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BMW now offers an $18 monthly subscription for heated seats

Seats-as-a-Service is not something we want in our lives.

bmw steering wheel
Image: Unsplash

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UPDATE 9/7/2023: BMW has scrapped its plans for an $18 monthly heated seats subscription after customer backlash, ending the experiment with unlocking existing car features through microtransactions. Original story below.

BMW drivers in multiple countries now need to pay a monthly subscription fee to use some of the features in their cars. That includes the heated seats, which cost $18 a month to use.

BMW has slowly been putting as many car features as it safely can behind paywalls since 2020. Heated seats are installed at the factory, but you’ll have to pay to unlock them in many countries. Yes, it’s DLC for your cars and you should be outraged.

Check out the screenshot below, from the UK version of BMW’s ConnectedDrive digital storefront. Everything from active cruise control, active suspension, and even the ability to use CarPlay are all gated behind a one-time fee.

Heated seats are $18 a month, or $180 a year, $300 for three years, or $415 to unlock them permanently.

screenshot of bmw digital storefront in the uk
Screenshot: BMW UK

Then there are subscriptions for safety camera information, front seat heating, automatic high beam switching, and even steering wheel heating.

Sounds like price gouging to us, considering that BMW is still installing the hardware in the factory and presumably building the cost into the vehicle’s price.

The monthly subscription for heated seats from BMW is terrible. We can’t condone it. Let’s not forget that car manufacturers have been doing this nickel-and-dime shit whenever they can get away with it.

Tesla also disables the heated rear seats via software in its Model 3 range. It costs $300 to unlock them, via an OTA software update.

The only way we can see these subscriptions being worth it is if you can cancel at any time. There are really only a few months of the year you use your heated seats. Why pay for them the rest of the year?

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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