Pilot program makes driving a BMW as easy as choosing a Netflix movie


2019 BMW X4 (European version)

Motorists who like BMWs will soon be able to subscribe to one. Confirming an earlier rumor, the Munich, Germany-based company launched a Netflix-like subscription service named Access by BMW.

The pilot program kicks off today in Nashville, Tennessee. Access by BMW is a members-only service that provides unlimited access to what BMW presents as a diverse fleet of cars for a flat, pre-determined monthly fee. Rivals Porsche and Cadillac introduced similar services last year named Porsche Passport and Book by Cadillac, respectively, while Volvo took a slightly different path when it created Care by Volvo.

“It’s a very small pilot; just enough to get our feet wet and see what happens,” a BMW spokesperson told Digital Trends.

Largely smartphone-based, Access by BMW works with Android- and Apple-powered devices. Members use the application to request a car, much as they may request a ride through the Uber app. The models they have access to depends on the tier selected when they signed up for the program. The Legend tier includes relatively standard cars like the 4 Series, the 5 Series, the new X2, the X5, and the M2. BMW also makes plug-in hybrid models like the 530e iPerformance available. The more expensive M tier consists of M-badged models such as the M5, the M6, the X5 M, and the X6 M.

Models like the i3, the i8, the 7 Series, and the Mini Hardtop aren’t included in Access by BMW. The company promised to add additional tiers as it expands the program so they could join the program sooner or later.

Once a member selects a car, a BMW concierge will deliver it at the chosen place and time. Every car comes with a full tank of gas with personal preferences already pre-set. The brand adds there’s no limit to how many times a member changes cars per month; it’s possible to change cars daily. Pricing ranges between $2,000 and $3,700 a month depending on the tier selected. These figures include the membership fee, maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance.

“Subscription-based services are of emerging interest for our customers, and we’re excited to be offering a mobility service to meet their individual and evolving needs” said Ian Smith, the CEO of BMW Group Financial Services. “With Access by BMW, our members will enjoy the freedom of personal mobility,” he added.

The idea of a subscription service isn’t to bypass the traditional dealership. Dealers in the Nashville area remain responsible for delivering the vehicles and maintaining them. If the pilot is successful, it’s safe to bet BMW will expand its Access program to other parts of the country and, later, the world.

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