Mercedes-Benz reportedly thinks there are some new car buyers who’d rather pay a subscription for key features than pay for them outright.

    Auto Motor und Sport reports the company is implementing a subscription model for the rear-axle steering on its all-electric luxury flagship, the EQS.

    All EQS models will have the hardware included for the option to work, though to add it you’ll need to add the EQS’s parking package which includes a surround-view camera.

    The rear-axle steering subscription will cost €489 per year (A$781) or €1169 ($1868) for three years.

    Mercedes-Benz hasn’t confirmed pricing for the feature should you choose to pay for it outright, though on the S-Class it costs €1550 upfront (A$2477) along with €1130 (A$1806) for the parking package.

    As to whether Mercedes-Benz Australia could follow in offering a subscription model, a spokesperson for the local arm said, “There’s nothing to announce at this stage regarding a program like this.”

    The rear-axle steering subscription is booked via the owner’s Mercedes me account, and you’ll reportedly need to switch the car off for two minutes and turn it back on again. A notification will appear on the infotainment screen.

    The option allows the rear wheels to be turned up to a maximum of ten degrees, up from the standard 4.5 degrees.

    A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told Auto Motor und Sport there are no plans to roll out a subscription option for this same feature in the S-Class.

    “The rear axle steering with 10 degrees is not possible if the car is equipped with mixed tires,” the spokesperson told the German outlet.

    “This option is available for the S-Class, so a remote-controlled update is not available. We don’t offer the EQS with mixed tires, so it’s not a problem here.”

    Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first company to make features available via subscription.

    In Europe, certain BMW owners can add adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam via the ConnectedDrive app store.

    Tesla is arguably a pioneer in in-car over-the-air updates, and most recently has introduced a subscription model in the US for its so-called Full Self Driving.

    Volkswagen has also indicated its upcoming Trinity flagship sedan could offer the option of paying for autonomous driving features by the hour.

    The Mercedes-Benz EQS will arrive locally in December 2021, though local pricing and specifications have yet to be revealed.

    We do know two EQS models will be offered at launch: the EQS 450+ and the EQS 580.

    Both feature a 107.8kWh lithium-ion battery beneath the floor, with claimed range of up to 770km on the tougher WLTP test cycle.

    The EQS 450+ is rear-wheel drive, with 245kW of power and 568Nm of torque. The 100km/h sprint takes 6.2 seconds, and flat out you’ll be doing 210km/h.

    The EQS 580 4Matic is all-wheel drive, with motors on both axles capable of adapting their torque outputs 10,000 times per minute for better grip, efficiency, or performance.

    It has 385kW of power and 855Nm of torque, and completes the 100km/h sprint in 4.3 seconds.

    A higher-performance version will be offered after launch, complete with 580kW of power.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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