5 BMW Car Functions That Can Be Subscribed Separately

Just like many other business models that use a monthly subscription system to consumers, carmakers also seem reluctant to lag behind.

We have written an article on the functions of the car which has now been made into a monthly or annual subscription package to access. What we did not expect, recently the German brand, BMW also announced the implementation of a similar system in our country.

Is this something that will become commonplace in the future, when cars increasingly rely on electronic chip devices and computers? Here are five vehicle functions that BMW drivers in Malaysia need to subscribe to.

1. Driving Assistance

BMW Driving Assistance

One of the functions that has begun to be introduced on many car models, is the ability to maintain a safe driving distance at high speeds as well as automatic vehicle movement control during congested roads.

BMW Malaysia now offers subscription packages for both of these functions to drivers, at a cost of RM170 per month or RM3,750 for the life of the vehicle.

BMW models that subscribe to this function have the ability to maintain speed consistently at the maximum speed limit of 210km/h and do not need to control oil and brakes when moving slowly.

Vehicles with access to this function are able to move and stop, with drivers only having to set the desired distance between their car and the front car.

2. Lights are selective

BMW Lights are selective

Have you ever found it difficult when driving in the dark, requiring you to frequently switch between high beams and regular headlights to illuminate the road ahead?

If you are the owner of a BMW model fitted with this function, you only need to pay RM40 per month or RM800 for the life of the vehicle to access the automatic selective light control function.

With this function activated, the detector will read the lighting level of your route and activate the appropriate lighting level including situations where there are other vehicles coming from ahead. If you sit in that situation, surely you need to ‘lower’ the lights so that the driver in front of you does not glare at them, right?

All this you no longer have to worry about if you subscribe to this function and activate it.

3. Seat and steering wheel heaters

BMW Seat and steering wheel heaters

We don’t know why these two functions were introduced in our country, because naturally the steering wheel and seat seats of our vehicles are already there in the scorching heat of the sun deck.

However, BMW sees the potential for this package to remain marketed in Malaysia, offering access to these two functions to consumers on a subscription or one-time payment basis.

For the steering wheel heater, the monthly subscription price is RM50 and lifetime activation is charged at RM950. For front seat heaters, the charge rate is RM80 per month or RM1,750 for permanent activation.

4. Sound package

BMW Sound package

One of the ‘shortcomings’ that exist in models of electric cars, is the absence of engine noise resulting from the reaction process in the engine to the exhaust.

To recreate the existing audio sensation, many manufacturers design sound systems using speakers that reproduce exhaust and engine sound according to a set driving mode.

This is one of the functions that is being sold to potential buyers of the BMW brand in Malaysia, through the IconicSounds Sport package. This one-time payment package of RM640 allows drivers to set their own noise when they drive.

Developed with legendary composer Hans Zimmer who is responsible for supervising and producing tones that represent specific functions in cars, this artificial car sound system is claimed to be one of the best systems developed to date-in fabricating audio with oil and brake pedal movements.

5. GPS system synchronization with USB

BMW GPS system synchronization with USB

With the convenience of smartphone-based GPS systems, whether through the Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps systems – it’s a bit surprising why car manufacturers still want to integrate their own developed GPS systems into their products.

What’s more studies have shown most drivers who have a car with a GPS system installed in the car, prefer to use a smartphone to get navigation assistance.

This is because the results of public feedback as consumers show many are reluctant to use it, as they feel the car manufacturer’s exclusive GPS system is difficult to use. The majority of drivers only use a GPS system installed in the car for an average of 2 weeks – before switching to a smartphone.

Unless the GPS system is ready to be installed it is something that is sold and has been charged in the price of the car. BMW is also similar, creating a GPS map update package by downloading from their portal with a subscription price of RM269 for one-year access.

Is this the direction of the automotive industry?

Our country’s automotive industry is largely still lagging behind the markets of other developed countries, where what we have listed above is a normal practice.

But looking at the development of electric cars and the marketing methods that car manufacturers are working on, we assume that such subscription packages are a sales tactic that will be practiced one day – by local car manufacturers such as Proton and Perodua.

It’s hard to predict how long it will be before the local car market for most people starts shifting to a similar business model, where the functions of a ready-made car are installed – only accessible and activated for a monthly or annual fee.

The clearest indication for us to be ready is when the sales of electric vehicles in our country have already surpassed the sales of vehicles based on petrol and diesel fuels. European countries are targeting 2035 as the year in which all oil-based vehicles cease sales.

We’ll probably wait longer, but the question here is – if all manufacturers switch to a subscription system like BMW, where are the savings in terms of customer financial spending after we switch from petrol/diesel to full electricity?

What good is it for us to use an electric car and stop buying fuel, if the manufacturer has the right to restrict our access to the functions of our car – just because we are reluctant to pay our fees?

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