Mazda appMazda has launched an app in the U.S. that can start a car via a smartphone – and costs $500.

Available in the Apple iOS Store and and Google Play, the Mazda Mobile Start app is a bespoke smartphone remote engine start system that allows owners to remotely fire the engine for up to 30 minutes at a time.

This will enable the cabin to be cooled or heated before the owner gets in.

The app also includes door lock and panic alarm functions, plus a carfinder that cleverly uses both GPS and the smartphone’s camera to locate the car – particularly handy in massive North American mall car parks, reckons Mazda.

Just two problems. Firstly, while it’s coming to other Mazdas later in the year, it’s currently only available with U.S. market Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 (and even then, only on automatic CX-5).

Secondly, it costs $500.

OK, that does include dealer installation of the onboard tech, plus a one-year subscription to the app (after that, it’s $65 a year), but still: can you think of a more expensive app?

MORE on MR

Mazda MX-5 1.5 review: 2015 preview drive

Mazda MX-5 launches with 0% APR finance deal

Mazda: product will take us back to 50,000 sales