Fleet News

Turbodiesel demand may hit UK supplies of new BMW X5

UNPRECEDENTED demand for BMW turbodiesel cars is posing a threat to British supplies of the German company's bold new sport utility vehicle. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, the breakthrough off-road model is due to reach UK showrooms in June 2000, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

But the availability of heavy-oil versions could be limited, warned a BMW UK spokesman. As well as a 3.0-litre direct injection diesel engine there will also be six-cylinder and eight-cylinder petrol engines from the BMW 5 and 7-series. The spokesman said: 'We'd be surprised if turbodiesel versions were freely available - demand for the 3.0 engine in 5-series saloons and estates has been tremendous. Customers are waiting for these in France, Italy and Germany.'

Built in America, the X5 is claimed to offer sports car handling with off-road ability. The X5 is expected to cost from £30,000. Despite already having the Freelander, Defender, Discovery and Range Rover in its stable through subsidiary Rover, BMW claims there is room in the sector for another vehicle.

Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, a member of the BMW AG's board of management, said: 'For those who truly want to go off-road the BMW Group offers easily the best 4x4 - the Land Rover. For the rest of the customers who use their SUV primarily on-road, we decided to create a new category of vehicle; the sport activity vehicle.'

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