Journal: Access by BMW Is Like Having A Fleet Of M Cars In Your iPhone

Access by BMW Is Like Having A Fleet Of M Cars In Your iPhone

By Alex Sobran
April 4, 2018

Photos courtesy of BMW

Subscription services have been a common headline ever since Netflix put an end to Blockbuster, but the idea itself is older than milkmen. Some are practical and useful, most of the new ones seem to be blatant cash-grabs, and a few are downright decadent. Access by BMW, a new program that’s just begun a test-run of sorts in Nashville, TN, seems to fall into that last category. We wrote about Porsche’s similar Passport service last year, and a few others like Cadillac and Volvo have offered their own versions since.

BMW’s will be the most expensive of the lot so far, or at least one of the two initial packages will be. The first is priced at $2,000/mo and among others it includes models in the 4- and 5-Series range, the new X2, a handful of X5s, and as a little cherry on top, the M2. That’s the first tier called “Legend.” Before you do some lease payment math, yes, you can put the M2 and a few others in the driveway for less if you went the traditional route. It will include a few hybrid models, but as of now neither the i8 nor i3 are included.

The second and top tier is M-based, so if you live in Nashville and are willing to shell out $3,700 on top of your mortgage each month you can drive all the M3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s you want, including the SUVs. Yes, this too is significantly more expensive than leasing multiple cars in the pool at once.

The obvious reason for this cost difference is the flexibility provided by the subscription—don’t like the M5 that’s looking at you in the driveway? Take out your smartphone, choose a convertible M4, pick a delivery time, and wait until the concierge delivers it to your home or wherever else you choose with a full tank of gas and the settings already configured to your picky standards. The question is whether it’s worth such a large amount of money. With solid credit you could have a Huracán and a Civic in the garage for less, but you couldn’t drive thousands of German horsepower every week with that alternative.

The prices of the two tiers both include insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance, but it’s obviously not aimed at those of us looking for a cost-effective means of getting around (that’s not really the point of European luxury cars is it?). Right now the company claims Access by BMW is by all means a pilot program meant to help them learn what some of their customers are looking for in terms of non-traditional ownership. Despite the recent accidents, the move towards self-driving cars, fewer car owners, and increased ride-sharing still looks like an undeniable reality, so it’s likely that BMW will expand Access in the near future.

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