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BMW warms up third-gen X5 for 2013 release

Still number one: BMW’s X5 might have been unveiled in 2006, but it still reigns in the luxury SUV sales arena.

Top-selling BMW X5 still firing on all eight as current model enters home straight

8 Nov 2012

BMW Australia is on a countdown of about a year to its new-generation X5 – the most important SUV in its armoury.

The production version of the third generation of BMW’s large ‘sports activity vehicle’ has already been spotted testing at the Nurburgring and is expected to be unveiled about midyear before going into assembly at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, United States, in the second half of 2013.

The exact arrival date in Australia has not been locked in – probably late in 2013, although there is a chance it might slip out into 2014 – but the vehicle is so critical to BMW in this market that Australia is expected to be one of the earliest markets to get showroom stocks after the US.

The new model reportedly is loosely based on the 5 Series platform, cutting weight by up to 100kg and paving the way for better dynamics and improved fuel economy.

The X5 is BMW Australia’s second biggest seller, accounting for 2381 of the company’s 15,232 sales so far this year and trailing only the 3 Series sedan that has been given a complete makeover this year.

Despite its age (the current generation appeared in 2006), the X5 is still the top-selling luxury SUV in Australia, holding on to its lead despite an all-new M-Class from arch rival Mercedes-Benz arriving on the market this year.

With the related X6 adding a further 335 sales in the year to date, BMW has sold 2716 large luxury SUVs to Mercedes-Benz’s 2395.

With the smaller X1 and X3 models contributing more than 3000 sales between them, combined SUV sales at BMW in the first 10 months of 2012 have topped 6000 units – more than double Mercedes’ tally.

BMW Group Australia head of corporate communications Piers Scott described the X5 as “the backbone of the business for us”.

“I can’t stress enough how good a performer it is for us,” he said.

Despite entering its run-out year, X5 sales in 2012 are running 5.5 per cent up on the same period of 2011.

Sales of the mid-sized X3 are up 30 per cent, but the X1 is struggling, down 35 per cent.

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