Best BMWs with reversing cameras

Fancy an upmarket BMW but are worried about damaging it when parking in tight spaces? Check out the best BMWs with reversing cameras

James Wilson
Jan 4, 2022

The lure of BMW has always been its reputation for producing desirable, yet practical, everyday cars for a reasonable price. BMWs lean towards the higher end of the market, though, with the great build quality and innovative technology German cars are known for, including advanced media systems and useful reversing cameras.

Of course, a reversing camera is an important addition for anyone with such a premium vehicle that frequently finds themself squeezing into tight parking spaces where parking sensors alone won’t cut it. A reversing camera will help you keep an eye on obstacles that might be easier for a parking sensor to miss, such as a low wall or bollard.

Reversing cameras have become so common nowadays that BMW offers them on everything from the compact 1 Series hatchback to its enormous X7 SUV. That said, not all the reversing camera systems are the same across the model range.

Some of BMW’s models include more advanced reverse camera features than others, so we thought it best to offer a guide to the different types available before you check out our list of the eight best BMWs with reversing cameras.

Best BMWs with reversing cameras

Common features of BMW reversing cameras

Like most reversing cameras, BMW's basic offering is a video stream of the area behind the car once you are in reverse gear. The view is shown on the media display on the dashboard including some superimposed graphics which help you manoeuvre while highlighting the direction of travel as you move the steering wheel.

On BMW’s larger and more expensive models, the system is slightly more advanced, offering a view to the sides and front of the car to generate a 360-degree bird’s eye view. This can come in particularly handy when navigating small multi-storey car parks.

If you dread the prospect of parking yourself anyway, some models even come with ‘BMW Park Assistant’, which is a sophisticated system that automatically finds a suitable parking space and allows the car to park itself into it without any input from the driver.

1. BMW 1 Series

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Aside from the electric BMW i3, the 1 Series is the smallest car in the German brand’s range. That is not to say it isn’t practical, as it comes with a 380-litre boot which is only one-litre less than a Volkswagen Golf, which is often considered as the benchmark for a practical car of this size. The 1 Series is also great fun to drive thanks to there being plenty of grip to nip around corners and a good choice of punchy petrol and diesel engines.

A reversing camera is optional across the entire range and can be specified individually or as part of a ‘Technology Pack’ which brings other features such as a head-up display (HUD). A HUD projects key driving information - such as your speed - onto the windscreen in front of the driver, reducing their need to look away from the road.


2. BMW 2 Series

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Although there are plenty of sports cars out there, not many can be classed as a direct rival to the BMW 2 Series. This is because the small German coupe is very enjoyable to drive - especially on country roads with 60mph speed limits - it has a plush cabin, seats for four passengers and is rear-wheel-drive for a sportier drive. For those who love the sun on their skin, there is also a convertible version. The Audi TT offers a similar package, but can’t match the 2 Series for driving thrills or passenger space.

BMW offers a reversing camera as an optional extra on all 2 Series models. Like the 1 Series, it comes as part of a Technology Pack, although the additional features included are slightly different. For example, adaptive cruise control that can brake the car automatically when a slower moving vehicle is detected ahead is included on the 2 Series but not the 1 Series.

As the 2 Series has been on sale since 2014 there is an excellent range of relatively affordable second-hand models available, including a good range of economical diesel-powered versions and sporty petrol-powered models. Be aware that if having a reversing camera is crucial to you and you're getting a used car, you'll need to check whether this optional extra was fitted to the specific models you're considering.


3. BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series front three quarters view

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For decades the BMW 3 Series has been one of the best medium saloon and estate cars. It is well built, looks sharp and has an engine and gearbox combination to suit most types of driver. The 2.0-litre diesel with an automatic gearbox is a great option for those who want a car that is very easy to drive, has enough power to overtake slow-moving traffic without fuss and also offers reasonable fuel economy.

Those wanting a reversing camera can go for any model made after 2018, as this is when the latest model was launched, with reversing cameras standard across the range. The latest version of the 3 Series has only been on sale for a few years but the model it replaced was on sale from 2012 to 2018 and was hugely popular, so there are loads of great second-hand models to choose from.

The previous-generation 3 Series is still an excellent car with some being fitted with ‘Surround View’ (which is also an option on new models). This system can show a bird’s-eye view of the car when manoeuvring, so can be very useful for those who need to reverse up or down tight driveways.


4. BMW 6 Series

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BMW no longer makes the 6 Series since it introduced the 8 Series. This was more of a rebranding exercise than anything else, as the 6 Series is a brilliant large and luxurious car. Pick of the range is the 640d model, which comes with a very powerful 3.0-litre diesel engine that is also claimed to be capable of over 50mpg. This figure is based on the older, less accurate test for calculating official fuel economy figures, but in the real world around 40mpg should still be achievable - a strong figure for such a big and fast machine.

A reversing camera was not standard on the 6 Series, although it was available across the entire range, as was the previously mentioned Surround View system. A reversing camera will likely prove invaluable when driving a 6 Series, as the low sleek body combined with a relatively low seating position does make parking more difficult than in many other cars. The 6 Series is also quite large, especially the Gran Coupe models, as these are longer due to having extra space and doors for rear passengers.


5. BMW X1

BMW X1 rear view

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The BMW X1 is an upmarket small SUV - a type of car that is proving to be hugely popular at the moment. This is partly due to the fact that SUVs are taller than standard hatchbacks, making them easier for some people to get in and out of, but this is only half the story. The extra height means that the driver has an improved view of the road ahead, however, it can make a car more difficult to manoeuvre, too, as more low-level obstacles can be hidden out of sight around the car.

Thankfully the entire range of X1 models is available with a reversing camera, although like many others on this list it comes as part of an optional Technology Pack. There are two to choose from but it is ‘Technology Pack 1’ which includes the parking camera. If a reversing camera is important to you, therefore, make sure that one is fitted to any specific models you're looking at.

Driving an X1 is a surprisingly enjoyable experience as it feels more like a regular car than an SUV, thanks to suspension that prevents the body of the car from rolling excessively when cornering. BMW has a reputation for making its normal cars feel sporty, and the X1 is no different. Yes, it's no sports car, but it does drive more sharply than a number of alternatives. 


6. BMW X2

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Strangely enough, one of the biggest rivals to the X2 is the X1. They are both built using many of the same parts - such as engines, seats and gearboxes - but the X2 leans more towards looking and feeling sporty to drive, whereas the X1 is more about practicality. That said, the X2 is still relatively practical and comfortable to drive on longer motorway journeys.

Reversing cameras are available across the range, although only as part of a ‘Technology Pack’ - as is the case with a number of other BMWs. Not only are the X1 and X2 very similar underneath their bodywork, but the Mini Countryman also uses many of the same components (as Mini is owned by BMW). As such, the Mini is a great alternative to both BMWs and is available with a petrol engine or a plug-in hybrid setup that features an electric motor, battery pack and petrol engine combo.


7. BMW X5

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Sitting near the top of the BMW SUV range is the X5. It is big, it is spacious and it very much lives up to its upmarket image. For example, BMW’s laser lights are an option and these quite literally use lasers to illuminate up to half a mile ahead of the driver (which is a significant improvement over more common types of lights, such as LEDs). Also, there is the option of soft-close doors, which quietly pull a door closed when it is almost shut - they are basically the car equivalent of slow-close kitchen cupboards, which adds to the feeling of luxury.

As for camera-based assistance, a reversing camera is available - either as part of a ‘Parking Assistant’ or ‘Parking Assistant Plus’ package. The latter includes a 360-degree camera and as the X5 is quite large it is a very useful addition. There is also something BMW calls 'Advanced Car Eye 2.0’.

This works like a dash-cam to automatically record the front and rear of the car in the event of disturbances such as a collision. It also works when the car is stationary, which should help catch dishonest road users who damage your car and head off without leaving a note.


8. BMW X7

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Driving an X7 is not for the faint-hearted as it is a bit of a beast - it's, quite simply, huge. However, for such a big car it is relatively fun to drive over twisty back roads. To help those who dare take to the helm of the gigantic X7, BMW includes ‘Parking Assistant Plus’ as standard. This includes a remote 3D view function where drivers can get a 360-degree video feed of their car straight to their smartphone. BMW claims this is useful for checking the area surrounding your vehicle when approaching it late at night.

Another handy feature of Parking Assistant Plus is that it can remember the last 50 metres of a route, so that it can retrace them if required (although the driver still controls the accelerator and brakes). Moving away from technology, the X7 is a seven-seater as standard and has plenty of space for adults in all of the seats. For family drivers, there are Isofix points on the outer middle and rearmost seats which is useful for securing child seats.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

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