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  • Abbie Jones

The History of BMW Keys

bmw car and car key

BMW is one of the world's leading premium manufacturers of cars and motorcycles, also providing premium financial and mobility services. In 2022, BMW sold nearly 2.4 million cars and more than 202,000 motorcycles worldwide, as they are one of the most luxurious vehicle brands. They are also known for how they revolutionised car keys with cutting-edge technology, so we're going to take a little trip down memory lane and dive into the history of BMW car keys!

1960s and 1970s

In the 1960s and 1970s, BMW designed a car key that stood out from other manufacturers' keys, by having a visible logo, an embedded key ring, as well as a plastic case, looking very similar to the key fobs that the majority of people have today.


The 1980s was when BMW integrated remote locking and unlocking into their car models, which was a relatively new type of technology that made BMW stand out from other car brands. The standard metal car key remained to start the ignition, but a plastic fob with buttons controlled the locking and unlocking mechanisms of the car, revolutionising the game for car key manufacturers.


The 1990s saw a massive breakthrough for BMW car keys as they introduced immobilisers. The immobiliser system was where a driver could manually input a code when leaving the car, and then entering that same code when wanting to start the car up again. BMW's introduction with the immobiliser was a major advancement in car security and contributed towards the key fob system that is used for today's cars.

In the mid 1990s after Mercedes produced the first official key fob, BMW quickly followed in their footsteps and made their own key fobs, the BMW E65 7 Series. The key fob had internal electronic control that offered security enhancements, as well as allowing the driver to get the car started by pushing a button.


In 2002, BMW invented their Comfort Access System, which was a keyless entry system for a car, which has been available as an option in nearly every model since the invention. The Comfort Access System is able to detect when the driver is approaching and unlocks the doors automatically without the driver needing to do anything. The engine could then be started by pressing a button.

Present Day BMW Car Keys

F Series and 7 Series

Today, BMW's F Series and 7 Series still use their Comfort Access System for their car keys, meaning that drivers just need to be in close proximity to their car for the doors to unlock and the engine to start. The key fob can also control a car's windows and open the boot.

Display Key

In 2015, BMW introduced their Display Key, which uses sensors to alert the driver about the distance of other objects and cars to the vehicle, helping to prevent any accidents. It also allows you to check the fuel range of the car, monitor upcoming service requirements, and being able to schedule air conditioning in the vehicle.

Digital Key

BMW's more recent development is their Digital Key, which uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to essentially turn a smartphone into a virtual car key, enabling contactless access for a BMW car, and eliminating the need for a physical car key, increasing the layer of security for a car, as there is no risk of car keys being stolen, lost, or damaged.


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