Genesis GV60 Arrives with Ultra Wideband Apple Car Key Support

Car Key is no longer exclusive to BMW, and Hyundai is getting the more useful version with new features.
2023 Genesis GV60 Credit: Genesis
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Hyundai’s luxurious Genesis GV60 has just become the second vehicle to arrive with support for the much-improved Car Key capabilities in iOS 15.

Now available for orders in the U.S., the GV60 is the first electric vehicle in the Genesis family, following on the heels of the G80 hybrid. Along with lots of other cool technology, this new EV also packs in the same Ultra Wideband Car Key support that’s been exclusive to BMW’s 2022 iX until now.

We first heard in January that Car Key was slated to expand to Hyundai’s Genesis lineup this year. By March, we knew which vehicles would be getting it, thanks to a quiet update to Apple’s CarPlay page, where a handful of new Genesis and Kia vehicles began sporting a “Car Key” icon.

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What we didn’t know until now was whether these Genesis and Kia vehicles would be embracing the new Ultra-Wideband (UWB) version of Car Key or whether they’d be limited to the original NFC-based implementation.

When Apple launched Car Key nearly three years ago in iOS 13.6, not only was it exclusive to BMW vehicles, but it relied on Near Field Communications (NFC), the same technology that powers features like Apple Pay.

In practical terms, this meant that using Car Key required that you hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near your car door to unlock it. Starting your BMW also requires placing your iPhone in a specific position on the console.

This may have been cool technology in concept, but this was hardly an improvement over using the wireless key fob already included with every BMW. At best, the only real benefit to Car Key was an easy way of sharing your car keys with other friends and family members since you can send out a temporary Car Key to someone else via iMessage that they can then use from their own iPhone.

Fortunately, BMW promised to improve this with Digital Key Plus, which would use UWB instead of NFC, allowing for a more seamless unlocking and driving experience. Unfortunately, it’s been slow to roll this more flexible version out to its vehicles, with only the all-electric BMW iX getting it this year. Hopefully, the German automaker’s 2023 lineup will bring it to more vehicles.

The good news for Genesis fans is that Car Key is no longer exclusive to BMW, and the GV60 is getting the far more useful version.

How It Works

According to the carmaker’s press release, Genesis Digital Key 2 will let drivers automatically unlock their vehicle as they approach with their iPhone or Apple Watch. It will also naturally support all the other great features of Car Key, such as sharing keys with controlled access via iMessage.

“Additionally, GV60 present’s Genesis Digital Key 2 with Ultra Wideband (UWB) compatibility. Using sensors positioned around the vehicle, UWB allows drivers to automatically unlock their vehicle as they approach, with only their compatible Apple iPhone, Apple Watch or Samsung phone. The Digital Keys are paired using Apple Wallet and Samsung Pass. The vehicle intelligently recognizes the driver and automatically authenticates them, loading their customized vehicle preferences. Genesis Digital Key 2 also allows the vehicle owner to share keys with others. For example, a driver with an Apple device may share their key with another via iMessage, and also revoke access to the vehicle with the click of a button.”

The catch is that since this relies on Ultra Wideband, it will only work with Apple devices with a U1 chip. That means you’ll need an iPhone 11, iPhone 12, or iPhone 13, or an Apple Watch Series 6 or later to take advantage of it. At least now we know why Apple snuck a U1 chip into the Apple Watch.

The lack of any mention of Car Key over NFC suggests that this will use UWB exclusively, which means folks with non-U1-capable iPhones need not apply.

It Won’t Come Cheap

Not surprisingly, with an MSRP of $58,890, the Genesis GV60 isn’t exactly the most affordable car to begin with. However, you’ll have to pay even more if you want Apple Car Key support.

Genesis Digital Key 2 is only available on the 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD package, which starts at $67,890.

Of course, you’ll get a lot more for that price than just Apple Car Key support. It also packs in a more powerful 160kW 429HP front electric motor, kappa leather seating, an Ergo Motion massaging driver’s seat, and 21-inch wheels.

Apple Car Key won’t be the only high-tech way to get into the GV60. Genesis is also adding facial recognition and fingerprint authentication. In other words, this vehicle has Genesis’ version of Face ID.

The carmaker says you’ll be able to unlock or lock the doors just by touching the door handle and looking at the camera on the B-pillar. The feature, called Face Connect, can also link to the individual driver profiles so that the car recognizes you as soon as you get in, adjusting the Head-Up-Display (HUD), seat, steering wheel, side mirrors, and multimedia settings based on the person sitting in the driver’s seat.

Hyundai is also expected to include Car Key capabilities on the Genesis G90 and Kia Niro, although there’s no word yet on when or how that will be coming to those vehicles.

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