Autonomous, networked driving, emission-free drives and who knows what else: the future will bring many things for drivers that are cause for celebration. But not everything that the industry can come up with is beautiful and sensible. BMW proves impressively in what a questionable direction it is going.

Unbelievable subscription: Car manufacturers rake in money with additional functions

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If you want to buy a new car, you usually have to put down a lot of money. Especially if it is to be a model from one of the well-known German premium manufacturers. Whether BMW, Mercedes or Porsche – none of them are for the small purse. But even well-heeled customers want something for their money. Yet soon there will be less and less equipment, while purchase prices are likely to continue to rise.

This is due to a development that is no longer entirely new: the subscription. Car manufacturers are now taking advantage of this. Features and functions that interested parties could or could not order when buying a new car are now simply installed and activated via software – for a surcharge, of course. More and more of what used to be taken for granted in a certain price range is gradually migrating to the subscription model.

BMW holds out the hand: That costs the seat heating per month

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Example BMW: navigation functions, advanced driver assistance programs, traffic information, a high-beam assistant or pleasant additional offers such as seat or steering wheel heating – all of this can be activated for a monthly surcharge. In Germany, BMW drivers receive these functions – depending on availability – in vehicles from operating system version 7. In other countries, BMW is also gradually enabling the services via its own system, called Connected Drive.

It costs: The Bavarians charge 17 euros for the seat heating per month from German customers. A year of warm buttocks is already available for 170 euros, three years for only 270 euros. After all, permanent activation is still possible and only costs a mere 385 euros (source: Winfuture). BMW is also taking questionable steps with its e-car strategy.

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Freedom of choice is the big selling point. But you can also make a lot of money this way. More and more functions are likely to be added in the future. The drivers’ warm buttocks fill the coffers of BMW and Co – brave new car world.