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BMW Skytop Concept Officially Revealed With BMW 503 & Z8 Influence

Key Takeaways

  • BMW Concept Skytop revealed with BMW 503 and Z8 influences
  • Modern touches include super-slim headlights & removable leather roof panels.
  • Powered by the BMW M8 Competition’s twin-turbo V8.
  • Production in this form is unlikely, but styling could influence future grand touring models.

The BMW Concept Skytop has now been officially revealed after being allegedly leaked in video form by BMW itself earlier this week, and now that we know all the details, we have no doubt that this is a preview of what the BMW 8 Series could someday become. In fact, the vented hood of the concept cools the exceptional S68 twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that provides the M8 Competition with 617 horsepower. But as you might have guessed from the fact that this car has been revealed on the shores of Lake Como at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, the focus here is on style, and boy, is there a lot of it.

Inspired By The Classics

BMW claims that the concept draws inspiration from the BMW 503 (one of the most expensive BMW models ever sold at auction) and the beloved BMW Z8, the latter of which BMW Group Classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary at Villa d’Este this year. Each of these cars is beautiful, and the same applies to the Skytop, but it takes a lot of staring to see how it could possibly be related to those classics. The slender taillights resemble those of the Z8, as do the round exhaust tips and the gap between the diffuser panel and the rest of the rear bumper. The 503’s influence is more opaque to the casual observer, but the correlations do exist, even though the grilles and headlights don’t make them obvious.

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The 503 had a tremendously long hood and an elongated rear end, both of which are present on the Skytop. The prominent rear fenders of the 503 are also reimagined on BMW’s new concept, flowing into a pert rear end. With chrome bumpers no longer fashionable, BMW created a recess to subdivide the upper and middle sections of the rear bumper. The chrome accent spine has been modernized with a hood featuring two distinct vents, and behind the cabin, the line continues with a chrome accent strip. It’s also worth noting that the Skytop’s hood follows a similar shape to the 503’s hood shut lines, and then there’s the “bone line.” That’s the area below the “shoulder line,” which is what separates the glasshouse from the bodywork. Sculpted creases are again used to call to mind chrome accents that would look out of place in contemporary automotive fashion. Then again, what are those? The “gilled” wheels are not particularly attractive, in this writer’s opinion.

Modern Ideas

There are plenty of new thoughts here, too, including those super slim headlights that feature milled aluminum carriers custom-developed just for this concept. Behind the occupants, who are seated in a reddish-brown pair of “brogue-style” leather seats, a leather-trimmed sports bar keeps two removable roof panels (also leather-finished) in place when you need protection from the elements, while a compartment behind it houses them when you want the sun on your skin. BMW says the Skytop concept car was “designed to inspire a desire to travel,” so it has to be somewhat practical. Hence, there are actual door handles crafted as little winglets, possibly a nod to the chrome mirrors of the 503 and Z8. The paint, with its fading ombre effect, is a classy touch, but BMW hasn’t given it a name, only describing it as a “muted silver with [a] chrome shadow effect.”


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What you really want to know, though, is whether this or something similar will make it to production. We can’t predict the future, but this weekend’s event will give Munich an idea of demand. There was plenty of interest in BMW’s Concept Touring Coupé after it was revealed on the same lawns last year, so we can’t discount that, like the Z4-based coupé, BMW would consider a limited run for the wealthy. If not, it’s likely that the overall look will find its way to the next BMW 8 Series (or perhaps 6 Series, if rumors of the nameplate’s resurgence prove true).

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