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You No Longer Need A Key To Get In Your BMW

Technology / 17 Comments

Now the car will just "magically" open when you come near it.

Ever since the Tesla Model 3 was launched in 2017, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding its unique key arrangement. Instead of using a normal key fob like other Tesla models and most cars in general, the Model 3 replaces the key with a combination of a cellular phone and a backup NFC-enabled keycard. Other automakers clearly see the value of Tesla's innovation, and have formed an alliance to help eliminate key fobs. BMW is part of this alliance, and has just taken a step towards eliminating keys.

Last year, BMW expressed interest in getting rid of its signature key fobs. Now it seems the company has gone through with its plans, at least on one model. The all-new 2019 BMW X5 is fitted with the next generation of the company's Comfort Access system. The notes for dealership delivery training were shared on Bimmerpost, and describe how the new Comfort Access system operates. "When equipped, the vehicle is able to sense the key from a few feet away, and can automatically unlock and lock without having to touch the door handle. Upon approach, once the car recognizes the key, the ambient lighting and light carpet will come on, welcoming and guiding the driver to the door."

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The prompt goes on to say that the system can be turned on and off via the iDrive system, and "a spare keycard can be added to a vehicle when it's equipped with Comfort Access, which will enable the driver not to carry the key fob at all. Once paired, the keycard can be held up to NFC reader on the driver's door handle to unlock the car, and placed in the center console to start the engine. " It looks like the new X5 will still come with a key, but you can opt not to use it. This is a far cry from the i8 and 7 Series, which come with an optional $250 key with a built-in screen. Replacing a keycard is probably a lot cheaper than replacing BMW's display key for $1,000.