Automotive: Hackers want to unlock BMW seat heating & Co

Automotive: Hackers want to unlock BMW seat heating & Co


from Claus Ludewig
The coding company Bimmer Tech has announced that it wants to activate the subscription-based seat heating for newer BMW models.

In order to be able to generate income in the lucrative aftersales area, more and more car manufacturers are relying on subscription models. The German premium brands Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche are already pushing ahead. BMW already sells seat heating either as a subscription or permanently activated. In addition to the subscription for 17 euros per month, you can also activate the seat heating unlimitedly for 385 euros, if the previous owner bought the preparation. One Hacker group would like to take over the activation as cheaply as possible in the future.

Seat heating subscription is linked to BMW user account and VIN

the Coding company Bimmer Tech has stated that they are already looking at ways to enable the desired features for their customers. So far, the company has already offered a number of infotainment conversions and activations on Ebay, Etsy and in various forums. The compulsory binding of the activation codes to a user account at BMW and to the VIN could prove to be a challenge. Finally, there is a maximum number of different vehicles that can be registered per account. In order to be able to use the features, the user must log in with their BMW ID when starting the vehicle or this is done when unlocking with the correctly coded vehicle key.

With the new versions of the BMW X1 and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the automaker is testing – in some countries – a new sales model for special equipment. The prerequisite is a car with the Linux distribution BMW Operating System 8.0, which will gradually find its way into all new BMW vehicles and is manufactured by BMW Car IT GmbH in cooperation with suppliers such as Garmin. According to the price list from July 2022, there will be preparations for seat heating and steering wheel heating for both vehicle models built at the end of 2022. For example, there is the 2er Active Tourer for a surcharge the “preparation for seat heating for driver/passenger” (equipment code 9QT), whereby BMW writes “Activation in the BMW shop on the Internet, via the My BMW app or in your vehicle is possible later for a fee”. Alternatively, it is still possible to buy the seat heating manually for 350 euros with the equipment code 494. In addition to the seat heating, BMW also offers a steering wheel heating subscription, whereby customers in Austria have to pay more than in Germany. In addition to BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz also offer various optional extras as features on demand. In the future, Ford, the VW Group and Stellantis with the German brand Opel will also jump on the bandwagon with features on demand. Incidentally, you can also buy old-school accessories. All sorts of car accessories can be bought at Amazon without a user account with the car manufacturer.

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Also worth reading: Future cars with “subscription hell”: heated seats at BMW just the beginning

Collection for unlocking car features via subscription:

  • BMW already sells seat heating – in certain models – either as a subscription or permanently activated.
  • Coding company Bimmer Tech has said it is looking into ways to unlock features on demand cheaply.
  • At BMW, the subsequent activation is bound to a user account and the VIN. In order to be able to use the features, the user must log in with their BMW ID when starting the vehicle or this is done when unlocking with the correctly coded vehicle key.
  • The BMW X1 and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, each from year of manufacture at the end of 2022 in conjunction with BMW Operating System 8.0, allow special equipment to be activated later.

Sources: golem, bmw

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