BMW X is All Grown Up: 15 Years to the Super SUV Segment

Fifteen years ago, BMW introduced the X5 to the world as the first ever Sports Utility Vehicle. The introduction of the BMW X5 in 1999 laid the foundation of BMW’s most successful X series on automotive markets all over the world. In the mid 1980s, the automaker first used X to designate its all four-wheel drive cars, which later in 1999 got associated with its first SUV model.

BMW’s series now comprises of five BMW X automobiles which are complemented by the two four-wheel drive high-performance sports cars under BMW M series, the BMW X5 M and the BMW X6 M. The most popular of all is the X5 which is now in its third generation and is updated every 7 years.

Billed as a ‘Sports Activity Vehicle,’ the BMW X5 was the first of the automaker’s SUV and its crossover lineup now includes the compact X1 and X3 as well as the new X4 and second-generation X6 ‘Sport Activity Coupes’. The upcoming BMW X7 will complete the automaker’s SUV lineup as a full-size model.


Another successful X model is the BMW X1, offered with both a rear-wheel drive and xDrive configuration. The BMW X7 (codename G07), an exceptionally large and luxurious model, is under development and will be launched in the late 2018. While not confirmed, recent rumors pointed out that BMW X2 will also debut with the X7.


More than 640,000 X1 models have been sold worldwide since its introduction. The second-generation BMW X3 arrived in 2010 and got a refresh for 2015, while the BMW X4 arrived in 2014. For 2014 and 2015, BMW introduced the third-generation X5 and second-generation X6 models, respectively.


According to the company, the innovative combination of traction, dynamics and comfort that characterised the first-generation BMW X5 was in overwhelming demand not only in the USA, but also in Europe and other markets. By the middle of 2005, the 500,000th BMW X5 had rolled off the assembly line, with a total of almost 620,000 units of the first Sports Activity Vehicle being built at the BMW Spartanburg plant. Today, the production location in the US Federal State of South Carolina is the competence centre for BMW X models. The current model generations of the BMW X5, BMW X6, BMW X3 as well as the BMW X4 are produced there. Also, the BMW X5 M and the BMW X6 M are ‘born in the USA’.

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