Everyone seems to be rolling out a subscription service these days. But $3,700—a month? That’s how much BMW thinks it can get out of drivers for the BMW M-level tier of a new U.S. subscription pilot it’s starting this week in Nashville.
Members who are capable of shelling out $3,700 per month will receive “unlimited access to a fleet of BMWS,” reports Bloomberg. I goddamn hope so for that price.
Here’s more from Bloomberg on the program, dubbed Access by BMW:
The pricier “M” tier puts drivers behind the wheels of sports cars like the M5, which retails for more than $100,000, while the $2,000-a-month version lets subscribers summon top-selling models like the X5 SUV, 5 Series sedan and plug-in hybrid versions of both.
“The reason why we went with the upper tier, especially the ‘M’ tier, is we think we can learn an awful lot more with that clientele,” said Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer of BMW Group Financial Services in the Americas, which is running the pilot. “This is about learning and ensuring with our dealer partners that we’re building a business model that’s sustainable for the longer term and not something that’s going to be a fad for this year.”
As Bloomberg notes, the $3,700 per month price tag is nearly three times the cost of monthly lease payments for a 2018 M5 sedan in Nashville. A review of the app’s pricing shows you could also drive a X6M and M4 convertible, and it provides unlimited switches. At $2,000 per month, you’d get access to the 530e, 440 Coupe and X5. The subscription includes insurance, roadside assistance and vehicle upkeep, Bloomberg notes.
But still. The price for even the lower $2,000-per-month tier exceeds offerings from other automakers like Cadillac, whose subscription service launched in January runs at $1,800 per month for access to the CT6, the Escalade, and a XT5. Volvo’s $600 per month program provides access to the XC40, and includes insurance, maintenance and 24/7 customer care.
That’s still a lotta loot, and you only get one small-ish SUV, but it’s not $3,700. Based on BMW’s own estimates, a hypothetical rich person interested in the subscription could lease a 2018 530e, a 2019 440i coupe, and a 2018 X5 xDrive all at once, and still come in under the $2,000 monthly price tag for the service. Sure, insurance and maintenance and whatever would put you over the top, but you’d get all three at once. You could lash them together and ride behind them on a great Bavarian chariot (NOTE: this may violate the terms of your lease and/or be illegal, please do not attempt).
I get it. I know the answer to my question up top. And I get that automakers are doing whatever they can to connect with a younger audience. But how is this a reasonable cost even for well-off millennial types? (Is that a big demographic even?) At $3,700 per month, you could outright buy a M5 in just over two years. That’s why I think Smith answered his own point, because this seems fundamentally designed to be a fad for 2018.
But please, if you do plan to sign up for this, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to understand.
Correction (6:15 p.m.): A Cadillac representative reached out to clarify that its subscription program costs $1,800 per month. A previous version of this story said it was $1,500. We regret the error.