BMW Starts Selling Heated Seat Subscriptions For $18 A Month

BMW now sells subscriptions for the heated seat in many countries. This is the latest example of BMW's use of microtransactions to fund high-end features.

Monthly subscriptions to heat your BMW's front seats cost about $18, with options to pay for a year ($180), three years ($300), or unlimited access for $415.

Although it's not known when BMW began offering this feature as an option for a subscription or in which countries, several outlets reported that they saw its launch in South Korea this week.

Since 2020, BMW has been slowly adding features to subscriptions. Heated seat subs are now sold in BMW's digital shops in the UK, Germany, and New Zealand. However, it doesn't seem to be available in the US.

BMW has not provided any details about the roll-out. However, it could not tell us when subscriptions were launched in which countries. 

The news is not widely reported by BMW; it's no surprise. 

Customers have criticized the move as exploitative and greedy since the company revealed in 2020 that the operating system of its cars would allow microtransactions for features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.

Customers have been charged more for higher-end features by carmakers. Still, the dynamics are very different when software is the limiting factor.

BMW's heated seats are an example of this. BMW added a software block to their functionality, which buyers will have to pay to remove. BMW already has all the components for the heated seat.

A subscription fee seems more reasonable for some features that could incur ongoing costs for the carmaker (such as automated traffic camera alerts). Heating seats are not affected by this.

BMW also offers subscriptions for heated steering wheels starting at $12 per month.

The company's digital UK shop lists the option to record footage from your vehicle's camera, which costs $235 per month for "unlimited" usage.

And the "IconicSounds Sport Package," which allows you to play engine sounds inside your car for an additional $117.

BMW states that the hardware needed for this feature was already installed during manufacturing.

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