Gone in 10 seconds: Thieves able to drive-off in some of Britain’s most popular models in a matter of seconds 

By Author: admin, Date: Aug 08, 2019
  • Exclusive What Car? research shows some of the latest and most popular models with keyless entry can be broken into in just seconds
  • Security experts able to steal the new DS3 Crossback in just 10 seconds, while popular Discovery Sport could be driven away in 30 seconds
  • Some manufacturers starting to introduce keyless technology that can deactivate the signal from the car key, preventing thieves from snatching the signal
  • To read the full What Car? investigation, visit: whatcar.com
  • To see footage of the exclusive test, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE2Uxxtci-4&feature=youtu.be

Some of Britain’s newest and most popular cars are at risk of being stolen in a matter of seconds, because thieves are able to exploit weaknesses in their keyless entry and start systems, according to groundbreaking market intelligence from Britain’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform, What Car?.

An exclusive test by What Car? found the new DS3 Crossback Ultra Prestige could be unlocked and started in 10 seconds by thieves using specialist technology. The Audi TT RS could also be stolen in 10 seconds – although only when its optional keyless entry system was active and its motion sensor technology had not disabled the keyfob. The recently replaced Land Rover Discovery Sport could also be stolen in 30 seconds.

Car theft rates in England and Wales have reached an eight-year high, with more than 106,000 stolen last year alone. Vehicles fitted with keyless entry and start systems are being targeted by thieves. Criminals using specialist tools can capture a key’s signal and relay it to another device next to the car, allowing them to enter and start the vehicle.

What Car? tested seven different models, all fitted with keyless entry and start technology. Its security experts were able to break into a number of them within a matter of seconds.

Some new models on sale today feature technology that helps prevents keyless theft. Manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, have introduced motion detection technology inside their car keys – if the key is left untouched, it stops emitting a signal. However, if the key is in a pocket or handbag, and the owner is walking around, the car can still be vulnerable.

Jaguar Land Rover has taken a different approach, introducing ultra-wide-band radio technology on some of its latest models, which transmits a wide range of signals from the key, meaning thieves can’t lock onto the signal and fool the vehicle.

What Car?’s security experts couldn’t steal any vehicle with their keyfobs deactivated. However, this technology is not yet widely available.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “It is outrageous that some car makers have introduced keyless entry and start systems without making them anywhere near as secure as the traditional alternatives they’ve replaced.

“It is great news that a small number of brands are taking the problem of car theft seriously, but more needs to be done to improve security, particularly of desirable used models.“ The results of What Car?’s exclusive security test can be found below:

Audi TT RS RoadsterGet into carDrive Away
Advanced Key inactiveNot possibleNot possible
Advanced Key active5 seconds5 seconds
BMW X3 (2018)Get into carDrive Away
Digital Smart Key inactiveNot possibleNot possible
Digital Smart Key active40 seconds20 seconds
DS3 Crossback Ultra PrestigeGet into carDrive Away
Standard Key5 seconds5 seconds
Ford FiestaGet into carDrive Away
Sleeping key fob inactiveNot possibleNot possible
Sleeping key fob active40 seconds20 seconds
Land Rover DiscoveryGet into carDrive Away
Standard key20 secondsNot possible
Land Rover Discovery Sport (2018)Get into carDrive Away
Standard key10 seconds20 seconds