Mercedes wants to charge you $1,200 per year for faster acceleration

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Another luxury automaker is leaning into microtransactions, but the dollar amounts are anything but small.

Mercedes-Benz has started charging owners of its Mercedes-EQ EQE and Mercedes-EQ EQS electric cars $1,200 per year for faster acceleration of their vehicles. The feature does not require any sort of physical upgrade. The car is factory equipped with the capability of this 20-24% performance improvement, but Mercedes-Benz has locked it behind a pay wall.

Subscribers to the “Acceleration Increase” service will see their 0-60 mph acceleration speed up by 0.8 to 0.9 seconds. The EQE starts at $84,900 and the EQS begins at $104,400 before the annual upgrade charges.

The automaker is the latest in a growing line of car and truck manufacturers who are launching subscription-based services to protect revenues as buyers hang onto their vehicles for longer periods of time. Earlier this year, BMW began charging South Korean customers $18 a month for heated seats, $10 per month for a heated steering wheel and $8 per month for high-beam-assist headlights, a driver safety feature.

While automakers seem eager to make these subscription packages a part of the car-buying process, consumers (so far) have been vocally opposed to them. An April study from Cox Automotive found that three-quarters of consumers said they were not willing to pay an annual or monthly subscription fee for most items on their new vehicle.

“Safety and comfort features should be part of the purchase price, they said overwhelmingly,” the study reports. “Specifically, 92% said heated and cooling seats should be part of the purchase price; 89% said remote start should be as well. Both items have been discussed by some automakers as subscription features. As for safety features, the response was almost as overwhelming; 89% said lane-keeping assist should be part of the price and 87% said automatic emergency braking should be too.”

BMW learned this first-hand in 2018, when it attempted to make Apple CarPlay into a subscription service (with an $80 per year price tag). It scuttled those plans after buyers pushed back.

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