BMW Options On Subscription - Connected Drive
BMW have officially launched their over-the-air upgrade service in the UK, allowing BMW owners to upgrade their cars with optional extras on a monthly or annual subscription basis. First launched in 2020, this new service works on BMWs with Operating System 7. Essentially, all cars that leave the factory are complete with the parts required for these options, but a software prevents these being used by the owner. Drivers/owners can access the options available through the BMW Connected Drive store.
For many, this is an incredibly strange concept; for years we have been used to selecting our desired options at the point of order which would be subsequently be included in the factory when the car is be built. While a similar feature has been seen before with the likes of Tesla and the ability to purchase the Full Autopilot feature post-delivery, this is the first time we have seen this from a "typical" car manufacturer.
How it works
There are full instructions on how this feature works on BMW's website which detail how easy this is. As the car is already built with the physical equipment required for the options, it is a simple case of removing the software block. BMW have detailed the instructions in four easy steps, but to summarise:
- Add the desired option(s) to your basket on the BMW Connected Drive Store and select your subscription package.
- When you are next in your car, a notification will prompt you to start to the upgrade - this can be done there and then or at later date, as long as the car is in Park.
- Once complete, you will receive a notification.
All of the upgrades are done remotely using the car's built in wi-fi. It seems the days of having to visit your local BMW dealership are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
The available options
The list options available for purchase or subscription is surprisingly extensive. Again, the full list of options and their purchase price or monthly subscription fee are detailed on BMW's website. Things like a heated steering wheel can be added from £10 a month and heated seats from £15 a month. Beyond map upgrades, anti-dazzling headlights and the Driving Assistant Plus pack, other options are available for purchase only.
Options such as Apple CarPlay, Adaptive M Suspension and Active Cruise Control are all available for purchase on an unlimited basis. The concept of upgrading and changing the way your car's suspension behaves is a crazy one to get your head around.
Automotive genius or automotive scam?
The debate is out as to whether this a great concept that allows drivers to experiment with what options they want on their car or even purchase them seasonally, for example, subscribing to heated seats and steering wheel during the winter months. It may also be a more affordable way of achieving a high spec without the increased costs to the monthly lease or payments as you would expect when you start adding a lot of options to the car.
BMW have also stated that it will reduce the production time of cars as they are not having to bespoke build cars. But similarly, it begs the question as to whether the base price of cars will be increased to cover the cost for all the equipment being added, regardless of whether or not the customer wants it.
Critics have suggested that some of the features are essential for road safety, such as the anti-dazzle headlights, and therefore should be a subscription based on option but instead standard. Other critics have been quick to label BMW as "greedy" and "opportunistic" for charging customers for options that are already included in the car.
This will definitely be a love or hate kind of relationship for BMW owners. Would it encourage you to opt for a BMW or put you off?
Looking for the latest in automotive news? Take a read through our other articles.
New to leasing? Dispel to myths by reading our car leasing myth buster.
Want a great leasing deal? Take a browse through our special offers.
To be the first to receive our new offers, news and reviews, sign up to our mailing list.
If you would like to speak to a member of the team, feel free to contact us!