Fresh thinking: open your Mercedes from your phone with virtual smart key

Published: 03 July 2016

► The new way to unlock your Merc
► Smartphone tech replaces key
► The next level of keyless entry explained

What’s a virtual key?

Mercedes pioneered keyless entry with its credit-card keys on the W220 S-class almost 20 years ago. Now it’s devised a way of embedding an electronic keycode inside your smartphone’s SIM card. It’s the same tech used for cashless mobile payments and is expected to be a big hit with fleets and rental companies.

No more keys?

This is a Merc option that will literally empty your pockets… Mercedes-Benz vows it’s as safe as chaining your car to the garage floor, despite all the recent buzz around hacking cars. The security comes from the arrival of super-secure sim cards. 

But what if my battery dies?

Because the code is stored on the SIM, not the phone, you’ll still be able to get in. Once inside put your phone in an inductive charging cubby.

Any downsides?

A couple. One is that you have to physically touch the phone to the door handle, which feels like a backwards step. And it won’t work with iPhones because they don’t have the vital near field communication capability.

Coming soon?

It’s an option on the new E-class and its techfest cabin (below).

Inside the new Mercedes E-class cabin

Read more CAR tech news here

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker