Following in the footsteps of other premium automotive manufacturers, BMW has put together a car subscription service that lets drivers pay a fixed monthly fee for access to a fleet of different luxury car options, which can be delivered and switched over on demand.

For US$2,000 a month, you can drive whatever you like from the "Legend" tier, which includes the 530e xDrive iPerformance, the 540i, the X5 xDrive 35i, the 440i coupe, the M2 coupe or the 440i convertible.

Jack it up to $3,700 per month and you've got your pick from M tier cars that include the M5 sedan, X5M and X6M SUVs and the M4 convertible. There's a joining fee of $575 for both tiers, which will be waived for the first 50 customers.

The $2,000 Legend tier price is about what you'd pay off a three-year loan on a $70,000 car each month. But all your maintenance costs, insurance and roadside cover is included and you get to grab something different, new and recently detailed any time you like.

Of course, the downside is that you don't end up with a car to sell or drive around at the end of it. And BMW might well ring you up and ask for the M5 back for servicing after a few weeks.

Access by BMW, as the scheme is called, is rolling out initially in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Depending on how that goes, you may see it rolling out in other locations in the coming months.

And if the location doesn't work for you, there's similar deals going for Porsches in Atlanta, Cadillacs in New York, Dallas and LA, and Audis in San Francisco, London, Munich, Hong Kong and Singapore, as manufacturers start exploring how luxury cars might work as a service instead of a product.

It's all part of the jiu-jitsu these premium manufacturers are trying to figure out that might help them stay afloat and relevant in a rapidly changing transport landscape. Electric self-driving car services – robocabs – will potentially be so cheap and convenient to use that the current model of car ownership is going to take a severe beating sometime in the next decade. Nobody quite knows what the place for premium cars will be when this switch happens, but on-demand access to beautiful, freshly detailed luxury cars under a system like this might be a good start.

Source: BMW USA

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