BMW has confirmed it will charge a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay. Drivers of 2019 models and onward will get a year’s access for free, and then have to pay to continue to use the service, which allows owners to sync their iPhone with the car’s infotainment system. It’ll cost US$80/£85 per year, or as was the previous outright cost, you can buy a lifetime subscription (20 years) for US$300/£295. So if you’re only planning on using the car for a couple of years, a yearly payment works out cheaper.
The carmaker did give fair warning of its plans for such a subscription service, having first announced its intentions some 18 months ago. But that hasn’t made the move any more palatable for would-be BMW owners, as CarPlay is included as standard in the price of many other, lower-priced cars (the Kia Ceed, for example, which also gets Android Auto — currently unavailable in BMWs).
BMW says that this pricing model allows it to keep the initial cost price of the vehicle down, but if you can afford a brand new BMW, chances are an extra US$300 isn’t going to break the bank. If it had built this cost (which is low compared to the cost of the vehicle itself) into the overall price no-one would have raised an eyebrow.