Today I learned that BMW charges extra for a software update from ‘don’t blind other people’


When you typically think of luxury car features, do you envision rich leather seats and extravagant upholstery? Advanced cruise control and intelligent self-parking? Whatever you imagine I bet “dim my headlights so I don’t blind other people” isn’t it.

But BMW has not only used its “High Beam Assistant” as an upsell for more than a decade, it also charges drivers additional to unlock the safety feature already built into their car – by purchasing it as a wireless software update.

Apparently this is ongoing almost two years, but Car Magazine editor Jake Groves first brought it to my attention this week this viral tweet

Let’s forget the price for a moment because that’s not what pisses me off. (In general, £ 160 isn’t a huge amount for the average BMW buyer to spend.) That’s it the rest of us depend on BMW drivers to be such good citizens that they spend their own money on them avoid show off the power of their blazing headlights, all because a car company has a perfectly good public safety feature locked behind a digital paywall.

Maybe there should be a law on this? However, do not expect the US to continue doing this anytime soon; Adaptive Beam headlights are actually still illegal in the United Stateswhile we wait for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make a final decision on whether or not to allow it, let alone encourage its use. That statement should have come last year. I’ve asked the NHTSA if there has been any movement, and I’ll let you know what I hear.