Is there a BMW X3 rear-view camera theft epidemic?

After SUV's rear-view camera is stolen during the night, a reader wonders if it's worth getting a replacement...

BMW X3 2021 rear left studio

I live in London and came out of my house one morning recently to find that the rear-view camera of my 2018 BMW X3 had been stolen. The camera is located in the boot release recess; the thief had removed it and its surround.

I called BMW customer services, but they said there was nothing they could do but feed back to their product team. They suggested that I claim on my car insurance to get the camera replaced.

My local BMW dealer has quoted £900-£1000 to replace the camera, but I don’t think I’ll have it done, because it could just be stolen again. Instead, I’m going to have a plastic panel fitted over the hole; this will cost £133 and stop water from getting into the wiring. 

BMW X3 camera cover

While the car was in the dealership for servicing, staff there told me it was one of 16 they’d seen with a stolen rear-view camera in the previous six weeks. Clearly, the X3 is vulnerable, and you don’t expect this from a car costing nearly £48,000. Do you know if BMW is doing anything about the issue?

Jon Cook

What Car? says…

When contacted, BMW told us this was the first time it had heard about a new X3’s rear-view camera being stolen. 

“The position of the reversing camera on a BMW is no more susceptible to theft than comparable cars of other brands,” the firm said. “The camera is also discreetly positioned and out of regular sight.” 

However, the fact that there have been a number of cases in Jon’s locality suggests it’s something thieves have cottoned on to. Indeed, there’s a wide selection of used X3 rear-view cameras for sale online, suggesting high demand. 

We agree the design of the X3’s rear-view camera is a weakness and something BMW should consider when the car is updated.

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The best are also easy to drive, combining a calm ride with tidy handling and a lofty driving position with user-friendly controls. But with so many models to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start, so here we're counting down our top 10 – and we've named the large SUV to avoid, too.

If any of these take your fancy, just click on the relevant link to find out more or see how much of a discount you could get by using What Car?'s New Car Buying service.

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The Tarraco is Seat's largest SUV, and follows on from the smaller Arona and Ateca – both of which are very well regarded in their respective classes. Fortunately, there's plenty to like about the Tarraco too, with composed handling, a smooth 2.0-litre diesel engine and lots of equipment. It's not as practical as some other cars in this list, though.

Tiguan Allspace

Take the regular Volkswagen Tiguan, add some more space and two extra seats, and hey presto, you've made the Tiguan Allspace. Its high-quality interior and flexible seating are impressive, and it's good to drive.

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8. Volvo XC60


Volvo used to be very much a step down from the models of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, both in terms of price and ability, but no longer. The latest XC60 is comfortable, well equipped and has a high-quality interior, plus it won the 2018 What Car? Safety Award, having performed brilliantly when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP.

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Next: more of our favourite large SUVs >

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