BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options

New software update for models with iDrive 7 also includes automatic switching to electric power in city centres for plug-in hybrid models

BMW has revealed a handful of new features for cars running the latest version of the brand’s iDrive infotainment software, which will eventually include the ability to make comfort and convenience features such as heated seats subscription based. 

From July, all newly built BMW models running the seventh-generation version of iDrive will receive updates and new features. Owners of existing models with iDrive 7 will also receive the new features by way of an over-the-air software update. 

As part of the free update, BMW plans to gradually expand its line-up of digital after-sales offers to include “certain comfort functions” such as heated seats, meaning buyers who don’t option them from purchase will be able to unlock them via app or through the infotainment system for a price. 

The functions will be already built into the car, requiring owners to purchase them outright, or subscribe for a period of one to three years. However, all unlockable, built-in functions and extras will be available with a one-month trial period. 

The update, which BMW says is its “most comprehensive vehicle software upgrade to date,” also includes updated navigation, a redesign for the BMW Personal Assistant, and the addition of wireless Android Auto smartphone connectivity. 

Navigation now includes contextual information for nearby points of interest, such as opening hours, ratings and even preview images of destinations. The brand claims a new cloud-based route calculation system is faster and more accurate with real time traffic data than before and with easier destination input, while Connected Parking services showcase where on-street parking may be available at a destination. 

Connected Charging features now include additional information about charging stations, including opening times and real-time availability. Navigation automatically takes into account available charging points for longer journeys. At home, owners can define specific charging windows when the car is plugged in, to take advantage of cheaper tariffs at certain times. 

For owners of plug-in hybrid BMW models, the update introduces eZones, which uses positional data to identify when the car is in a low emission zone such as a city centre. The car will automatically default to purely-electric drive with no intervention, and BMW says it will launch in 80 European cities when the update goes live. 

Also part of the update is the introduction of BMW Digital Key, which means Apple iPhone owners can use their handsets as a fully digital key for the vehicle. 

Do you think subscription based options are a good idea? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

Old BMW M badge relaunched to celebrate division’s 50th birthday
Old BMW M badge
BMW

Old BMW M badge relaunched to celebrate division’s 50th birthday

The classic BMW motorsport emblem will be available on several M cars next year, as a nod to the company’s half-century racing pedigree
24 Nov 2021
BMW Concept XM reveals new name and M-power for X8 flagship
BMW XM
BMW

BMW Concept XM reveals new name and M-power for X8 flagship

BMW’s Concept XM previews its upcoming SUV flagship, featuring M power and larger kidney grilles than ever
17 Nov 2021
New BMW i Vision Circular concept showcases brand’s view of a sustainable future
BMW i Vision Circular - Munich front
BMW

New BMW i Vision Circular concept showcases brand’s view of a sustainable future

The new BMW i Vision Circular concept is a vision of a 2040 hatchback made entirely from recycled and recyclable materials
6 Sep 2021
New 2022 BMW iX5 Hydrogen revealed ahead of Munich motor show
BMW iX5 hydrogen
BMW

New 2022 BMW iX5 Hydrogen revealed ahead of Munich motor show

Despite still being under development, BMW will offer show-goers passenger rides in its upcoming hydrogen-powered iX5 SUV
18 Aug 2021

Most Popular

New Suzuki S-Cross 2021 review
Suzuki S-Cross - front
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SUV

New Suzuki S-Cross 2021 review

The all-new Suzuki S-Cross is excellent value for money and good to drive, but it’s slightly utilitarian interior won’t appeal to all buyers
25 Nov 2021
Top 10 best hybrid cars to buy 2021
Best hybrid cars - header image
Hybrid cars

Top 10 best hybrid cars to buy 2021

Hybrid power is the way forward if the car industry is to be believed so we've found the top 10 best hybrid cars to buy now...
8 Nov 2021
Peugeot e-208 and e-2008 get range boost for 2022
Peugeot e-208
News

Peugeot e-208 and e-2008 get range boost for 2022

Changes to the e-208 and e-2008 mechanicals and specifications mean the EV pairing offer as much as 15 miles more range
24 Nov 2021