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BMW Skytop Concept Makes Starry Debut

The BMW Skytop Concept | Photo: BMW
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    Daniel Rufiange
    There’s speculation we might see a limited-run production version of the Skytop concept - if BMW bosses green-light the project.

    •    BMW has unveiled the Skytop concept at the Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance in Italy.

    Concours d'Elegance are often ideal venues for manufacturers to unveil prestigious models, unique concepts, sketches of future vehicles and more.

    In North America, the big one happens in August when Monterey Auto Week culminates in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

    Europe as its own spotlight opportunities, for instance the Villa D'Este in Italy. BMW has sponsored the event for 25 years, and this year it made a splash with the presentation of the Skytop Concept, a two-seater coupe that pays homage to past models like the Z8 and 503.

    “The BMW Concept Skytop is a truly unique and exotic design, in the tradition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. It offers a combination of driving dynamics and elegance at the highest level, comparable to its historic ancestors, like the BMW Z8 or BMW 503.”

    - Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design

    The BMW Skytop Concept, three-quarters rear
    The BMW Skytop Concept, three-quarters rear | Photo: BMW
    The BMW Skytop Concept, front
    The BMW Skytop Concept, front | Photo: BMW

    The links with the Z8 roadster are obvious. The slim headlights and taillights and the pointed snout at the front recall the roadster of the early 2000s. The hood harkens back to the 503 of the late 1950s. Beyond the design - seven decades separate the two models - it's the spirit of that model that is reproduced here.

    The model is also inspired by the current 8 Series, as evidenced by the design of the back end. The concept uses the 4.4L turbocharged V8 engine of the M8 Competition version, a block that offers a cavalry of 617 horsepower.

    BMW did not provide any further technical specifications or performance-related information for the Skytop Concept, but we can guess it’s getting the 8-speed auto transmission of the M8 Competition and its all-wheel drive configuration as swell. If BMW has managed to lighten the model, it may do better than 3.2 seconds at 0-100 km/h.

    The BMW Skytop Concept, interior
    The BMW Skytop Concept, interior | Photo: BMW
    The BMW Skytop Concept, seats
    The BMW Skytop Concept, seats | Photo: BMW

    On board, the dashboard is also inspired by that of the 8 Series, notably as concerns the digital instrument cluster and multimedia screen and the centre console that integrates the gear selector. Overall, the presentation is more that of a production model than a concept. The leather-wrapped seats and steering wheel are also taken from the 8 Series production car.

    The rollover bar behind the seats is customized, however, and includes an electrically retractable window. The roof is a two-part element that can be manually removed and stowed in the trunk.

    Will we see a production version? There’s no clear indication, and speculation points at both yes and no.. The truth is probably that no decision has been made. Nothing has been confirmed, but if top management were to approve a possible production version, we could be looking at a special limited edition, a model that could be sold at a very high price.

    The BMW Skytop Concept, from above
    The BMW Skytop Concept, from above | Photo: BMW
    The BMW Skytop Concept, rear
    The BMW Skytop Concept, rear | Photo: BMW
    Daniel Rufiange
    Daniel Rufiange
    Automotive expert
    • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
    • More than 75 test drives in the past year
    • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists