BMW announces car subscription program for those who can’t commit

BMW X6 MBMW has announced a new pilot subscription program in Nashville that allows members unlimited access to a variety of vehicles from the luxury brand.

For a fee of $2,000-$3,700 per month, Access by BMW members will use a smartphone app to request a vehicle. A nearby dealer will then deliver the car to the subscriber with a full tank of gas, freshly detailed, and with personal preferences pre-set. Insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance are included in the program.

Should the requested car be unavailable, BMW will deliver one that is most closely matches the request. There is currently no limit on the number of vehicles a subscriber can order in a given month.

The program has two tiers. “Legend” includes the brand’s mainline sedans, coupes, convertibles, SUVs, and hybrids. The “M” tier provides access to BMW’s coveted M-badged performances vehicles such as the famed M3, M4 convertible, M5, and M6 convertible, as well as the X5M and X6M SUVs. Additional tiers will be added as the program expands.

While the cost may seem high at first, the BMW customer website payment calculator suggests that leasing $55,000 entry-level 5 Series would run about $800 per month, assuming no down payment, unlimited mileage, and a 36-month term of lease. Purchasing the same car outright would cost about $900 per month, assuming no down payment, a 60-month term, and a friendly 1.9 percent interest rate.

Insurance and taxes can add thousands in expenses, and first year depreciation can easily be between 11 and 19 percent of the sticker price. With all these costs, a subscription program begins to make financial sense for certain customers, with the added benefit of a new car whenever the mood strikes.

Both Porsche and Cadillac also offer subscription programs in a similar price range.

As the subscription field heats up, many third party services have appeared. Canvas offers Ford and Lincoln products, Less works similarly to a traditional lease with the exception of the ability to change cars once a year, and Flexdrive offers vehicles for a weekly fee plus mileage.

The official Access by BMW app can be downloaded at the program website.

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