Mercedes has sparked controversy by introducing a $1,200 (990) per-year subscription to unlock enhanced performance in its cars.

The yearly fee, which equates to $100 (82) per month, increases horsepower and torque ('turning power') for its EQ series of battery-powered electric vehicles.
With the subscription, the time taken to accelerate from 0-60mph is reduced by up to a one second, depending on the model.

It comes shortly after BMW offered a subscription service to turn on heated seats in its cars, with various pricing options
The subscription, called Acceleration Increase, is 'coming soon' solely for US and Canada customers according to Mercedes

It's available for Mercedes EQE models (starting from $74,000) and Mercedes EQS models (starting from $102,000), debuted last year.
'The feeling of driving your Mercedes-EQ is a new experience every day, particularly its powerful, immediate acceleration,' the firm says on its website.

'Acceleration Increase boosts this performance even further electronically increasing the motor's output also increases the torque significantly, giving you a faster 0-to-60mph time. Acceleration power you can feel.'

Increased torque will let drivers accelerate their vehicle 'noticeably faster and more powerfully', according to the firm.

Fine-tuning of the electric motors increases the maximum motor output (in kilowatts) by 20 per cent to 24 per cent, depending on the original output.
The subscription doesn't add to the car's physical hardware, but instead triggers a software update that unlocks capability in its electric motors.
This capability has already been built-in, so drivers are having to pay to access motor performance that their vehicle is already capable of.
It also suggests Mercedes has intentionally limited performance on its vehicles to sell it as an optional extra.

A Mercedes spokesperson said that the ability to retrofit special vehicle functions after the initial purchase is 'a useful way for customers to flexibly adapt their car and use certain functions only when they are really needed or desired'.

We are constantly reviewing our offer concept in order to react as flexibly and quickly as possible to our customers' needs,' the spokesperson said.
'The goal is to generally offer on-demand features ex-factory as well as in the shop both as a subscription model and as a lifetime product.'
The spokesperson added that Mercedes will be offering Acceleration Increase as a permanent feature at a price that's yet to be determined.
The feature has gone down badly with car fans, with one calling it 'madness'.

Taking to Twitter, one user said: 'So Mercedes is slowing down their cars on PURPOSE so that you can pay a monthly subscription to go faster??
What the heck, we have to stop this madness.'
Another added: 'Late-stage capitalism is going to have people paying a monthly fee to improve the performance of a car they already bought.'
According to a tech enthusiast and anonymous CEO of an auto dealer group, there's a larger trend across industries to create subscriptions.
With subscriptions, companies can be guaranteed a constant revenue source rather than a one-off payment upon purchase.

Another example in the automobile industry is BMW, which generated significant controversy earlier this year when it introduced a subscription for heated seats.

BMW's service charge 15 per month to turn on heated front seats, as well as an additional 10 per month to switch on the heated steering wheel.


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