Click to enlarge

BMW Malaysia has introduced a subscription service for Apple CarPlay use on its models, in which the first six months of usage is free from the time of vehicle assembly. Following this, owners will need to decide if they want the subscription to lapse, or pay to retain access.

Referring to BMW Malaysia’s official website, the subscription service – referred to as Apple CarPlay Preparation – offers four different tiers to choose from, starting with a trial option for RM5, which is renewable for up to three months, for those who want to try out the feature before committing.

Meanwhile, a 12-month plan costs RM513, while a 36-month/three-year plan goes for RM799. If you want unlimited access, that will set you back RM1,899. These plans can be purchased via the BMW ConnectedDrive Customer Portal, in the Connected Drive Store.

While it may seem odd for BMW to charge customers for a function that is free to use in other car models, BMW Malaysia claims that the decision is actually a global directive from Apple, and the carmaker has nothing to gain from it. According to news reports, the subscription service is also active in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, meaning it isn’t just limited to Malaysia.

Customers in the US pay US$80 (RM329) for 12 months of Apple CarPlay service or US$300 (RM1,235) for a 240-month/20-year membership. In the UK, a one month trial costs one pound sterling (RM5), 12 months for 85 pounds sterling (RM437), 36 months for 255 pounds sterling (RM1,310), while an unlimited-term plan is 295 pounds (RM1,516).

Closer to our part of the world, BMW Australia charges AU$1 (RM2.87) for the one-month trial, AU$179 (RM514) for 12 months, AU$479 (RM1,375) for 36 months, and AU$639 (RM1,835) for an unlimited-term plan.

Currently, all new, fully-imported (CBU) and locally-assembled (CKD) BMW models (except the X1), as well as MINI cars sold in Malaysia, have built-in Apple CarPlay. Older models that also support the feature will also have to go on the subscription service.