Don’t overlook the appeal of a well-designed car key.
Keys have come a long way since the classic turn key I used to unlock my 1997 Subaru Forester.
Some automakers have ditched the classic key altogether for high-tech fobs, while others are giving classic keys an aesthetic upgrade.
Here are some of our favorites:
Business Insider’s Aaron Brown wrote a previous version of this article.
The BMW 7-series’ key has a full-color touch screen.
It’s only suiting that a car as high-tech as the BMW 7-series would come with a key fob to match it.
It comes with four buttons to lock and unlock the car, pop open the trunk, and panic. But it also comes with a full-color 2.2-inch touch screen that lets you swipe to see information like whether all the doors are locked and your current fuel range.
You can also use the key to control the climate in the car and toggle the lights. But by far the coolest part is that you can use it to park the car remotely.
Tesla’s Model S key can be used to summon the car.
Tesla’s key fob was actually designed to look like a mini Tesla Model S
In addition to locking and unlocking the car doors, the Tesla key can be used to tell the car to pull forward and backward, all from a semi-remote distance and without anyone inside of the car.
Koenigsegg’s shield fob looks like something a superhero would carry.
When locking and unlocking the doors of a Koenigsegg, you’ll need something that can make as big of a statement as the car itself.
Koenigsegg’s metal shield key doesn’t have any hugely crazy special features, but what it can give you is the sense of authority and a firm reminder that you drive an insane Swedish supercar.
If driving one of these insane supercars doesn’t give you the thrill or feel of power you were looking for, holding this awesome shield key fob just might.
This Ferrari key may not have any tech-savvy features, but the design is stunning.
First of all, it’s a key with some weight to it. It’s smooth and big enough that it’s enjoyable to hold without being too clunky. Its functional purpose is hidden on the back, where there are three buttons to lock and unlock the doors as well as pop open the trunk.
To start the car, you stick the key in the ignition and then press a separate button on the steering wheel. In that regard, the key really only has an aesthetic purpose. But hey, with the classic prancing horse and deep red color, it’s not something I would mind lugging around.
Unfortunately, the key only comes with older Ferrari models like the FF. Even Ferrari has given up the traditional key or a fob, but this one is still among our favorites.
If you can’t get your hands on an old-school Ferrari key, the fob is still worthy of attention.
Simply slip it into your pocket, and you can drive your Ferrari supercar off into the sunset. It’s simplistic, but the compact shape and Ferrari typography make this fob an instant classic.
The Bugatti Veyron top speed key is another one lacking any hitch-tech features. But, it makes our list for serving a very specific function.
The top speed key is aptly named because you have to put it in a slot to the left of the driver’s seat to reach the Veyron’s top speed of a whopping 253 mph. Without the key, you can still get the car up to a sweet 213 mph.
But toggling the top speed key will make the car’s rear spoilers retract and the front diffusers shut so it can that extra 50 mph.
Aston Martin’s key fob is topped off with a crystal.
Though it can only really handle the tasks of an average key fob, the aesthetics of this key make it much more special than most others out there.
Inserting this crystal key into the center of an Aston Martin’s dashboard never gets old.
McLaren’s key reminds you lightness is key.
If crystals aren’t really your thing, maybe lightweight carbon fiber is.
McLaren’s key has three buttons and is backed with a carbon fiber rear.
Because you can never have too much carbon fiber.
Maserati’s key flips out of a compact fob like a switch blade.
It’s a fob with the best of both worlds.
On one hand, it has this really neat, smooth packaging so it fits squarely in your palm. It also offers all of the traditional functions of a fob, like the ability to lock, unlock, and pop open the trunk of the car.
But on the other hand, in the fob is still a good ol’ fashion key that swings out.
It’s a fun mix of old and new.
Pagani’s aluminum key does more than just look good.
Though Porsche and Tesla have similar offerings, Pagani’s key fob is the one that truly stands out.
First, it’s the perfect cool looking desk ornament.
Second, it’s also a USB flash drive.
Third, it’s still a key.
How’s that for multi-functional?
Corvette has a great, matte black box of a key.
Most automakers stick to a rounded shape for their key fobs, but Corvette’s black box fits the vibe of the souped-up muscle car.
In addition to the typical fob functions, it also lets you remote start the car.
The Jaguar F-Pace Activity Key is the key to have if you hate using keys.
With the F-Pace’s Activity Key, by holding your wrist up to the Jaguar badge on the rear of the car, you can lock or unlock the vehicle. And it’s waterproof!
The Activity Key is available as a $400 option.
But if you hate car keys altogether, there’s good news: Volvo is going to start letting you use your smartphone instead.
Volvo is currently selling a Bluetooth-enabled digital key that lives on your smartphone. The key can be used to lock, unlock, or remotely start a car, but isn’t a full replacement for a key yet. Volvo hasn’t said when the app will fully replace the car key.