BMW operating profit jumps 17 percent

German luxury carmaker BMW said its third-quarter operating profit rose 17 percent, ahead of forecasts.

BMW i3
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
BMW i3

Quarterly earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at 2.26 billion euros ($2.82 billion), BMW said on Tuesday, well ahead of the 2 billion euros forecast in a Reuters poll.

Auto sales rose 6.9 percent in the quarter, lifting BMW's automotive EBIT margin to 9.4 percent, higher than the 8.6 percent achieved by rival Mercedes-Benz Cars or the 9.2 percent seen at Audi.

Between January and September, sales of new sportscars improved in all regions, including Europe, Asia and the United States.

Sales of new models like the X5 sports utility vehicle helped BMW keep sales incentives down, keeping BMW's auto EBIT margin at the upper end the company's target of between 8 and 10 percent.