The Audi Q5 retained its title of Australia’s most popular luxury SUV but it was another narrow margin of victory.

Audi Q5 dynamic downhill

Audi’s mid-sized SUV grew only 1 per cent year on year to 2830 sales but it was sufficient to thwart the challenge of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz ML, which placed third behind the static BMW X5 (up just 8 sales to 2778) with a 33 per cent jump to 2729.

An upgraded Q5 that arrived in December 2012 should give the Audi a fresh shot at the No.1 position for 2013.

Audi’s newest SUV, the compact Q3 that launched in early 2012, also proved to be a winner for the company with a 43 per cent growth (to 1472 sales) coming at the expense of the rival BMW X1 (down 35 per cent to 1464).

BMW’s SUV sales went backwards slightly by four per cent to 7157 units for the year, allowing Land Rover to claim Top Luxury SUV Brand status with 7840 sales.

Many Land Rover models had negative results for 2012, but it was a storming year for the head-turning Evoque (pictured above) with 2496 sales.

That number was just four sales short of the BMW X3 (below) that was the Munich brand’s second best performer - after the X6 (up 19 and 21 per cent respectively) – and runner up to the Q5 in the mid-sized luxury SUV category.

BMW turned the tables on Audi in the large luxury SUV segment, with the formidable X5 taking top spot despite less than half a per cent of growth but facing tough competition from the ML and Lexus RX (up 23 per cent to 2169).

Audi placed third for overall luxury SUV sales (up 34 per cent to 5554), though while Mercedes-Benz increased SUV sales by 17 per cent to 3298 it won’t be in a position to match its arch enemies from Germany until the arrival of the mid-sized next-generation GLK and all-new compact GLA - though neither has been launched yet.

Swedish brand Volvo surpassed Mercedes’ SUV total with 3740 units thanks to a healthy rise in sales of its mid-sized XC60 (up 38 per cent to 2179) and steady progress from the ageing XC90 large SUV (down 0.4 per cent to 1342).

 

Top 10 Luxury SUV sales – 2012

Audi Q5 2830

BMW X5 2778

Mercedes-Benz ML 2729

BMW X3 2500

Range Rover Evoque 2496

Volvo XC60 2179

Lexus RX 2169

Land Rover Discovery 1992

Range Rover Sport 1728

Audi Q3 1472