Do BMWs Have Remote Start? (And When Was It Added?)

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BMW’s are one of the most luxurious, high-performance brands on the market. They’re also expensive! So you might be wondering if they have remote start, and which models have it.

Remote start is a great feature that allows you to start your car from a distance, usually from inside your home or office.

This saves time and also makes it more comfortable to start your car on cold days by warming the interior before you get in.

So, do BMWs have remote start?

Remote start is a standard feature on many new BMWs sold in the North American market, but is not so common in Europe thanks to regional legislation that prevents it.

BMWs have had remote engine start for a while now, but the feature isn’t available in every country. Europe in particular has been slow to adopt the technology thanks to more stringent environmental and insurance regulations.

But which BMWs have remote start, and how do you know if your BMW has the technology?

When did BMW add remote start?

Since 2019, remote start has been a feature on many BMWs sold in North America. It’s also possible to retrofit remote start to certain BMW models built in 2018.

It wasn’t until the launch of iDrive 7 that BMW started offering remote engine start.

Along with many other technological advances such as Apple CarPlay, BMW iDrive 7 has the inbuilt function that enables the car’s owner to activate the ignition remotely, which allows you to start the engine from a distance.

BMW G30 M5
Remote start was added to BMW models in 2019

Do all BMWs have remote start?

Remote start is not available on all BMWs from the factory and is only available in a limited number of countries.

If your BMW isn’t fitted with remote start it takes an extra step to add it, but it can now be easily downloaded from the ConnectedDrive Store if your car is compatible.

If your car doesn’t currently have remote start and is a 2018 model or newer, it’s likely you’ll be able to add it. However, there are certain older models (such as the 1 and 2 Series) that are not compatible with the software.

The majority of pre-2018 models did not come with remote start from the factory and it’s not possible to retrofit it to cars which are incompatible.

Do new BMWs have remote start?

Remote start is now available on most new BMWs, but it’s an extra feature that you’ll have to pay for.

BMW has taken consumer demand seriously and is now building the remote start capability into the majority of its new models.

As is the way with a lot of new in-car tech, remote start is a paid option that can be activated by BMW when purchasing the car or later as an upgrade.

Thankfully it’s only a one-off cost rather than a recurring subscription, as some other features are.

How do I know if my BMW has remote start?

You can look up whether the remote start feature appears in the settings of the iDrive menu under by selecting ‘Climate Comfort’ and then ‘Pre-conditioning and Ventilation’.

If it’s there, you’re just a click away from activating it. If not, you can check on the ConnectedDrive Store or speak with your local BMW dealership to see if it’s possible to add the feature.

Once activated, you can use your key fob, your BMW ConnectedDrive app, or a BMW display key to start your vehicle from a distance and make it nice and toasty inside before you set off, or cool it down if it’s the height of summer.

If you’re using the app you can start it from anywhere, but if you’re using a key you’ll need to be within range.

Is BMW remote start an important feature?

If you’re considering buying a BMW that already has the remote function built in, then there isn’t much reason to go for one without it.

It offers a convenient way to start your car without having to walk outside or fumble for your keys if it’s cold and raining. The technology is a nice luxury addition to have, but certainly isn’t a must unless you really want it.

BMW G05 interior
Remote start can help to cool or warm the car

It isn’t going to be useful all the time and doesn’t make much of a difference when starting the vehicle at a normal temperature.

Is BMW remote start worth it?

It can cost in excess of $300 to add remote start to your BMW and whether that cost is justifiable will largely depend on your location.

If you live in an area that experiences extremely cold winters or excessively warm summers, you’ll find a lot of use for the feature. If not, it could be seen as an unnecessary cost.

If you’re thinking about buying a new BMW then it’s likely you’ll be weighing up the cost of the car itself, gas mileage, performance, comfort and any other features.

When rolled into the overall cost of buying a new car, paying a little extra for remote start doesn’t seem too expensive. But if you’re adding it as an aftermarket option, then it might be harder to swallow.

Whatever decision you make, you can rest assured that BMWs are still the cars to beat in the luxury market.

2 thoughts on “Do BMWs Have Remote Start? (And When Was It Added?)”

  1. I can’t believe BMW didn’t include remote start in all their vehicles. I have a 2014 BMW 428i that doesn’t have it and I have a friend who has a 2011 Buick and others with even older cars that it came with the remote start. Talk about BMW being a luxury car! Sucks if you have to pay extra to have it when the car costs enough to begin with! BMW should be embarrassed.

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