Microtransactional car purchases ...

… the future?

BMW is now selling subscriptions for heated seats in a number of countries — the latest example of the company’s adoption of microtransactions for high-end car features.

A monthly subscription to heat your BMW’s front seats costs roughly $18, with options to subscribe for a year ($180), three years ($300), or pay for “unlimited” access for $415.

Tesla does the same for their autopilot feature. It’s something like a $10k add on to the price of the car, or you can use it for a month for something like $100 or so.

My brother gave it a try for a trip from the LA area to Las Vegas. Signed up for it a couple of weeks before the trip to have it to play with, then cancelled it just before the month was up.

Just another way to get some more revenue out of their customers.


No, this will not become the new normal. BMW is being universally mocked on every automotive forum I participate in. One of two things happen. This gets dropped, or, in this case, the price of a car “optioned” with heated seats just went up by $415 for the “unlimited” option. Nobody is going to be willing to play the microtransaction game with a basic car feature like this.


There are a ton of seat heaters available;e at a glance via Amazon, one time $50 cost, done. For those in need… Simple elements are even less…

It would be nice if whichever execs. okayed this ends up writing one of those “to spend more time with my family” memos.