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Oct 20, 2020
Comfort Access is one of those features that really seems to polarize opinions. On the one hand, you've got the people who have used it, and now claim that they'd never buy a car without it, they can't even figure out how to use their partner's car, their eyes are finally open etc. etc. On the other hand, you've got the people who've never had a BMW with Comfort Access, and vehemently deny that keyless entry to your car could ever be worth paying extra for. But what would they know, eh?
BMW's Comfort Access feature is sometimes known as keyless entry, but that's a bit of a misnomer. Locking and unlocking your vehicle with Comfort Access still relies on your BMW key fob. What it doesn't rely on, however, is touching the key. It can more accurately be described as a smart opener, or an automatic unlocker.
With Comfort Access, sensors built into your BMW are able to remotely recognize your key fob at a range of up to 5 feet. If the fob is detected, your vehicle will unlock as soon as you grab the handle. Unlocking is as simple as touching the top of the handle after exiting your car. In both cases, BMW Comfort Access cuts out the step of having to press the lock/unlock button on your fob.
Once inside your BMW, you’ll also be able to start the engine by pressing the start/stop button, without having to put the key or fob into the ignition.
Locking and unlocking your BMW without touching your key obviously adds convenience, but just how much convenience might depend on your vehicle. BMW has offered Comfort Access as an optional add-on across most of its range for over a decade. Not all Comfort Accesses are born equal, though.
Unlike the X5 or 5 Series, for example, which offers touch-activated handles on the front and rear doors, Comfort Access in the F30 3 Series only includes handles for the front doors. A high quality aftermarket Comfort Access kit for BMWs can include touch unlock handles for your vehicle’s front and rear doors even in models that don’t offer this possibility from the factory, though.
If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle, or a vehicle you’re interested in buying, has Comfort Access, it’s easy to check whether a BMW supports keyless entry.
If your car or the one you’re considering buying doesn’t include Comfort Access, all is not lost. It’s possible to add keyless entry in your BMW, either with OEM components or by retrofitting a high-quality aftermarket Comfort Access kit. BimmerTech’s Comfort Access kit for F Series BMWs (including F30, F10, F15, F25 and more) brings the convenience of smart unlocking doors to vehicles that missed out from the factory.
Comfort Access includes several safety features to protect your BMW.
Every BMW key fob is unique, and must be paired with your vehicle before using Comfort Access. That means only somebody holding one of your approved key fobs will be able to access your car. When replacing your BMW key fob, it's important to use a BMW-sourced key fob compatible with Comfort Access, and to pair it with your car before use. The factory Comfort Access system is also able to identify whether or not your key is inside or outside your BMW. This makes it possible to lock the doors with yourself inside the car. Nobody will then be able to unlock the doors from the outside by touching the door handle — unless they have a fob of their own, of course.
In some ways, using Comfort Access may even be safer than a more traditional remote unlock. The 5ft range of the Comfort Access sensor means you car will only be unlocked with you and your BMW key fob immediately next to it. A typical remote key fob, on the other hand, can operate from 30ft or more away, increasing the risk of your vehicle being unlocked when you aren't by its side.
What about more than just doors, though? Unlocking your BMW's doors without the key is convenient, but when you really need Comfort Access is when your hands are full. In that case, you're probably loading up the trunk, not opening the driver or passenger doors.
The factory Comfort Access option from BMW comes with the 'kick feature', the sensor fitted under the rear bumper that lets you open up the trunk by waving your foot under your car. Or lets you look a fool if you haven't quite perfected the technique yet and the trunk doesn't open. Both factory and premium aftermarket kits, such as BimmerTech's, also include an antenna in the trunk that extends keyless unlocking from your BMW's doors to the trunk. Just grab the trunk handle with your key fob close by and the trunk lid will unlock.
Opening and closing the tailgate with your hands isn't really in keeping with the spirit of convenience that drew you to Comfort Access in the first place, though. Surely it would be better if your BMW could handle all that pesky trunk stuff by itself?
As luck would have it, BMW's heard your cries. The automatic tailgate option features an electric motor that lifts and lowers the trunk lid smoothly and safely. Just unlock your trunk as normal — with the trunk release button on your BMW key fob, with the button on the dashboard or with Comfort Access — and the tailgate will raise fully, making it easy to load up your car. When you're done, press the button in the trunk lid and it will lower slowly. As long as your trunk isn't overloaded, of course; in that case, anti-pinch technology means the tailgate will sense any obstructions and stop closing.
If your BMW didn't come with an automatic tailgate from the factory, BimmerTech's Power Trunk Retrofit adds much of the same functionality to your vehicle. Out kit is designed to integrate perfectly with the factory BMW equipment, for seamless operation. You can even install it yourself following our simple DIY instructions.
The upgrade lets you open and close your BMW's tailgate with your choice of trunk release button, and even integrates with your factory or retrofit keyless entry system. It's the kind of convenience that was made to go with Comfort Access. And like Comfort Access, anybody who's had it, "gets it". And those who haven't had it yet? Well, they don't know what they're missing.
It may not be a comfort feature, but it's undoubtedly one every cautious BMW owner should know. BMW Valet Parking mode lets you lock your trunk separately from the doors, preventing attendants from getting full access to the valuable belongings that stay inside your car.
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