The recurring payments enable functions that the automobile's hardware might already support.
Since 2020, when the idea was first floated, BMW has made it clear that it wants to regularly make money from the cars it sells all over the world.
Many of the options in the BMW ConnectedDrive shop will simply enable features for hardware that is already built into your BMW. These options can be added to your BMW.
That means, for instance, that you can pay £15 per month to turn on the heating in the front seats of your car, or you can pay a one-time fee of £350 to keep having that option.
Alternately, you might want an assistant that automatically switches between regular and high-beam headlights; this assistant will set you back £10 per month, or £200 for life.
Although it is not novel to pay a little extra for a mod-con that has the potential to slightly enhance your driving experience, the fact that the engineering is already in place and you are merely paying to unlock a software block is more difficult to accept.
Naturally, these microtransactions will probably continue to exist in the event that BMW's venture into this sector yields a revenue stream that is in line with its expectations.