BMW first to sell CarPlay as standalone service

BMW buyers will now have the option to get CarPlay installed in their new rides. But for a cost. BMW is charging $300 to add the service to new vehicles making the German auto maker the first to charge buyers for access to CarPlay.

This sits as a starch difference from other manufacturers which either include CarPlay as a standard feature or bundle it in a technology package. BMW is selling CarPlay as a standalone service throughout its model line. Even buyers of the $138,000 Alpina B7 xDrive will need to decide to spend $300 to get access to Apple’s alternative infotainment system.

When buying a Porsche CarPlay is included in the Porsche Connect package, which also gives owners the ability to control and monitor their vehicle from a smartphone app. In GM vehicles, CarPlay is included in most of the infotainment packages. Ford and Mercedes and Honda and Audi and VW offers it in a similar fashion. None of the models listed on Apple’s official list of CarPlay vehicles charge for just CarPlay.

However, when buying a BMW off a lot, there’s a good chance buyers will drive away with CarPlay already installed. The service will likely be installed in the vehicle when shipped from the factory and the price already included in the invoice.

Is CarPlay worth $300? I’ve spent a good amount of time living with the service and I wouldn’t spend the extra cash just for it. At times CarPlay is useful, but other times, like when trying to use navigation while listening to Spotify, it’s disappointing. Like other Apple services it will likely improve over time, but right now, more than halfway through 2016, CarPlay is not perfect.