Getting into Your BMW or Mini
Retrieving the Mechanical Key
For your BMW or Mini, press the button on the back of the remote control (or ‘clicker’) and pull the key ring end to remove the integrated key. The integrated or mechanical key can be used to unlock the driver’s door.
In 2014, BMW and Mini both added themselves to the list of manufacturers hiding the keyhole or lock cylinder, and introduced a new, slightly redesigned key fob. The button in this case, is on the side, as shown. Press it and pull the key ring end to remove the mechanical key.
The Mini key is rounder. The newest version, shown, has a button on the neck. Push it while pulling the key ring with your free hand to retrieve the mechanical key. On all other Mini key fobs, the button is simply on the back.
In 2015, in higher end models, BMW introduced a Display Key. The mechanical key is separate and should be carried in a wallet or purse! The Display Key itself can be recharged in the car (see the end of this page). If the Display Key goes dead and the mechanical key is not available, roadside assistance will be necessary.
Opening Your BMW
Hiding the key hole was introduced in the X5 model in 2014 and the X1 and the X6 SUVs have been added since. Insert the integrated key into the opening of the driver’s door handle indicated by the arrow in the image. Press upwards and remove the cover. The cover comes off onto the key itself, and quite easily. Unlock the door using the integrated key in the now exposed door lock.
Yes, the effect is that of pulling off a piece of your car, but it is necessary to get inside! The cover can be snapped back on, but the priority now is to simply get inside your car. Check out the video here for more help.
Starting 2015 in the 7-Series only, a new style hidden key hole a new removal process is featured. The directions from BMW are a little confusing, so do this carefully. It actually is quite simple.
It starts as a one-piece door handle (above) that must be pulled outward. With the handle pulled outward with your left hand, slip a finger from your right hand behind handle. Feel for a metallic release and push it outward. This will release the cap, which can be pulled away with the thumb and fingers of your right hand, exposing the key hole (right).
Again, you are removing a piece of your car. Its still ok!
Let go of the handle and use the mechanical key to unlock the door using the key cylinder now visible through the handle. Note that if you have a display key, the mechanical key is not integrated into the fob. It is supplied separately. Keep it with you at all times, or you will need roadside assistance.
A modified version of this was introduced in the 540i for the 2017 model year. The same metal clip is behind what is a smaller cap. The cap is the last bit of chrome at the back of the driver’s door handle and is roughly the same size as the clip, making it easier to feel for.
Like the 7-Series, pull the handle out and slip a finger from your other hand behind handle. Feel for the metallic clip and give it a push. In this case, the cap will practically fly off. You are still removing a piece of your car and its still ok! Let go of the handle and use the mechanical key to unlock the door using the key cylinder that is now visible through the handle.
Opening Your Mini
And finally, the Mini. Only the Cooper Hardtops are currently using this style, which is quite unique. A small oval-shaped cap at the rear of the handle must be removed to expose the key hole. Look for a small slot underneath the handle (arrow). Slip the mechanical key into the hole as far as it will go, which is about an inch. Nothing obvious happens, but the cap is now free to remove. Slip a fingernail anywhere in the groove and the cap will fall away. Yes, pulling off another piece of a car…
Now slip the key into the now exposed key hole and turn to unlock the car. Remove the key before pulling the handle. Pull the handle, and you’re in. There is a video here dedicated to this model.
Starting Your BMW or Mini
Some BMW and Mini models already require that the key fob be inserted into the dashboard next to the Start/Stop button. If the key fob battery is dead, the vehicle will recognize the fob when inserted. In “Comfort Access” models, the slot is only needed if the fob’s battery dies, or if electrical interference interrupts the fob’s signal. Insert the fob into the slot and use the Start/Stop button as normal.
For other BMW or Mini models, hold the remote control against the marked area on the steering column and press the Start/Stop button within 10 seconds while depressing the brake.
Note: If you have made an attempt to start the vehicle without success, there may be residual pressure in the brake system and a new warning light may appear (left) or text message to Step on the Brake. Press the brake pedal very, very hard when trying to start the vehicle again to be sure that the release switch behind the pedal is engaged. Check out this page for more!
Video Help with Your BMW or Mini
There are lots of videos here to help out.
Recharging the Display Key
In an automotive first, the Display Key (right) actually has a rechargeable battery. The display is automatically disabled when the charge is low, which is a major hint that the device needs to be recharged!
The car features a wireless cell phone charging station Inside the center console. There is also a bulge into which the Display Key can be slipped, with the lock button up and out. The Key is charged with a micro USB cable, a micro USB port on the Key (see the arrow on the Display Key) and the USB port at the back of the console.
Related: Getting Out!