user stated that the beam assistant option would cost $237 for unlimited access. Other users have also stated that certain features can only be purchased for the lifetime flat rate, such as the car alerting the driver when a speed camera is nearby. That costs a whopping $888. So in total, just for the three features mentioned: heated seats ($415), beam assist ($237), and speed camera warning ($888), the driver will have to pay an additional $1,540. This assumes that the “lifetime” option has been chosen.

BMW is one of the largest luxury car manufacturers in the world, but paying for features already in a car through monthly subscriptions is pretty insane. Then again, people who can afford these cars probably don’t care that much about those extra feature prices. This is just wild speculation, but there’s no way we can afford a nearly $60,000 car.

Remember that if you somehow get rich, understand that BMW wants to charge you extra money to actually use all the features in your car. We understand this makes more sense for those who lease cars as it’s not really their car, but it’s still pretty ridiculous to charge for functionality through subscriptions.