back to article BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

BMW has decided to stop charging car owners a subscription fee to use their heated car seats, though the German automaker remains committed to paid on-demand services. The manufacturer began selling access to factory-installed heated seats and the heated steering wheel in 2020, though only in some markets, such as South Korea …

  1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge
    Devil

    Indicators?

    Will they ever reduce the subscription fee for indicators (blinkers)? I don't know how much they're charging for them now, but it must be damned expensive 'cause I've yet to see a BMW driver using them.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Indicators?

      This of course is a complete myth

      BMWs do use their indicators as I saw on the motorway last night, as the BMW I was following had its right indicator on while turning left off the motorway.

      And let us never forget that they use all 4 indicators at once to park anywhere they please (pedestriian crossings, double yellow lines on a blind corner, middle of a single lane road,blocking someone's driveway. etc etc.)

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: Indicators?

        I highly doubt any car allows you to turn the indicators to the right while turning left. I call bullshit.

        1. Chronos

          Re: Indicators?

          You obviously don't live near and have never visited north Wales. There are drivers here who have been on the road for "fotty year" and have had their left turn signal on for as long as they've held their licence, usually because there's something hanging from the stalk and the cancel pawl has long since worn to a nub.

          1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Re: Indicators?

            Thats not what the original poster claimed. THey mentioned the right indicator was on while they were turning left, not whether they used indicators at all.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Indicators?

      ...must be damned expensive...

      Actually, not. From a reliable source I've heard that the indicators are actually included in the price; for the past 30+ years though, the cars have had the fault that they immediately catch fire if an indicator is used. But no driver ever noticed.

      And yep, I did drive a BMW in the distant past and I didn't burn it down.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Indicators?

      It must be a local thing. Here many drivers don't use blinkers, whatever the brand of the car.

      (and as a BMW driver, I _always_ use blinkers when required)

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Indicators?

        as a BMW driver, I _always_ use blinkers when required

        Wearing them doesn't count...

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Indicators?

          as a BMW driver, I _always_ use blinkers when required

          Wearing them doesn't count...

          Icon.

    4. dbgi

      Re: Indicators?

      It's how to spot a stolen BMW, when the driver uses indicators.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

    Or in other words, we hate just selling you an overpriced car for a one-off payment, and we want to skin you a little at a time forever. And connected services looks like a nice easy way to do it, because data, right?

    I wonder how we even managed to live without such beneficial semi-deities micromanaging every aspect of our lives?

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

      I wonder how we even managed to live...

      We ignorants do not know what we are missing out on until it is told to us ignorants that we are missing out which makes us inevitably feel at a loss of what we do not have and become more ignorant to cope with the situation until we cannot ignore it any longer after which we embark on a shopping spree to cope with our new found ignorance.

    2. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

      If this trend is to become the new norm, my concern is how much of the battery capacity on future electric vehicles will be wasted just lugging all these 'extras' around if I have no need to use them. So far, I've never missed not having heated seats in any car I have ever owned, so I'd want the unheated seats fitted as they will weight less. Also, what is the impact on your available range when using heated seats? YMMV, but I see this as yet another obstacle to mass adoption of electric cars.

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

        You are looking at 2-3 kg for heated seats, which is not nothing but also not much, it's mostly just some wiring and resistive elements. They don't use power when they are turned off (assuming competent electrical design). Certainly they consume a comfortable amount of energy when turned on, but of course in an electric car so does the hot air (with an ICE you get that "for free").

        I think you will find that in Canada, heated seats are well appreciated.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          How about the weight of extra batteries needed to power the heated seats?

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

            Why would you need extra batteries exclusively for powering the heated seat? In an ICE car they are run off the alternator, or the existing battery if the engine is turned off. In an electric car, devices like heated seats and air conditioning are run off the main battery, so if you don't use them you get more range.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

              "In an ICE car they are run off the alternator, or the existing battery if the engine is turned off."

              In an ICEV the engine is so inefficient in turning the latent energy in petrol into motion that it can be a problem to get rid of heat. Not having heated seats is fine, but a heated steering wheel can be nice if you live where it's cold and don't like to drive with warm fuzzy gloves on.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                As I work in a temperate office and live in a temperate home, not having to leave either and a ~1-2hr commute (pending which site I'm at that day), heated seats mean I can get in to a cold car without wearing a bulky coat and be a decent temperature quickly. The steering wheel additionally helps, as does the "pre-ventilation" that de-ices it for me in advance.

                The new car however heats the armrests also, which is a very, very nice touch. The guy who thinks heated seats in themselves are a luxury too far will be apoplectic when he finds out one of the reasons I don't want a coat on is that it impedes the massage function and the ventilated seats can't blow the heaters at my shirt.

                1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                  Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                  Maybe the real problem is why are you travelling 4 hours to an office when you could work at home ?

              2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                Strange wthat you didnt ask why you need to travel in the cold in the first place ?

                They really have you on your knees...wasting your life in a car for hours and hours a day and you cant even think its a problem.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

              Close, but not quite.

              There are two separate systems in an electric car. One is full power (say 240v) The other runs all your auxiliaries which, partly for safety reasons run on 12v. These include things like headlights, radio, dashboard, heated seats and ac, door locks etc. and usually have a separate battery. This also means that you can use much smaller wiring.

              This battery is kept charged from the main battery though, so you could see some decrease in range.

              1. nintendoeats Silver badge

                Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                The point is, the heated seat doesn't need an EXTRA battery. Ultimately, the source of energy is the main battery, and it goes through the intermediary of the 12V system.

                Just as the heater in an ICE car is "free" because the waste heat it uses is going to be generated anyway, the 12V battery in an electric car is "free" in that you are going to need it whether you have heated seats or not.

                But yes, thank you for pointing out this detail as I did skim over it.

                1. usbac Silver badge

                  Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                  Except, 12V power in an ICE car is not exactly "free". The more electrical load on the system, the more torque the alternator needs to turn. In many (mostly older) cars you can see a small drop in idle speed when you turn on the headlights. These days, the electronic throttle controls compensate for that kind of stuff.

                  1. nintendoeats Silver badge

                    Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                    I didn't say that heated seats were "free". I just said they didn't need their own battery.

              2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                There are two separate systems in an electric car. One is full power (say 240v) The other runs all your auxiliaries which, partly for safety reasons run on 12v. These include things like headlights, radio, dashboard, heated seats and ac, door locks etc. and usually have a separate battery. This also means that you can use much smaller wiring

                No. No. No. No. No. 12 V wiring is much chunkier for heating. To get the same power at the lower voltage you need much greater diameter wiring. Power dissipation is (current)2 multiplied by resistance. Car manufacturers are moving (slowly) to using 48V electrics instead of 12V electrics because it saves a lot of copper, and allows more power to do 'interesting stuff'

                Autocar: Under the skin: Why modern cars need 48V electrical systems

                If your heater is delivering 240 Watts with 240 Volts at 1 Amp, then to do the same at 12 Volts requires 20 Amps. A cable capable of carrying 20 Amps without melting is considerably chunkier than a cable capable of carrying 1 Amp.

                1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                  Thank you for saving me from pointing out what everybody should know, but many don't.

                  I suspect the reason for using 12V for 'legacy' systems is that the components of those systems are already out there, debugged, tested, and readily available. And spares are easily available off the shelf from a high street motor factor. 48V seems a logical choice: it's high enough that the thickness of the current carrying conductors can be reduced by half (i.e. a quarter total cross-sectional area) while not getting into any of those tricksy high voltage regulations - 48V is still considered SELV in most jurisdictions, I believe, so e.g. double insulation isn't required.

                  Have you seen the thickness of the main leads from the battery on a car to e.g. the engine earth or the starter motor? Thick as your thumb, these days...

          2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

            Where do the batteries get their power ?

        2. Lon24

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          but of course in an electric car so does the hot air (with an ICE you get that "for free"I

          Maybe on today's fancy computers on wheels. For real cars like my old A30 only the expensive DeLuxe models sported a heater. In t'others you froze in winter. I remember having to drive leaning out of the side window 'cos there was nothing to defrost the windscreen. Cross-ply tyres on ice kinda made it extra challenging. Frozen trafficators, dodgy drum brakes, no seatbelts, breathalysers or MoTs. Amazing any of us survived*

          * about 5,000 a year didn't.

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

            Jesus. Of course I meant it was thermodynamically "free", but that doesn't mean that Austin won't charge you for it. For reference, the farking TRABANT had hot air (but no fan as I understand it, they just let you open a port from the engine compartment to the passenger cabin).

          2. herman Silver badge

            Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

            Back in the dey, the Deluxe models had two tone paint and a curtesy light. A/C was a triangle window that you could angle forward to get a blast of hot desert air to cool you down with.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          Direct body heating uses a remarkably small amount of energy compared to space heating. The last couple of winters we have gone without space heating in favor of seat heating for my wife, and a heating pad to stand on for me (oh, and warm robes). Each uses about 100W ~ like a pre-LED lightbulb. Room temp 10c (50F) no problem.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          "You are looking at 2-3 kg for heated seats, which is not nothing but also not much"

          Current ICE cars, to meet various standards on efficiency and range in mpg or l/100km, have used many workarounds to reduce weight, every little bit helping. One of the more common being to use "space saver" spare wheels or even no spare wheel at all, just a "tyre repair" kit that's useless for anything other than the smallest of punctures. So yeah, 2-3Kg may not be much in isolation, but how much else is pre-built in and only enabled when you pay extra? Personally, I could also do with losing a few[*] Kg too, which cols also help with fuel economy :-)

          [*] maybe a bit more than a few!! Fat Bastard icon ---------->

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

        "So far, I've never missed not having heated seats in any car I have ever owned"

        The weight isn't a big deal and heated seats are far more efficient at making you warm over heating the whole cabin that's just a thickness of sheet metal from the outside. If you live on the coast of Florida, the heated seats are a waste. If you live in Minnesota, they are heaven sent in the winter. Efficiency in an EV is a big deal so you don't want to be burning up 3kW with a cabin heater if you don't need to over 500W of seat heater.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          You are talking about EVs?

          Cabin heating on ICE cars is done by waste heat from the engine (there’s a lot of it available). The exception to this is pre-heating before you move away.

        2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

          You talk about efficiency and yet you fail to ask the question why are you driving so much that it matters ?

          Surely the smartest option is not to drive in the first place.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

            "Surely the smartest option is not to drive in the first place."

            I do that as much as possible. When I do need to go somewhere I try to see if there are other stops I can make while I'm in an area. I'll be at a trade show tomorrow and was just spending time to see if the fabric store near the convention center had the things I need. It turns out they don't so I'll have to wait until Saturday (another 2 days) and stop at a different store that does have what I need in stock. I also plan to stop at the warehouse grocery and the hardware store while I'm out as well.

            Now that I've optimized the trips I make, the next step is to get a more efficient car that I can refuel at home.

            1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

              Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

              My response was generalized as a large number of all trips can be replaced with NONE. Im not saying its a perfect solution, im just making the point if its snowing or really cold then DONT DRIVE, try and find other ways.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                "My response was generalized as a large number of all trips can be replaced with NONE. Im not saying its a perfect solution, im just making the point if its snowing or really cold then DONT DRIVE, try and find other ways."

                Yeah, ok, but it's not possible for most people that aren't retired. If there were so much snow that roads weren't open or IMO it was too dangerous to drive, I'd stay home. Just being really cold isn't an excuse a boss might accept. I'd be very leery of public transportation in bad weather. For starters, I'd not want to wait at a bus stop or open platform and secondly, I don't want to be caught out somewhere if they stop operating or are behind. At least with a car I have some options.

                Economizing is easier to advocate. If people aren't making individual trips to pick up a bottle of spice or a single box of nails, that cuts out some of the most inefficient and wasteful travel. Where I am it would take a whole day to run errands with 2-3 stops taking the bus. I'd also worry about perishables in my grocery bag thawing or getting warm. I'd also only be able to pick up the things I could carry for 1/2 mile from the bus stop to my house.

                1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                  Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

                  Mach: Yeah, ok, but it's not possible for most people that aren't retired.

                  cow: Nonsense, there are many jobs that can be done from a home office. The problem is people are trapped into a mindset that this is not possible, just look at yourself. Your answer here implies my suggestion is an impossible choice.

                  Mach: Just being really cold isn't an excuse a boss might accept.

                  cow: Thats precisely the problem ive been hinting at. People in America dont appreciate what free speech actually means, and in this case it means to demand better working conditions.

                  Mach : I'd be very leery of public transportation in bad weather. For starters, I'd not want to wait at a bus stop or open platform and secondly, I don't want to be caught out somewhere if they stop operating or are behind. At least with a car I have some options.

                  cow: In other words Americans dont actually have freedom. Too many Americans have been brainwashed into accepting any crap condtions that their boss demands of them. Your answers simple cant grasp the concept of trying or demanding something different.

                  mach: I'd also worry about perishables in my grocery bag thawing or getting warm. I'd also only be able to pick up the things I could carry for 1/2 mile from the bus stop to my house.

                  cow: Going to the shop for food isnt the same as commuting to work. Travelling 5d a week to work into a prerequisite to going to buy food. THey are separate activities.

                  You arent even trying ...

      3. Stork Silver badge

        Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

        Even here in Portugal, on mornings with 3-4 degrees I appreciate my heated seat. Probably more as they are leather -> higher thermal density than fabric.

      4. Hairy Spod

        Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

        It might sound counter-intuitive at first, but generally speaking with with EVs heated seats are thought to increase your available range.

        The amount of energy used to heat the seat and steering wheel is considerably less than heating the air in the whole cabin, so by using them you can generally get away with turning down the cabin temperature by a few degrees or not even need to turn on the cabin heater on at all.

      5. Nifty

        Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

        ", what is the impact on your available range when using heated seats?"

        From a designer's perspective, positive in Winter. The idea of a heated seat and steering wheel is that the driver can turn down the more energy hungry cabin heating a bit and extend the range. Which still leaves me unconvinced as you get complicated car electrics, more to go wrong, and that weight.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

      "Or in other words, we hate just selling you an overpriced car for a one-off payment, and we want to skin you a little at a time forever."

      They also get a piece of the financing if you arrange a loan at the dealer or through their own lending services. In some instances, the car is a wash and the real money is the interest on the finance. If you're ever going to pay cash at a dealer or more than a 10% down payment, don't let them know until you have a firm written price on the car with only the things you want on it. The finance/sales manager will try and skin you alive for things like paint protection, undercoating and glass etching. In other words, everything they can sell you that has a 95% markup from cost. Just keep putting them off when they ask how you will be paying.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

      well, those making profit in the automotive industry are not exactly blind to the trends, only accelerating, in the outside world. Subscriptionsubscriptionsubscription, I can almost see that Ballmer pacing on the scene. Or Mr O'fucking Ryanair... Business a'booming brother!

    5. Mark 65

      Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

      The annual servicing enema isn't enough for our balance sheet, we need a little monthly something something.

  3. xyz Silver badge

    Hopefully...

    The "VP for wanky ideas" career is now on the skids.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hopefully...

      It is called Executive of Silly Driving Walks.

      As mandated by the ministry of Silly Walks.

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully...

      Really wheres the news story they got fired ?

  4. 45RPM Silver badge

    The trouble is that it’s all too easy to lose reputation - but it’s the devil of a job to regain it again.

    I used to have a BMW - 530i - and it was a very nice car. Would I buy another BMW now? Well no. It seems that a modern BMW is a car that rusts, catches fire, and drains its drivers pockets through weird subscriptions.

    Musk has done a number on Teslas reputation (and I’m guessing it’s Musk who mandated thin paint and poor build quality in order to maximise profit)

    Volvo have ditched saloon and estate cars in favour of silly SUVs that will seldom if ever go off road (yes, I know, it’s not a reputation thing - but still. My next car will not be from them)

    Mercedes rusts.

    But…

    Skoda used to be the butt of all jokes and VW have rehabilitated that brand. So it can be done. And VW and Skoda still make proper cars. So top work, the ladies and gentlemen from Wolfsburg.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Sadly, both Volvo and VW have succumbed to the modern fetish for touch-screen controls. Beautiful though the Volvo interiors are, they have just about everything controlled through the central touchscreen, and it’s an utter PITA to do anything as simple as adjust the AC temperature.

      And of course just about every recent VW car review I’ve read makes a point of grumbling about their even more annoying touchscreen UI.

      Škoda, from what I’ve heard, still have old-fashioned physical knobs and buttons for the crucial stuff like AC, and if that’s true, credit to them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And don't forget the hand warmer on the back window!

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge
          Coat

          Old, really, old...

          And don't forget the hand warmer on the back window!

          But it's no longer possible to double the value by filling the fuel tank.

          1. Blofeld's Cat

            Re: Old, really, old...

            I miss the days when the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a Skoda, was that you could slam the door on a Jehovah's Witness.

            1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

              Re: Old, really, old...

              Bit hard these days, even the JWs have given up on telling everyone about the end of the world.

          2. bpfh

            Re: Old, really, old...

            I would not say that given the current price of fuel....

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        It seems VW might be learning/listening as early reviews of the latest ID say it has far more buttons.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My current vehicle is a 2021 Skoda, and sadly it too has succumbed to the VW connected fetish, with "smart" dashboard. The heater controls are indeed physical, but little else is. Every time I start it, I have to wait 30-60 seconds for the navigation to initialize before I can select other options. It won't remember them on switch off because apparently it's dangerous to default to anything except the normal soggy suspension settings. Even resetting the trip counter requires a trip through several menus, not just a simple button beside the speedometer.

        One possible advantage of the connected mode is that it's possible to remotely start the heater 20 minutes before I want to leave, nice on a winter morning. Or at least it would be if their servers weren't so overwhelmed that I can rarely connect successfully between 8am and 9am.

        I really regret parting with my old-model Audi.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Škoda, from what I’ve heard, still have old-fashioned physical knobs and buttons for the crucial stuff like AC"

        If VW have gone touch screen maybe Škoda have done so as well. My Škoda gripe - plastic button on handbrake failed - obvious internal stresses because the bits don't really fit back together. Cost of replacement button? No such thing - it's acomplet handbrake level assembly at £86 or nothing. You could buy a few days of BMW heating subscription for that. I suppose the newer ones have gone over to electric handbrakes like all the others. I don't think there's a new car I'd be prepared to spend money on these days.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "electric handbrakes"

          Oh dear, I hate them with a passion! Over the years I've had many, many hire cars due to my job meaning if mine is in for service or repair. Because of that, and my high mileage means it was a frequent thing, I find I can adapt to a different car very quickly. Except for those fucking electric handbrakes! At least with a mechanical handbrake, there's very little variation in where it can be placed or how it operates. But manufacturers seem to delight in being as obtuse and "different" in where they place the button for electric handbrakes and even how it operates. Some, you have to press the button to release it, others, pressing the button does nothing, you need to put it gear and start to drive off to release it. And of those latter type, some take longer to disengage than others so you get a bit of a jerk. And when stuck in heavy strop/start traffic, a manual handbrake gives you short rests for your feet, not constantly touching the accelerator, break clutch all of the time and ending up with muscle cramps. Ok, that last bit is an edge case, but a lifesaver on a a couple of occasions for me :-)

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
            Alert

            I'm with you on this. The French Thing[tm] puts on the brake whenever you turn off the engine, or if you lift the switch. But it only takes it off again if you start to move forwards or backwards (usually a second or two later than you'd like it to) or if you lift the switch a second time, but only if you have your foot on the brake. Which removes any element of finesse from e.g. a hill start and requires extra automation to achieve it.

            Instead of a cable and lever (y'know, like since forever) we now have an electronic system talking to the ECU, a couple of extra motors out there in the mud and rain, and brake pads which can't be changed without the appropriate (dealer) controller to release the calipers... putting the switch to enable the cruise control immediately behind the brake switch, so it is regularly hit by mistake, is merely a courtesy detail.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Electric handbrakes?

            Thanks for reminding me that cars have parking brakes, I had virtually forgotten. They do their thing automatically,’no need for a human to get involved or worry about where it is.

            Do you lament fuel injection and loss of manual choke mixture control?

            1. gotes

              Perhaps they are more convenient for EVs or vehicles with automatic transmission, but that certainly wasn't my experience with a manual transmission car.

            2. MJI Silver badge

              Being able to operate your own parking brake is essential

              Slight slope at lights pull it on.

            3. tiggity Silver badge

              @werdsmith

              My wife misses manual choke, it made a convenient place to hang her handbag from*

              * This comment may not be 100% true

              On a more serious note, manual choke quirks probably made car theft that bit slower, especially in Winter. All the cars I drove with manual choke were subtly different in what technique was needed to start them on a cold Winter morning. Don't miss manual chokes (and a couple of idiot occasions or realising car was generally "struggling" as I had forgotten to adjust carburettor settings for Winter).

            4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Thanks for reminding me that cars have parking brakes, I had virtually forgotten. They do their thing automatically,’no need for a human to get involved or worry about where it is."

              I assume your are talking about driving an automatic gearbox vehicle? Yeah, not so useful there assuming you remember to put in Park and/or don't leave the engine running. Doe Park actually apply the brake too or just use the engine a a "brake"? If not, I'd not like to leave it on a steep hill without finding that Parking Brake!

              As it happens, my car does have a partial automation on the brakes that i find very useful and a true benefit. If I stop at a junction or lights facing uphill, on releasing the foot brake, the brakes stay on for a couple of seconds making a hill start simpler. Of course, if I'm arriving at the junction just as the lights go red or it' clear the cross traffic on a more major road is busy and I'll be there more than 30 second or so, I'll use the hand brake and allow the auto-stop to activate and rest my feet for a bit :-)

              1. MJI Silver badge

                Auto park mode

                Is a pawl in the gearbox which can be knocked out easily.

                Hand brake on then put into park

            5. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "Electric handbrakes?

              "

              The other name for the handbrake is the "emergency brake". If your normal brakes were to fail for some reason, you could use the handbrake to slow the car with a bit of finesse. With the electric parking brake, it's all or nothing. I've also used the handbrake to roll a car a bit without starting the engine.

      5. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Sadly, both Volvo and VW have succumbed to the modern fetish for touch-screen controls."

        Ford has outdone them with a highly custom fondleslab that has a rotary control embedded in it. That will be fun to try and replace 10 years down the road.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          We had a rental Ford with one of them in the US a few months ago.

          Bloody awful it was. I had to figure out how to hard reset the entire computer system just to get it to boot. I mean, OK, yeah I’m also carrying a dumbphone around with Google maps on it, but not good to leave your main means of navigation and controlling half the cars functionality behind unreliable software.

      6. steviebuk Silver badge

        Surely controlling the AC with physical buttons while driving is still safer than using a touchscreen. Surely they should be forced to make basic items, physical for safety.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          I can only assume the car manufactures have a loophole in the UK (and probably EU) laws about looking at a video screen while driving.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            For the downvoters, operating a mobile phone or SatNav by touching it is illegal in the UK including a built-in one, and you can be fined and get licence penalty points for doing so. Moving so many controls used while driving to a touch screen should fall foul of that same law unless there is a loophole or exception. Unless, of course, you know better and can explain it instead of just knee jerking on the down vote button.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              I agree with you that touchscreens should be banned on safety grounds, but the page you link to does clearly state that it's illegal to use such a device if you're holding it in your hand. I don't think a built-in device that is physically part of the dashboard would be covered.

            2. werdsmith Silver badge

              Almost all of them can be voice controlled so there’s no need shit your bed about it.

              But I do prefer rotary physical controls.

            3. MarkTriumphant

              I was under the impression that it is only hand-held devices that are illegal. The site you linked seems not well written, but it says "It is illegal to *hold* and use...".

              1. munnoch Bronze badge

                Correct, hand-held is illegal. Built-in or attached to a mount is legal. Not paying attention to where you are going always illegal...

                Wish BBC Sounds would remember what I was doing last time I connected it to CarPlay. Have to select stations then scroll down to the one I want, past the 5 million different versions of Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4 to the regional ghetto. Surely this sort of thing is in the app submission rules for CarPlay???

            4. ChrisC Silver badge

              You do realise the page you've linked to specitically notes that:

              "It’s illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving or riding a motorcycle."

              Emphasis on the "hold" part of that sentence.

              It then goes onto say that:

              "Hands-free access means using, for example:

              * a Bluetooth headset

              * voice command

              * a dashboard holder or mat

              * a windscreen mount

              * a built-in sat nav"

              If merely placing a phone in a holder wasn't sufficient to be deemed hands-free, and you were still expected to use voice commands, then the only examples that would need listing here are the first two, as the others would just act to mislead and confuse.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                "Hands-free access means using, for example:

                * a built-in sat nav"

                You're right, that bit is quite poorly worded and I had taken it as meaning if you use your hands, then it's not allowed, but on reflection in doe appear to indicate that it ok to physically touch it if it's built-in or on a mount. Having said that, I've also seen shows such Police Interceptors where they say you can;t use a SatNav while driving unless it's voice controlled, so even the cops seem to be a bit confused over that particular instance.

                So yeah, a touch screen does appear to be OK in the correct circumstances but I still stand by the argument that it's more dangerous and leads to more time having to look away from the road to operate the controls, especially on those cars where the display is central and quite low down.

                1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                  Coat

                  I run a older truck, not ancient, not ultra new, connectivity is limited to the Android radio linked to my phone which Hotspots automatically as soon as it see's the radios Bluetooth ID, not to everything else.

                  The vast majority of the controls are manual, I updated the radio with a Android head unit.

                  I dont enjoy having to take eyes off the road & playing stabby stabby with a finger to get a touch screen control to register (Though there are a few physical ones & they also tie into the steering wheel controls).

                  I dont use the Sat Nav function on it as I prefer to keep my eyes on the road & not looking down & to the right at the screen just above my kneecap - Using my phone on a windscreen mount is safer & more ergonomically comfortable.

                  However, a vast number of fellow drivers of this truck & varient models post on forums how they have just replaced all the heater, AC, Entertainment etc etc controls with a physical replacement trim & "9 LCD panel.

                  I prefer to rely on muscle memory to adjust physical controls & leave it to others to qualify for the Darwin awards when they upgrade to tablet controls.

                  1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Missed Edit Window (Work Go Figure)

                    I also dont want to wait for the Android Head Unit to complete its boot up to get to the heating controls on the fondleslab's screen from when the key is inserted into the ignition (After a 10 minute warmup by remote start), especially when we get one of those infamous 34C temperature changes overnight from a pleasant +17C in the day & waking up the following morning to the onset of Winter (& snow) at -17C when I wake up.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                " a built-in sat nav""

                Surely most people would program the sat nav *before* starting to drive the car to it's intended destination, so in theory, if you operate a sat nav *while* you are driving, a police officer could deem that to be an offence (such as "driving without due care and attention").

                At least many cars these days have steering wheel mounted controls, for controling the overall volume, changing radio station, or choosing tracks when playing CDs/MP3s.

                And luckily, when my mobile is connected via Bluetooth to the in car system, it auto-answers for me, so I just have to say hello, have a hands free convo (if safe to do so) and then the call will end and the mobile disconnects the call.

                So, there's far less need to take one's hands off the steering wheel and so you can just enjoy the drive !

            5. Duncan10101

              License points

              I've moved from the UK to South Africa. While you (technically) can still get driving fines for things like speeding... the fines are the equivalent of about ten quid. Brilliantly, though, there's NO SUCH THING as license points. Yes, there are safety issues with this, but at least I don't break into a cold sweat every time I see a police car. Or a Gatso.

      7. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Oh, don't get me started on Volvo's fondle screen controls. AC is one thing. And yes, I regularly like to adjust it because my preferred temperature often changes by a few degrees. And then I'd like to change "Drive Mode" (it's a plug-in hybrid) for which there actually is a proper button. But when I enter that menu via the button I get a limited selection of drive modes which usually doesn't include that one I actually want to select. I have to sacrifice a Swedish (or Chinese?!) virgin or something every time I want to select my preferred drive mode.

      8. Chz
        Gimp

        No touchscreens

        FWIW, Mazda still make their cars without any touchscreens whatsoever.

      9. JT_3K

        The *ultimate* idiocy for touchscreen controls has appeared to me of late. My G12 BMW has a sunroof, which has a cover, and they've decided the cover to be electronic. Holding the lock button on the key to get the mirrors to close in treats the cover on the sunroof like the convertible top and closes it as part of its "close the windows, close the roof" piece.

        The only way to open the sunroof cover? From the ConnectedTablet in between the rear seats. No button, no option in the iDrive menu, nope. Get the tablet out of its holder in the rear seats and open window blinds and sunroof blind from there.

        Mental.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "My G12 BMW has a sunroof, "

          I think of sunroof as the eventual leak point in the roof of a car. For all of the hassles they bring, I don't find them worth having.

    2. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Ah, but what about dieselgate?

      1. Dimmer Silver badge

        Ford has this thing where the engine dies when you stop at a light. They added a button to switch this “feature” off but you have to hit every time you get in the car. 5 min and a piece of wire fixed the “feature” to work properly.

        The next year model for a $50 add on, the button is removed and the engine stays running.

        Does the constant start stop of the engine cause more wear? Yes. Does it save fuel? No. It takes more to restart it than it uses idling.

        My model experienced a factory defect called “cold start rattle” that required a tear down of the engine at about 30k. Mine made it to 60k.

        Maybe BMW will take it from what the politicians and Ford do. Create a problem (they call it a solution) and they promise to fix it if you re-elect them, send money, etc

        (I consider them all a “uniparty” by the way)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Ford has this thing where the engine dies when you stop at a light.

          EU mandated. All new cars have it, not just Ford.

          > Does the constant start stop of the engine cause more wear? Yes.

          No, they use a different starter motor design.

          > Does it save fuel? No. It takes more to restart it than it uses idling.

          Incorrect, starting a modern warmed-up fuel-injected engine requires no additional fuel, an idling engine will always burn more.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "> Does the constant start stop of the engine cause more wear? Yes.

            No, they use a different starter motor design."

            Irrelevant, we are talking about motor wear. And it wears every time you start it unless you've an electric oil pump keeping up the oil pressure. So far no-one has.

            > Does it save fuel? No. It takes more to restart it than it uses idling.

            Incorrect, starting a modern warmed-up fuel-injected engine requires no additional fuel, an idling engine will always burn more."

            Incorrect and physicallly impossible to boot. Idling engine runs about 1000 rpm and getting that momentum to all of the moving masses has to occur. That means more fuel consumed in start. A lot.

            It will of course be compensated if the engine is stopped for a longer time, but there's always a penalty to pay, one way or another.

            EU mandated 5 seconds of idling is ridiculously short, even slowing down to a corner shuts down the engine. Then, no power steering or power brakes. But EU of course won't take any responsibility, it's the driver's fault for not revving the engine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              >Irrelevant, we are talking about motor wear. And it wears every time you start it unless you've an electric oil pump keeping up the oil pressure.

              The oil film doesn't magically disappear the moment the engine stops. And we don't use basic 30/40 mineral oil in our engines anymore either.

              >Incorrect and physicallly impossible to boot. Idling engine runs about 1000 rpm and getting that momentum to all of the moving masses has to occur. That means more fuel consumed in start. A lot.

              Also rubbish. The flywheel motor brings the engine up to speed electrically, not by petrol, and it takes bugger all energy to do it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Starter motor

                Starter motors are huge consumers of electricity, look at the very thick cable(s) used.

                When working as a recovery technician, our jump packs had to have high amp batteries, abd even those used to get flattened by some vehicles. Ever wondered why our vans and trucks were running when we were jump starting you ? (Hint, because we didn't want our battery to get run down, because that would make us look very daft ;)

                With regard to modern fuel injected vehicles,

                Yes they require less fuel to start (cold or warm), than carburettor engines, which I truly miss.

                but let's all see if we can find research data to back up each side of the argument eh ?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Starter motor

                  "but let's all see if we can find research data to back up each side of the argument eh ?"

                  Start stop is definitely a challenge for bearings but automotive companies have been doing start stop technology for a very long time (at least 40 years) and have used that experience to solve the problems so yes, it's hard on the engines but they're designed to survive it.

                  Start stop most definitely saves fuel, there's any number of studies which show this with verifiable numbers, it's a nonsense to claim otherwise and ten seconds with Google will give you lots of links.

                2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: Starter motor

                  Starter motors are huge consumers of electricity, look at the very thick cable(s) used.

                  The cables are thick because the current draw at 12v is high. To start a warm 4 cylinder engine the motor will pull around 200A at 12v, which is only 2.4kW or so. For the 5 seconds it takes to start the engine that's about .003 kWh, which is essentially zero electricity consumption even if repeated dozens of times per day.

                  1. jmch Silver badge

                    Re: Starter motor

                    " essentially zero electricity consumption even if repeated dozens of times per day."

                    Not to mention that the generator is constantly topping up the battery

                  2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
                    Boffin

                    Re: Starter motor

                    As I understand it, the Mercedes system stops the engine in a specific position (known cylinder at a fraction over TDC) such that when it needs to start again all it takes is a spark to ignite that cylinder. It's paused the whole engine mid cycle and thus takes no additional fuel or electricity to get going again.

                    Obviously not applicable to longer stops (oil thicker, fuel no longer aerosol, ...) but quite clever for the stop-start system.

                    .

                    That's information from a 2010 era petrol. YMMV

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "even slowing down to a corner shuts down the engine"

              Then it's broken and needs fixing.

              "Then, no power steering or power brakes."

              Very definitely broken, it needs fixing ASAP.

              My car also has stop/start tech and it DOES NOT behave the way you describe. That would be dangerous and unsafe.

              I don't know how it's implemented with an automatic gearbox but on my manual gear box, the car must be stopped and the gear stick in neutral. If on a hill, you can let it roll forwards and without touching the clutch pedal, the engine will start after a fairly short distance or reaching a certain, fairly low, speed. You can avoid the autostop completely either by turning it off (it stays off on mine, even through an engine ignition/key removal cycle) or simply by not putting the gear stick in neutral at a stop.

            3. jmch Silver badge

              "EU mandated 5 seconds of idling is ridiculously short, even slowing down to a corner shuts down the engine. "

              Engine only shuts down if the car is completely stopped. My experience* is also that in the case the engine stops, very slightly lifting the pressure on the brake pedal (with the car still staying stopped) is enough to restart the engine, as is very slightly torquing the steering wheel. So by using either of these it is trivial to keep the engine running the whole time.

              *subjectivity warning!!

              1. Hairy Spod

                I think some of you are confusing cars equipped with automatic stop/start technology with the newer breed of so called 'mild hybrids' which are basically the next evolutionary step on from stop start cars in the road to electrification.

                Mild hybrids generally have a combined starter motor/alternator and will indeed cut the engine while slowing. They have much smaller batteries than 'normal' hybrids and can't match them for economy but they are more fuel efficient than a normal ICE car.

            4. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              WTF?

              My truck 5.3L engine idles at about 600RPM as a rough figure, I dont think I've ever seen a "domestic" vehicle idle greater than that.

              1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                5.3L Pft..

                What is wrong with you why dont you drive a cement truck ?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Plus

            You can be fined and win 3 points on your license for sitting in a vehicle and just idling. I wish PLOD would visit the supermarkets around here between 07:00 and 08:00. There are dozens of trades vans parked while the occupants get their lunch/starbucks. Often, they will leave the van idling. Illegal? Probably but a great target for the thieves. Just walk up, get in and drive away. All those lovely tools and materials... just asking to be nicked.

            Then there is the owner of a Merc Van. He sits waiting for his buddy from around 05:50 to approx 06:10 with it idling away, polluting the street with smelly diesel. He's also parked up on the kerb and has no working taillights. Yes, it has been reported but PLOD don't care.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Plus

              "Often, they will leave the van idling. Illegal? Probably"

              Definitely. It is illegal to leave a vehicle unoccupied with the engine running.

              1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Plus

                In Canadaland its usually bylaws about leaving a vehicle running unattended\idling for more than 3 minutes except when the temperature goes sub zero.

                Any cops that might want to ticket you idling past that time for that while waiting for a 4KM (2.5Mile) or 28571.4286 Linguine long train to crawl past you at a crossing, would have to leave their nice warm patrol cars & walk the 500M or 54.2358 double decker busses distance to your vehicle, walk back to the patrol car, give you the ticket & then walk back to the patrol car.

            2. munnoch Bronze badge

              Re: Plus

              its usually a luxury car stopped in a disabled parking bay with its engine running to keep the single occupant comfortable warm/cool... oops my trolley must have a dodgy wheel...

        2. frankrider

          > Does the constant start stop of the engine cause more wear? Yes. Does it save fuel? No. It takes more to restart it than it uses idling.

          But it feels good, right? You're doing something "for the environment."

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Musk has done a number on Teslas reputation (and I’m guessing it’s Musk who mandated thin paint and poor build quality in order to maximise profit)"

      Don't forget the $880 headlights on the Model 3. (provided they are in stock and it's not the end of the quarter when every employee is working new car deliveries and not shipping replacement parts).

    4. Stork Silver badge

      Who buys sedans? Very few here in Europe, US may be different.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        In Europe, nobody. I think that asking people to carry someone in a chair mounted on parallel poles is a bit demeaning.

    5. MJI Silver badge

      And people wonder why I am happy with a late 2003 car.

      And prepared to rechassis it.

  5. Filippo Silver badge

    So they are charging a monthly fee for something that, to the company, is a fixed one-time cost.

    In my opinion, this is an attempt at deliberate obfuscation of pricing.

    Cars don't last forever, so the subscription price clearly can be turned into a total price, statistically at least. Factor in interests and depreciation and stuff, and the subscription could be turned into its equivalent fixed one-time cost to the owner. It's roughly the reverse process of taking a loan to make a big purchase. But I bet that the price you'd come up with that way would be far higher than the price anyone in their right mind would pay for a heated steering wheel.

    Therefore - deliberate obfuscation of pricing. Legitimate? Sure. Offensive to the customer's intelligence? Yup. Likely to make me want to avoid any brand that tries to pull this on me? Very much.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      You've already paid for the heating elements to be fitted in the seats, they are just charging you extra to use them, and going to extra expense to make the car less functional by restricting access to this feature.

      I'm OK with charging a subscription for things like a revenue camera database, because that is something that needs to be updated, and that requires extra work beyond what it took to get your car in its completed state to the BMW dealer forecourt.

      Just give me a convenient place to put my phone though, as I would prefer to use that for things like navigation.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "I'm OK with charging a subscription for things like a revenue camera database, because that is something that needs to be updated"

        The same for maps and I'm all for a map subscription so there's incentive to keep updating the map database. Anything that has an ongoing cost to keep functional should have a subscription. Maybe the automakers should look for things that can justify a subscription. I use my car for work and if I could press a button and log the mileage to download later in something like a .csv format along with a way to add a note/text to the entry, that could be easier than writing it all down by hand such as I do now and transferring that to a spreadsheet manually. Even if I could download a trip log that separates entries by when the car is switched on and off (and driven). An onboard service log to keep track of what's been serviced on the car, also downloadable in case I might want to enter prices, warranty information, etc. I do keep a file on each car I have and save receipts and notes in it. It lets me get top dollar when I sell it on.

        To start charing a subscription for hardware that isn't mandated to be on a car such as wipers is silly. The more they do this, the more it makes sense for me to keep fixing my current car. There's nothing really that a new car does that I need. I have a Garmin Satnav, radio and all of the switches and knobs I desire.

      2. an.other_tech

        Agreed, phone holders should be standard equipment these days !

        Can my coffee cup provide navigation?

        Nope, the coffee is kept hot though!

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          My phone stays out of reach and out of sight.

          It auto connects to the car by Bluetooth and is available by voice control but I rarely use it.

          Phone holders should be banned.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            I occasionally use a phone (in holder) with phone doing the job of a sat nav, so phones & holders can be useful.

            .. I drive (as little as possible) an older, cheaper, simpler car that does not have built in "bells & whistles" such as sat nav etc.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Phone holders should be banned."

            It saved me from having to make one to hold a non-network-connected phone to use with Torque Pro. My car doesn't have all of the info screens that many modern cars have so I have a repurposed phablet to get a real time view of fuel use, oil pressure and other things that aren't displayed on the instrument cluster. The 'phone' gets the data via BT from a sender plugged into the OBD port.

    2. Solviva

      I'm guessing the heating parts rarely go wrong (nothing more than a big resistor really), but if you payed a subscription and indeed there was s fault, would the subscription entitle you to free repair? I'm guessing not :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...actually it's one of the most breaking parts in almost any car.

        It *is* a big resistor mesh, but you literally sit on it. A lot. On a springy seat.

        Look for something from the back seat and knee first to the front seat? *puff* says your heater. Did you move your seat? Oops, heater wires broke. (eventually, at least)

        Even worse if you've cloth seats, leather is a lot stiffer and protects heating elements a lot better.

        To the question: I'm sure you won't get a free repair from BMW: It's not *their* problem if it doesn't work. They would charge the subscription fee anyway, naturally.

    3. Kimo

      Exactly this. If the hardware is installed in the car, there is a 0% chance that the cost was not included in the purchase price. If there is no ongoing cost, then I would never buy that car.

      My Honda does have two remote start options. If I am parked in line of sight, I can use the keyfob to warm up the vehicle. I have street parking, but 99% of the time I can see the car from my bedroom window. This is included 100% in the cost of the car. There is an option to use a cellphone app to remote start the car. If I lived where I was in a neighborhood of taller apartments, I could see the use of that. Or I could use it to warm the car since I shuttle to my office from a surface lot. I understand that operating an app that requires sending a signal over a cellular network costs money every time it is used, and so I would not mind paying if I needed that option. While it uses hardware already installed in my car, there is a cost to operate that Honda should be able to recover.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "While it uses hardware already installed in my car, there is a cost to operate that Honda should be able to recover."

        There would be no cost to the manufacturer if they allowed the phone to contact the car directly instead of via their server somewhere on the other side of the world.

        1. Kimo

          If it uses the cellular network, somebody is paying for it. If I'm in Bluetooth range, I could have used the keyfob. If it uses WiFi, it isn't going to work in a remote parking lot with no coverage.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            I think you misunderstood what I meant. The app is using the cellular data network and almost certainly contacting a remote server which then contacts the car. At least that's how these things usually work.

            1. Kimo

              I understood. My point is that access to the cellular network is not free. If they offered a system to cut out their servers, I would have to pay to connect my car to a cellular network to use remote start. Hondalink costs $110 a year. Verizon charges me $10/month to add a smart device to my plan. Either option would cost about the same.

      2. Jan 0 Silver badge

        That's certainly not legal in the UK.

        I don't know about the rest of the world outside North America. Is it legal in Japan?

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Cars don't last forever, so the subscription price clearly can be turned into a total price, statistically at least."

      I wonder what happens if the heated seats fail out of warranty? Clearly the manufacturer still owns the mechanism since you didn't buy it, only rent it. They own it, so they should fix it at no cost to you. I bet the small print basically says, "tough, but as a 'gesture of goodwill' we might refund the last months subscription fee". And if you do pay yourself to have it fixed, they'll still want the subscription for the activation.

    5. MarkTriumphant

      The subscription items that don't have an ongoing cost to the supplier can usually be bought at a one-off cost. This is certainly the case for BMW. It is still a morally appalling way to "sell" stuff without mentioning it when selling the car.

    6. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "So they are charging a monthly fee for something that, to the company, is a fixed one-time cost."

      Tesla just went and did a similar thing by selling a discounted Model S with less range but with the same battery pack as a model with longer range. It's just a software lock on how much battery you are allowed to use.

  6. Joe W Silver badge

    "megatrends"

    I don't know about my fellow commentards here, but this term has not aged well. I will forever connect it with AMI, American Megatrends Inc. and boot screens...

    1. EricM

      Re: "megatrends"

      Same here, but I guess the term has therefore aged extremely well ...

      It speaks volumes that I feel better thinking about an old mainboard of mine booting than what today is called a "megatrand" in many instances :)

      Yeah, I'm getting old ...

  7. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Unhappy

    McKinsey?

    Going what I know (and think) of that company, I wouldn't be surprised if *they* put those ideas into the heads of carmaker execs in the first place.

    If you follow the chain of all that seems to be in corporations, from open plan to staff attrition through "back to the office" and everything in between, it seems you find their name pop up somewhere.

  8. Binraider Silver badge

    Still wouldn't buy one. At least, not one from the last 20 years.

    But it is a step back in the right direction.

  9. karlkarl Silver badge

    Darn. My model was literally the last model offering "perpetual" heated seats. I was hoping it was going to increase its resale value in later years XD

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Holmes

      Not sure I want perpetual heated seats when the temps in Canadaland go to the other extreme of +40C, thats when you want them to be cooled*.

      *Yes - That is a option.

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Long live

    The Ultimate Driving[Dumb] Machine.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Free Heated Seats

    My car has heated seats. Didn't cost a penny extra. Gets nice and toasty, especially when the car has been left with the roof down on a sunny day

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Free Heated Seats

      Best of luck trying that here in MapleSyrupland* & having to dig your way into your car, as well as digging out your car.

      * I got bored of Canadaland.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know someone is going to make a simple car and make a killing. You want to add connected feel free but it's just a car. Make parts available from anyone that wants to build them. Don't lump all the controls into a touchscreen as it's overkill for what they do. Engine light for issues with the diagnostics built in so it can show you the error code and description. I can see the logic of why they have made cars as complicated as possible because it means when it breaks down you have to go to them. I've dabbled with cars quite a bit fixing various faults but once you get past a certain year you're talking expensive software and registering parts with the ECU. That's not beyond my ability but you have to weigh up whether it's worth the risk.

    As for subs for a heated seats, I've seen this on a few cars for various things and I look at it and think what the fuck have you been smoking? It's a car. I'm buying a car. If it breaks I pay to fix the car. That's it. A monthly subscription for something I bought with the car is not happening.

    1. Blank Reg

      I'd be interested in a new old fiat 500 with its whopping 16hp and ~60Mpg. I bet with modern materials and manufacturing they could squeeze out a few more miles per gallon. There really wasn't much that you couldn't fix yourself on those cars

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Modern design standards and owner expectations would require it to weigh more than twice as much as the old car.

        Have a look at how unsuccessful the Tata Nano was to get an idea of how many drivers want a modern Fiat 500...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          My wife got a new Fiat 500 as an insurance-replacement hire car when her car was stolen. She took it back the next day, it was so gutless it could barely climb the hill to get home in 2nd gear with accelerator flat to the floor.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            My partner used to have a Fiat 500 and it struggled going up hills on motorways. (And being bigger than anorexic, I always found it a bit cramped)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The point here being that you couldn't even sell Tata Nano in EU: "Won't fill the regulations".

          Even less manufacture. Nano would sell if it was cheap enough, of course. But it wasn't, which is a proof that there's no way to make an actually cheap car: Too much of the cost of it is fixed and won't go down no matter what.

          Which means it costs almost the same as existing, "normal", cars. Which means there's no market for it. Owners are irrelevant in this context, it's authorities.

          "design standards" are irrelevant and it's not about them, it's all about legal requirements *meant* to keep the cost high. Expensive car, a lot of profit and no competition. No doubt car makers *pay* a lot to keep it that way.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "it's all about legal requirements *meant* to keep the cost high."

            Or, looked at from another point of view, ie the point of view that brought in said regulations, "it's all about legal requirements *meant* to reduce vehicular fatalities and injuries".

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "I'd be interested in a new old fiat 500 with its whopping 16hp and ~60Mpg. "

        You can pick up an older hybrid that gets close to that mileage and has a lot more room.

      3. Stork Silver badge

        I have the feeling they also needed quite a bit of fixing compared to more modern cars.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You know someone is going to make a simple car and make a killing. "

      Won't happen as a cartel between EU and car manufacturers (read: bribes) have made it impossible to make a simple car. That's not an accident, it's all about profits and there's less profit in a cheap car.

      Reality is that making a car is more or less a fixed cost:All of them more or less have the same expensive parts and the mandatory "safety" BS is a major part of any car manufacturing cost.

      Neither of those can be lowered and 2/3 of the manufacturing price is already there, mandated by the technology or by the EU.

      Example: Machining an engine block out of lump of steel? Engine size is meaningless, only the amount of cylinders mean anything significant and cost increase is far from linear: Machining cost is measured in time, not the amount of steel removed.

      Let's say a 3 pot engine costs 10, 4 pot engine costs 11 and a six pot engine 14 (because a lot longer block and such).

      Relative to the factory price of the whole car all of these are irrelevant, assembly is more than half of the cost. "luxury equipment" you see in high end cars doesn't actually cost anything, it's there *just* to hike the price up. A lot.

      Example: Optional foglights (in some option package): $150 ... and actual cost to factory, installed and wired: $10: $5 for the lamps and $5 for wiring and installation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I saw a video the other day where someone was after an indicator lens for a Lamborghini. Quote was £620. It's from a Ford Focus, 6.00 on ebay.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "and the mandatory "safety" BS is a major part of any car manufacturing cost."

        Look at road death statistics for *any* country and compare miles driver per death or serious injury, then come back and tell us all about how "safety" is BS. I bet you still get a red haze every time you are legally forced to put a seat belt on eh?

    3. Lurko

      "You know someone is going to make a simple car and make a killing. "

      There's plenty about. The wife's "new" 2019 MX-5 is a base model, with automated nothing. No touch screen. No crappy, overpriced and not very good car-maker satnav. No rear parking sensors (Eeek!) Even the radio's FM only and controlled by buttons. Climate control? What be that? I suppose keyless ignition is a "simplification" it has that isn't really adding much, on the other hand the LED headlights are a joy for night driving. But all in all it's pretty close to an old style car, without the rust and reliability issues.

      How is a Dacia equipped? And are Renault making a killing?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Even the radio's FM only and controlled by buttons."

        That's really bizarre as radio is all on one or two chips these days with a few external parts. There's not much of a savings to not include AM, DAB and even SW. I don't use AM that much, but that's often the band the news stations use so I'll tune in for traffic information, weather and stuff if I'm sick to the teeth and going to hurl if I hear one more Beatles or Led Zepplin song on the one rock station I can pull in.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          The fact you call it AM and not MW suggests your are in the USA where the long distances make it still viable for long range AM transmitters, especially for news channels. Here in the UK, the Medium Wave frequencies it's fairly barren nowadays. It's all FM and DAB. It might be different in the south Wales valleys or up in the Highlands of Scotland where MW propagation might still be a benefit. Even BBC Radio Four is considering dropping their Long Wave service. I think they said they only have a couple of spare main transmitter valves left and they are very hard to source now.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Here in the UK, the Medium Wave frequencies it's fairly barren nowadays. It's all FM and DAB. It might be different in the south Wales valleys or up in the Highlands of Scotland where MW propagation might still be a benefit."

            The main point is it's all on a chip anyway. If all cars had AM (MW), the government would collect more licensing fees. It isn't that great for music, but fine for spoken word and stations can cover most of the country which is a good thing during emergencies when many FM stations could be off the air.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Huh? Why would FM all go off air in an emergency but MW keep going? It's just transmitters at different frequencies.

              Also, to be technical, because of the difference in frequency, those AM bands require a lot of turns of thin wire around a ferrite rod, while any child from the 70s and 80s will tell you that FM is perfectly serviceable using a bent bit of coat hanger. So while a modern radio chip can probably do anything from LW up to airband, the supporting hardware to make it work isn't the same, and different hardware will add costs. LW and MW, for example, are both ferrite rod based, but separate (often one wound beside, or on top of on cheaper designs, the other).

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                You can cover most of the UK with a single LW transmitter, which makes it more practical to provide local electrical supply backup. That's not really viable for all the local VHF/FM relays.

                As for ferrite rods, I haven't seen one in an AM radio for years, most use synthesisers instead of LC-based tuners these days.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Long wave really works effectively only in hours of darkness.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Long wave really works effectively only in hours of darkness.

                    Not really, it still has good range in daylight. Some years back when I was living in S. France I had a visit from a friend who was an Archers addict (this was pre-internet radio days). We ended up going for a drive into quiet countryside, where I left her to get her fix from the car's long-wave radio while I went for a walk. Must have been a good 700 miles from the Droitwich transmitter.

                2. heyrick Silver badge

                  Phil: Yup. Just spent an idle half hour pulling apart an old Clarion CD car radio (I replaced it with something that takes SD cards and Bluetooth) and, indeed, it's only using the whip antenna.

                  Must be some horrible compromises to get that working for MW/LW, given the difference in wavelengths.

                  I've never really looked inside a car radio before. Thanks for the push. It was an interesting diversion (and yay ElektroTanya for a service manual with schematic).

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                "Huh? Why would FM all go off air in an emergency but MW keep going? It's just transmitters at different frequencies."

                In the US there are now many "local" FM stations that are robots. Programming is all done from a central location quite distant from the transmitter with the "DJ's" babble syndicated out and newsreaders that spend their working day reading off the news for multiple markets that gets queued up and sent to a transmitter someplace. About the only local function is ad sales and promotions.

                During one of the big US hurricanes, only a few very small FM stations were left broadcasting. The FCC gave them temporary permission to increase their power if they could to be able to reach more people with information. Those small stations were mainly one person operations or staffed with volunteers such as college stations and they could be on the air since they had back up generators and people to work the system.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "the government would collect more licensing fees"

              Er, what? I doubt all cars having MW would encourage more MW stations on the band, so nothing extra for the Govt.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                "Er, what? I doubt all cars having MW would encourage more MW stations on the band, so nothing extra for the Govt."

                The radio stations have to pay licensing fees and if there are no MW radios, there won't be broadcasters to pay for licenses. A MW (AM) license is really cheap compared to FM or DAB. If you wanted to start a news or talk station, it wouldn't be that costly and you could reach a much larger audience which can equate to higher ad rates.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            They use sat radio in US to deal with long range.

            My rental car had Sirius XM or something like that.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "They use sat radio in US to deal with long range."

              Satellite is useless for local traffic and news and overkill for local sports. It also requires users to pay a subscription. I've had satellite radio before and enjoyed it, but I don't drive that much anymore and can get even more choice on the internet when I get bored of my massive music collection accumulated over decades.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "I've dabbled with cars quite a bit fixing various faults but once you get past a certain year you're talking expensive software and registering parts with the ECU. That's not beyond my ability but you have to weigh up whether it's worth the risk."

      Tesla is really big into needing to register all of the various black boxes with the car's main black box. There's even a circuit board in the headlights that might be DRM, but I'm not certain on that. I don't see why the headlights would need a wodge of electronics embedded in them that isn't power switching (although an external relay is going to be cheaper to replace). It will turn anybody that reverse engineers that DRM into a criminal that the State will have to prosecute. Cory Doctorow has don't a lot of talks on things like this and even has a great story, "Authorized Bread", IIRC. Rich Rebuilds has hit the Tesla service wall lots of times and put out YT videos with his tails of woe. Theoretically, you can get a salvage title Tesla "re-blessed" by Tesla so you can once again use Superchargers, apps and get OTA updates, but they charge a bunch for that and maybe your rebuilt car passes, maybe it doesn't, but you still have to pay them. I expect they will find you must buy at least $1,000 worth of parts and service on top of the exam fees to pass.

  13. captain veg Silver badge

    Iconic

    IconicSounds Sport, available for a one-time charge of £99, "plays BMW engine sound inside the vehicle."

    Alternatively, bounce up and down on the seat while making "brrm brrrrm" noises.

    -A.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iconic

      I truly wonder as this feature. I'm not sure if this is more used ironically as a braindead joke, or, worse, seriously by people who truly enjoy it. Both seem equally ghastly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Iconic

      years ago, my dad had a little gadget that would do that. You plugged it into the ciggy lighter socket and it threw v8 noises at the stereo using FM.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Iconic

        My Sunbeam used to provide a rally car soundtrack, open windows and boot it (1600 not 2.2)

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Iconic

          > open windows and boot it

          Ah yes, my first car, a 1966 Beetle, was like that. Until I replaced the rotted-out exhaust system and oil-soaked clutch.

          -A.

    3. Mishak Silver badge

      And the jumping up and down...

      ... should also negate the need for a heated seat.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: And the jumping up and down...

        Sometimes the jumping up & down is because of the heated seats....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My arse just sent me an invoice

    Says it’s been heating my seats for free too long!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My arse just sent me an invoice

      Hey, I've been billing the boss for keeping a seat warm for years. (It's not much of a job, but it beats working)

  15. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Privacy

    Apparently, if you disable the snooping on some cats, the key-based profiles stop working. Becuz we can.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: Privacy

      That's because the profiles are not stored in the car, but in 'the cloud'.

      This has several effects:

      1) By knowing which profile has been chosen, they know who is driving the car. This is great for targetted advertising, because they can link the profile to driving style, entertainment channels chosen, and the contact list uploaded via the Bluetooth connection from the smartphone, as well as the smartphone details, plus the location data.

      2) If there is no Internet connectivity, the profile cannot be read from the cloud, so the car doesn't set up seats and mirrors etc. for you.

      3) If the cloud servers are running slowly or timing out [sarcasrm] something that never happens [/sarcasm], then setting up the profile doesn't work either, even if your Internet connection is fantabulous.

      It's a truly great 'solution' for the data collectors. Not so much for the 'owner' of the car.

      NN

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Privacy

        "That's because the profiles are not stored in the car, but in 'the cloud'."

        You forgot the best part: When manufacturer decides it's time to this model to die, they yank the servers out of the network, so the owners can't get in and have to scrap their cars.

        Pure profit!

        See what has happened to myriad different "streaming services" .... planned obsolence if you ask from me. *Very planned* ... to the minute.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        "and the contact list uploaded via the Bluetooth connection from the smartphone, as well as the smartphone details, plus the location data."

        Are you dead certain that your contact list is all that is getting copied when you pair your phone to the car? Wouldn't it be handy for somebody to know who you bank with by scanning what apps you have installed (I don't do banking on my phone, btw). They shouldn't be able to get into your account, but the finance company would love to know about all of the places you hold an account, just in case. Got store rewards apps? Ordering apps for takeaway/delivery?

        I'd love to get my hands on a wrecked late model EV that has all of the bells and whistles (being totaled would mean it would be cheaper). I'd lay out the whole nervous system on a piece of plywood and tickle it here and there to see what it might tell me. I'd enjoy reverse engineering it and come up with a way to provide privacy patches for VIPS that don't want their car spying on them and have the money to see that it doesn't. A cheap option might just be a switch that turn off any mobile radios. A higher tier could be a way to purge data completely from time to time selectively.

    2. Sven Coenye
      Thumb Down

      Re: Privacy

      Toyota does. And if you do disable the surveillance, the display makes it pretty obvious that you are just a Guest in their car...

      (But by that point they already have your e-mail address and cell phone number. You can't even fix the clock's time zone without that.)

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        "You can't even fix the clock's time zone without that"

        I have clocks in so many places I wouldn't care about that. The auto parts stores often have stick-on clocks for a couple of bucks that don't require registration or an app.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy

      Cloud?

      The only cloud my car is involved in is when I drive Snake Pass on a wet day.

    4. Mr Dogshit

      Re: if you disable the snooping on some cats

      Cats?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Cats?

        Jaguar?

  16. Mike 137 Silver badge

    a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

    Doesn't that make Beemer guilty of conspiracy to commit road traffic offences?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

      Officially traffic cameras (not anything real like 'automated theft devices') exist to make traffic safer in 'dangerous spots' as they say.

      So of course it's legal to know where these dangerous spots are. Not only legal, but *everyone* should know where they are, right?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

        Correct, at least in the UK. There even Police websites that list where and when their mobile "safety camera" vans are going to be. In some other countries, not so much. IIRC, in France that sort of service is illegal and you MUST make sure it's turned off on your phone or SatNav in case you get pulled over.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

          So what you're saying is in France you MUST have a second hidden phone you can quickly silence that's running it in case the pigs stop you.

          Because you'd be a fucking loony to drive without knowing where they were.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

            Why? Do you not adhere to the speed limit?

        2. John R. Macdonald

          Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

          Not entirely true for France. Apps are no longer allowed to indicate the precise location, only a 'zone' (can't remember the length of said zone) that straddles where the safety camera is positioned. French Waze users certainly report where the cops are. AFAIK nobody has been prosecuted for that.

          Radar detectors OTOH are definitely illegal.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

            Ta for the update/correction. I was working from a hazy memory :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

      What happened to you, Britain? You used to be cool. I remember the Burning Gatso website, with all the scameras that had been torched by a people who still valued freedom.

      Now you're turning into German-level rule followers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

        Now you're turning into German-level rule followers.

        Google ULEZ camera destruction. It's almost French as a response :-)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

          IIRC, London is one of the larger "Departments" of France by population :-)

          Or at least it was prior to Brexit, so could have changed since I read that info.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: a £25 per year subscription to a service that identifies traffic cameras

            Ah, here's the info. More less up to date but infers the data maybe a bit older than the article date.

            "London is often referred to as the sixth most populous city of French people in the world (including by Macron himself), with estimates of around 300,000 French people living in the capital, this is expected to have declined since Brexit.

  17. spireite Silver badge

    Only a matter of time

    .... before they put a scale in the seats and charge you wear and tear if you wish more than 90kg because of additional strain on the vehicle

    1. Lurko

      Re: Only a matter of time

      Can't see that going down so well in Germany, the US or the UK, given certain population trends affecting all three.

      1. RedGreen925 Bronze badge

        Re: Only a matter of time

        "Can't see that going down so well in Germany, the US or the UK, given certain population trends affecting all three."

        The fascists are on the rise everywhere, it is a world wide connected bunch of groups it is happening through. The anti-social media being used to spread their propaganda and misinformation. With the parasite corporations and their billionaire leaders behind it all to seize control and turns us all into complaint little serfs. And our so called political representatives are in on it, taking their bribes in the form of campaign contributions to allow it to happen. We are in for some interesting times in the next few years unless the spineless apologists bastards grow a pair and stand up to them and fight for a change, instead of continuing on the victory lap they have been on since the last great war to defeat it. You can never stop they go to ground and slowly build back up until they are ready to make their move again like they do now.

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Only a matter of time

      So every time you go to the lavatory, it’s vitally important to get a receipt.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously?

    "Heated seats and steering wheel were never available on a short-term subscription basis in the US market. They were strictly either standard equipment or factory options, depending on the model."

    I can only hope that some idiot decided to sell something that sounds like the ****ing steering wheel, in a car !

  19. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Wouldnt it be better for BMW to give away these subscription services for free and fire a few members of their boards instead ? The savings by removing the later would easily cover the lost revenue of the former.

  20. bpfh

    Surely this is illegal in some way?

    You can't (shouldn't) be able to sell a something that contains physical hardware that is locked out - especially knowing car manufacturing penny pinching which has been known to go down to saving centimètres of wiring in harnesses as 5 cents saving over 500 000 units is 25 000 euros/quid/dollars in revenue, so my thinking is that if it's in the car, you did, actually pay for it to be there - activated or not - and it's not something that costs money over time such as an internet connection or map updating.

    Hardware angle? HP and IBM sold mainframes and minis that contained extra processors that could be unlocked on the fly or via a few DIP switches.... When the hardware was rented you didn't rent the hardware but the service the hardware supplied and the supplier could provide what they wanted and that's fine, but if that hardware was outright purchased, paying a field engineer 4 hours work to flip some switches behind a panel to activate pre-installed hardware and then read a book for the remaining 3.75 hours is somewhere between extortion and theft in my opinion!

    1. bpfh

      Re: Surely this is illegal in some way?

      Example for the wiring: ever seen cars (Citroën Xsara for example) where the front electric window commands were in the centre console in the dashboard rather than in the doors? That's beancounters overriding ergonomics to save cash on 3 metres of wire per car.

      Why did Fiat's have a spate of electrical issues, despite bomb proof engines? The wiring harnesses especially to the rear lights were cut down to the exact centimetre needed, and not one more - causing wires to snap or connectors to pull out as there was no margin allowed to account for chassis flexibility.

      Finally, why did Opel have a spate of breaking driveshafts? Their new financial director ordered that suppliers had to find ways of reducing prices across the board by 20% - ensuring that lower quality hardware was supplied that had no built in strength margin any more...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Surely this is illegal in some way?

      HP at least, still do it now. Those big office printer usually leased? The last two digits of the model number is the Pages Per Minute or PPM rating, set at the factory. If you know how, you can increase it to whatever the deign max is for that "family", eg when buying ex-rental kit. IIRC, there's a "magic" toner" cartridge required to put it into factory program mode. I'm sure the info is out on the web somewhere.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Surely this is illegal in some way?

      " HP and IBM sold mainframes and minis that contained extra processors that could be unlocked on the fly or via a few DIP switches.... "

      That means that with a few pence of DIP switches they multiply the number of offerings while at the same time getting better economies of scale by only building one model. I suppose they have to spend some money on all of the different badges they stick on to each one. A cheap way to fatten up the brochure and it's a good test to see how well the sales people are doing their jobs.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a bmw ev, it's great

    It's an older model and it's not mine. All the bmw connected drive stuff now doesn't work as it's expired and I'm not paying for it.

    Satnav and music over bluetooth from the phone. Nothing else that I have been offered, I particularly need. I've got used to Idrive a bit now, but I still far prefer android auto!

  22. frankrider

    You will own nothing and be happy.

    See title. This is the kind of thing they're talking about. If you "your car" is deliberately nerfed and it's illegal to turn on features without permission and paying fees to the manufacturer, it's not really your car, is it?

  23. Mr Dogshit

    IconicSounds Sport "plays BMW engine sound inside the vehicle."

    Wow! Where do I sign?

  24. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Badge snobbery

    Why don't they charge a subscription fee for the BMW badge? It seems to be all that owners want them for since many of them seem to be incapable of driving their "drivers car" according to rules clearly laid out in The Highway Code. Yes, they do seem to be fairly reliable cars that are fairly well built and some models do have a certain exciting feel to them, but I don't get why people are willing to pay that much extra for them. Me, I own a 19 year old LS430 with 140k miles on it, before that had a 98 Honda Legend, then 2001 Merc S320CDI, then another 98 Legend, then a 2.6 Carlton Diplomat and my first car was a Carlton 2.0 GL. I have tried various BMWs over the years (535, 540, M5(E60-V10), 730d, and 750) and they were all a tight squeeze (I'm a BIG bloke) and none of them really impressed me the way a car with those price-tags should have. My Merc was an unreliable POS as well. People bang on about German Engineering, but my personal experience is if you want reliable, you want Japanese.

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Badge snobbery

      Do you know which machines run your grid, dig your tunnels, generate power from dams or are used by doctors in surgeries etc ?

      Heres a clue its not Chinese or Japanese. Just because you cheaped out and bought a old Merc that somebody didnt want doesnt mean German stuff is crap.

      1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

        Re: Badge snobbery

        I never said that German stuff is crap. Yes, my old S320 was unreliable crap but both my Carltons were very good (German made, Opel Omega). What I said is that if you want reliable, then Japanese is the way to go. As for what runs our grid, digs our tunnels, etc. they are not cars, and cars (specifically BMWs) were what was being discussed.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Badge snobbery

          I have had both Carltons and Omegas.

          Good cars for German, but I did like the British engines in the Omega.

          Prefered them to 5 series

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Badge snobbery

      When I had the 2.0 Carlton I found it was a LOT more roomy than a 5 series.

      I have driven the smaller straight 6 VXs, TBH prefered the high compression 2.0 as the 2.5 was not much more power, but a lot more weight.

      3.0 though lovely engine.

      2.0 Carlton

      1200 kg, a bit over 120bhp, roomy, comfortable.

      I wanted aircon and it was getting rusty.

  25. NXM Silver badge

    unintended consequences

    My aunt accidentally turned the heated seats on and thought she'd wet herself

  26. HKmk23

    What do you expect

    from blasted monkey wagons?

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