When the Mercedes-Benz EQS was revealed back in April, the German carmaker confirmed that the all-electric sedan comes fitted with rear-wheel steering as standard. Just like on the S-Class, this allows the rear wheels to turn up to 10 degrees to significantly reduce the car’s turning circle.

However, the 10 degrees of rear steering angle must be ordered and activated via an over-the-air (OTA) software update. Without doing so, the rear wheels have a steering angle of up to 4.5 degrees instead, despite having the necessary hardware to do so.

In the United States, the EQS gets the full 10 degrees without requiring any additional payment, although this isn’t the case in other countries. Auto Motor und Sport recently reported that, in Germany, the system is limited to 4.5 degrees and requires a paid subscription for drivers to have access to 10 degrees.

To unlock the feature, German customers will need to pay 489 euros (RM2,441) per year, or they can pay 1,169 euros (RM5,835) up front for a three-year subscription. The publication also notes that the rear-wheel steering requires a 360-degree camera to be specified, which is an option that costs 1,130 euros (RM5,641).

Charging customers to be able to use features that are already present on a car isn’t something new, as other carmakers like BMW, Tesla and Porsche have already begun rolling out similar plans. With modern cars being more software-driven, OTA updates allow carmakers to set up paywalls to certain vehicle functions in order to boost revenue.

This approach has attracted some backlash in the past, as evident in Malaysia when BMW wanted to charge a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay previously. This has since been dropped, although a one-time payment is still needed to enable the feature. Would you pay to activate features that are already present in your car?