BMW Malaysia starts charging subscription fees for things your car already has

It’s only been a couple of days since BMW South Korea caused a big hoohah on the internet, for introducing subscription fees for the heated seats in their cars. But BMW Malaysia has also now followed suit by introducing several new subscriptions on its ConnectedDrive Store, for things that are already built into the car you bought.

This isn’t the first time that BMW Malaysia has attempted the subscription model. Back when Apple CarPlay was introduced on BMW models here in Malaysia in 2019, the company also introduced a monthly subscription fee for the feature, before (partly) walking back on it following the brand’s global directives caused by customer outrage.

Click to enlarge – a snapshot of the BMW ConnectedDrive Store as of 14/7/2022.

The “Apple CarPlay Preparation” is still listed on the ConnectedDrive Store with a one-time fee of RM1,299, that’s meant for older cars that did not already have the feature enabled from the factory. But today’s news is not that, because BMW Malaysia has added even more items onto the store, including ones for actual driving-related items such as the Adaptive M suspension at RM1,880 – something that you’ve probably already paid for, when they installed the part into your car in the factory.

Owners of BMW electric vehicles like the iX and iX3 will also need to pay RM640 for the Hans Zimmer-made IconicSounds Sport package, and a USB Map Update for the on-board navigation system will set you back RM269 per year.

Those aren’t even the most egregious ones in the list, too, because they’re still a one-time fee after all. How about the Driving Assistant Plus ADAS system, which came as standard on most recent BMW models in Malaysia, now costing RM170 a month to use (RM1,690 annually, RM2,640 for a three-year subscription, or a RM3,750 one-time fee)?

Other new subscription items that are now listed on the ConnectedDrive Store also include:

  • High beam assistant – RM40 monthly, RM370 per year, RM550 per three years, or RM800 for unlimited access
  • Front seat heating – RM80 monthly, RM780 per year, RM1,230 per three years, or RM1,750 for unlimited access
  • Steering wheel heating – RM50 per month, RM410 per year, RM690 per three years, or RM950 for unlimited access
  • BMW Drive Recorder – RM55 per month, RM235 per year, RM549 per three years, or RM1,239 for unlimited access

Granted, all of these subscription items do offer a one-month free trial, and items such as the heated seats and steering wheel would probably never be used in our climate anyway. But charging extra on a monthly basis for items that are already technically paid for, in a car that you own, still does leave a sour taste in our mouths.

BMW’s justification for these subscription services is that customers can save money by paying for items only when they need it. But what do you think about them? Let us know in the comments below.


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