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... The manufacturer began selling access to factory-installed heated seats and the heated steering wheel in 2020, though only in some markets, such as South Korea and the United Kingdom.
In South Korea, seat heat was available for the equivalent of about $18 per month, or $406 if purchased in perpetuity. In the UK, the price was about the same.
This was after the company said it would charge an $80 annual subscription fee to use Apple CarPlay in BMWs and subsequently reversed that decision following customer complaints.
"Our Connected Drive portfolio has always been dynamic, and we reserve the right to vary our offering structure according to the needs of individual markets around the world," said Jay Hanson, product and technology spokesperson for BMW USA, in an email to The Register.
"Heated seats and steering wheel were never available on a short-term subscription basis in the US market. They were strictly either standard equipment or factory options, depending on the model."
Hanson said that the BMW Connected Drive store currently lists various upgrades as subscriptions or one-time purchases. "It's important to point out that with the exceptions of Traffic Camera Information and IconicSounds Sport, all are available ex-factory as well," he said. "They are not subscription-only."
Traffic Camera Information (Safety Camera Information in the UK) is a 25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras, presumably to avoid having driving violations captured by the authorities. IconicSounds Sport, available for a one-time charge of 99, "plays BMW engine sound inside the vehicle."
Hanson added, "We will continue to refine the Connected Drive offerings to make the latest technologies available to our customers and meet the demand in the markets." ...