In our modern "pay a small monthly fee for it" life, it seems nothing is safe. Now, BMW is officially charging their customers (who pay between $35,000 and $140,000 for a vehicle) a monthly fee for the amenities we have come to know and nearly expect new vehicles to have.

Toasty Rear? $15, a month, please.

BMW UK Connect Drive Shop

BMW offers their customers a wide range of pretty cool features in their cars. From not needing a key (using your phone AS the key), to remote controls via the BMW app, to a fancy 24/7 Concierge. All "nice to have" but not exactly expected features. However, now in the BMW UK "Connect Drive" store, you have to PAY to unlock features that are already on the car you just bought for too much money.

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It's a BMW, you should expect it!

BMW UK Connect Drive

No, no you should not. You know it wasn't that long ago where you pay for a thing ONCE, and you owned it. And it was a heck of a lot cheaper! Many of the things the beemer shop is offering are kinda silly, such as "BMW Drive Recorder" to help you film your drives with the built-in camera system. However, my $35,000 Kia offers ALL of the below features (at no monthly cost):

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go (BMW - $750 additional charge to "unlock" it)
  • Adaptive Suspension ($399 to unlock)
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration (Kia? Free. Even in base models. BMW? $265)
  • Smart Automatic High-Beams ("Starting at $10 per month")
  • Heated Steering Wheel (Kia? Free. BMW? $10 a month, or "Unlimited" usage (of something you already paid for, and is IN THE CAR, for $200.)

Who owns a BMW in Montana, anyhow?

Well, as I am guessing from the choices beemer is making in the UK (soon to land in the US) likely... not many. If you buy a new Ford F-150 today (the number 1 selling truck, you know) you can have almost all of the BMW features, which are SUBSCRIPTIONS, for a one-time charge (some things, like the Drive Recorder, are not offered by Ford). At least some companies have decency left in them.

Overall, I wanted to highlight this little "detail" of what BMW is doing across the pond, and the fact is it bound to come here. And if people just allow these companies to do it, soon enough, EVERY company will be charging us for these "standard" features. I certainly don't look forward to the day I have to pay just to unlock the gas cap on my car.

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