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POLL | Would you pay extra to activate your car's seat heater?

BMW has caused a stir by placing some of its cars’ installed features behind a paywall. Is it fair?

19 July 2022 - 10:55 By TImesLIVE
Subscription features include steering wheel heating for R160 a month.
Subscription features include steering wheel heating for R160 a month.
Image: Supplied

BMW has caused a stir by placing some of its cars’ installed features — including heated seats — behind a paywall.

For vehicles which have seat-heating coils already installed, owners can, if they choose, pay a R250 monthly fee to activate the seat heating. The benefit would be a lower upfront price for the car and the ability to only pay for the feature when it is needed, like in winter.

The subscriptions are available through an online market called the BMW ConnectedDrive Store in some countries, including SA. It’s all done over the air, without the need to visit a dealer to install the software.

Some subscription features are payable monthly, others give you the option of paying an annual subscription, and some are one-off subscriptions for an unlimited period.

Other subscription features include steering-wheel heating (R160 a month), real-time traffic information (R900 a year), and a high-beam assistant (R160 a month).

Driving Assistant Plus, which automatically maintains your desired speed, lane and distance to the vehicle in front, is available for R530 a month. Adaptive M suspension is a one-off feature that can be activated for R7,200.

BMW’s offering has gone viral on Twitter with public reaction less than positive. BMW sparked similar controversy in 2018 when it charged US customers $80 a year for using wireless Apple CarPlay.

Has BMW scored an own goal by asking you to pay extra for such features, or is a paywall a good way to manage your motoring costs?

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