BMW is forecasting that sales of the new X5 will exceed those of its predecessor.

The new model will have to compete much better with competitors such as the Porsche Cayenne or the Audi Q7.

"We are absolutely convinced that the we can exceed the excellent sales figures of the the predecessor," said company spokesperson, Maximilian Schöberl, to dpa-AFX news. He was speaking in Athens at the launch of the new model.

Schöberl would not give any precise figures but dpa-AFX notes that BMW sold 617,000 X5s between 1999 and September 2006.

BMW reportedly has particularly high hopes for the new X5 in the lucrative US market.