BMW indicated at the beginning of 2018 that they were going to charge a subscription for CarPlay as a feature, and now they’re keeping that promise. It will cost $80 / year to unlock the Apple CarPlay feature, or $300 for a (lifetime) 20 years subscription. The decision to pay for a lifetime subscription has to be made during the original purchase of the car. The first year of CarPlay is provided for free.
BMW charges for CarPlay, where other car manufacturers provide it at no additional cost. The lowly Kia Cee’d comes with it, and also supports Android Auto. BMW doesn’t support Android Auto at this time.
There’s no clear reason that BMW is charging for it; CarPlay doesn’t use servers at BMW or Apple. Apple licenses it to car manufacturers for free. It exists because the car manufacturers and their lousy navigation and in-car entertainment systems missed the opportunity to make user interfaces that worked with people’s phones that customers would want to use.
Instead, they charged absurdly expensive prices for map updates. Perhaps that’s why they’re charging for CarPlay: to replace the fees no one pays for map updates on DVD anymore.
Some BMW customers have expressed satisfaction with this plan, because it makes their costs lower if they plan to keep the car for only a few years. At the same time, it seems like a bad idea in terms of car safety, which CarPlay’s Siri Eyes-Free qualifies.