Berlin - Germany's luxury carmakers are ending the year on a high note, with Mercedes-Benz challenging BMW for the crown as the world's leading premium brand.

On Monday the BMW brand posted its fifth consecutive year of rising monthly sales, with deliveries rising 5.9 percent to a record 177 740. This brought total year-to-date sales to 1 824 490, helped by growing demand for electric-powered vehicles, BMW said.

But sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles came in even higher, rising 12.7 percent to 182 602 in November compared with the same month year, its 45th month in a row of record sales growth.

Since the start of 2016, sales of vehicles bearing Mercedes-Benz's iconic three-pointed star have totalled 1 893 619, which is already higher than the sales for whole of 2015, the company said.

"This makes 2016 a new record year for Mercedes-Benz," said Mercedes Benz sales chief Ola Kaellenius on releasing the figures.

Despite also posting a solid gain in November, Audi sales data showed Volkswagen's luxury offshoot falling behind its BMW and Mercedes Benz rivals in the premium car league table. Audi's monthly sales were up 4.3 percent in November at 154 050 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. For the months between January and November the carmaker's sales totalled 1 713 900.

Mercedes-Benz also leads the local sales race, having moved 6808 vehicles in the last three months, versus BMW SA's 4952 total, according to aggregated figures released by Naamsa.