THE official UK launch of BMW's upmarket X5 sports utility vehicle has been delayed by five months because of its success in left-hand-drive markets. Built in South Carolina, USA, the new off-roader has been on sale in America and Europe since May, and demand has been outstripping supply to the extent that the German manufacturer has announced it is to invest another £180 million in the plant to speed up production. Current annual capacity is about 50,000 units.
The boost comes too late to ensure summer arrival in the UK but BMW is confident it will have eight-cylinder petrol-engined RHD stock available by the British International Motor Show at Birmingham NEC in October.
Six-cylinder petrol models may filter in by the end of the year, but direct injection turbodiesel versions are not expected before early 2001. The range is likely to be priced similarly to 5-series Touring models - from about £30,000 to £45,000.