In-Car Tech

Apple WWDC: Phone-as-key coming to BMW 5 Series, other ​brands likely to follow

Apple has introduced a number of technologies and refreshed our notion of others as part of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Photo courtesy of BMW

UPDATE: This article was updated at 4:15 pm. ET on June 22, 2020 to include additional information supplied by the automaker.

During their keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple revealed that the BMW 5 Series will be getting phone-as-key technology, called CarKey, for the 2021 model year. Additionally, BMW has said that the tech will be available on a board range of models that are manufacturers after July 1, 2020: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4. The system will be compatible with iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer, and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer models.

According to Apple, the technology uses near field communication (NFC) to open the car. Then, drivers will place their phone in the charging pad in order to start the vehicle.

Apple WWDC 14 BMW CarKeyTo use, drivers place their phone near the door handle.Photo courtesy of BMW

The digital key is stored in the Secure Element of the phone. It can be disabled via iCloud if a phone is lost and keys can be shared via iMessage.

Apple stresses that the company is working with industry groups to ensure that the technology is able to be universal for vehicles as well as secure.

The news came as Apple unveiled a variety of features as part of iOS 14. The phone-as-key functionality will be available on iOS 14 and Apple will be updating iOS 13 to make it available to users of that system as well.

This is a big step for Apple. Until iOS 14, the company had locked its NFC chip making phone-as-key functionality unusable to all but Tesla owners because Tesla uses Bluetooth technology to connect phone with vehicle. In the Tesla app, users do not have the ability to disable their phone-as-key functionality, instead having to contact Tesla Support to assistance.

Car owners can also share access to their car with up to five people via the car's operating system or Apple Wallet. Additionally, owners may set specific parameters for teen drivers including restrictions of top speed, horsepower, and maximum radio volume,

Lincoln and Hyundai are among the automakers using NFC technology in their vehicles giving owners the ability to forego a traditional key fob. Hyundai showed this technology off in its "Smaht Pahk" commercial during the Super Bowl this year and a subsequent follow-up spot where an owner passes a digital key to their parent so the parents can drive their car.

Apple WWDC 14 BMW CarKeyProximity plays a role in phone-as-key technology as the tech components have to be able to "read" each other's signals.Photo courtesy of BMW

CarKey can operate for up to five hours after an iPhone's batter is depleted to the point where the phone automatically turns off. The system is Apple Watch compatible.

The redesigned 2021 BMW 5 Series comes in seven variants. The revisions to the model bring it fully up to date without going so far as to give the 5 Series the same bucktoothed aesthetics that BMW put into the new 4 Series.

In addition to its new 5 Series, BMW recently showed off the new, next-gen plug-in hybrid variant of the SUV, the 2021 BMW xDrive45e. That new SUV comes with increased all-electric driving range, a significant horsepower bump, and a 7,200-pound towing capacity.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series will arrive on dealership lots in July.

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New electric SUV

The Genesis GV60 is on sale now

The GV60 is on sale in the U.S. now.

Genesis

Today, Genesis announced that its newest vehicle, the electric GV60, is on sale in the United States. The vehicle brings a load of new tech and innovations, and features the brand's distinctive, attractive styling.

The GV60 will be offered in two configurations in the United States. The GV60 Advanced AWD starts at $58,890 and features a facial unlocking system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and touchscreen, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. The GV60 Performance AWD starts at $67,890 and brings more power, leather upholstery, a massaging driver's seat, and more.

2023 Genesis GV60Buyers get three years of free charging. Genesis

The Advanced model comes with a 74-kW front and 160-kW rear electric motor for a total of 314 horsepower. A 77.4-kWh battery provides juice for the operation, and returns a range of 248 miles. The Performance AWD model features a 160-kW front and 160-kW rear motor for a combined 429 horsepower, with up to 483 ponies available with a temporary boost mode.

Genesis partnered with Electrify America to provide GV60 owners with three years of free 30-minute charging sessions. Owners can charge anywhere in the United States, and can locate charging stations using their vehicle's navigation system. The GV60 is also the first Genesis to feature Connected Care, which includes several connected services such as enhanced roadside assistance, an SOS emergency notification feature, vehicle health reports, and more.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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