BMW Skytop concept set for limited production

BMW Skytop concept set for limited production



Bosses say striking luxury sports car - possibly named Z8 - would be an “instant classic”

BMW’s Skytop Concept car is ready for homologation and could be built in very small numbers with deliveries as soon as next year, according to company bosses.

The 8 Series-based car was officially revealed at Villa d’Este on Friday 24 May and uses the M8’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with 626bhp. It is Z8-inspired, with several design nods to the 2000s car. 

Speaking at the event, BMW’s Design Director, Adrian van Hooydonk, said: “The headlamps, the tail lights, they're new, they're as slim as we could possibly make them. But we know they could be homologated.

“If we do it I think we should do it in a very limited production. Very limited. Like we did with 3.0 CSL. We made 50 pieces of that. 

“Then I think that would make some sense, then it becomes a dream car. Maybe an instant classic. There’s no need to turn it into a big series production car.”

“We could deliver within a year if we were to go that way.”

BMW M CEO Frank van Meel added: “It is a little bit like a test balloon. You show the cars and if there's enough demand it can be built. 

“I think the demand is quite high. So probability is quite high. We’ll see over the next few weeks if that interest translates into purchasing orders.

“The probability is there. It shows we always want to try new things and see if there is a demand. Even though we’re a big company, it’s not the main purpose to build a small series.

“But if you listen to your customers and they say every now and then to do something like this and we do it - I think it’s a nice gesture to show that we are not only into lets say the cars we build everyday, but we can also do something special if demand is there.”

*Skytop: everything we know*

The upmarket open-top, which features a removable Targa-style roof and an integral roll-over hoop was shown at the Villa d’Este concours, which is a celebration of some of the most luxurious and flamboyant cars ever made.

This spirit is reflected in the design of the Concept Skytop, which apes classic BMW grand tourer proportions, with a long probing bonnet, a cabin set well back within a long wheelbase and a boot that slopes down subtly at the rear.

But while there is tradition in the shape, much of the two-seater’s design is very much rooted in the present, such as the smooth surfacing, elegant lines, advanced lighting, brushed aluminium highlights and overall detailing.

A heavily tapered kidney grille with two separate illuminated elements and horizontal louvres give the front end a pointed profile that is reminiscent of the brand’s old ‘shark-nose’ visage. Ultra-thin LED headlights and huge vents in the bonnet enhance the aggressive, sporting look.

Further back, the Skytop adopts a heavily raked windscreen and a Targa-style roof with two separate leather-trimmed elements that are designed to be stowed in a dedicated cubby in the boot.

The individual roof panels attach to the top of the windscreen and a leather-trimmed roll-bar hoop behind the seats. The hoop forms the frame of an upright rear window, which is bookmarked either side by prominent buttresses with a Hofmeister kink along their leading edge.

The buttresses sit above wide rear haunches that extend towards the rear to visually elongate the new concept. The boot features a distinctive central divider that mirrors the one in the bonnet, and it curves up into a small ducktail spoiler that bears a resemblance to the E63-generation 6 Series created under former BMW design chief Chris Bangle.

Like the Z8, produced from 1999-2006, the Skytop features thin horizontal brake lights, which use OLED technology. Lower down, two oval-shaped tailpipes are integrated into the rear bumper.

Long doors with three subtle feature lines and winglets that replace conventional door handles provide entry to a leather-trimmed – and remarkably realistic – interior. The cabin includes the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, a familiar shifter for the automatic gearbox and a conventional multifunction steering wheel.

Similar in style and layout to that of the existing 8 Series, it also features leather seats with brogue-like accents and stitching, together with the use of crystal on the gearlever and stainless steel for the pedals.

BMW’s latest concept eschews pure-electric power for what the company calls “the most powerful V8 engine in the BMW drivetrain portfolio” – namely, the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged unit that powers the most powerful M cars and produces up to 626bhp in its most potent guise. That’s another spiritual nod to the Z8, which used a 5.0-litre V8 powerplant with 395bhp and 369lb ft of torque.

No technical specifications for the Concept Skytop have been revealed, though Autocar has been told that it is based on the CLAR platform, which underpins every BMW model from the 3 Series upwards.

Should it get the green light for production, the road-ready version of the Skytop would be expected on sale in early 2026 as a replacement for today’s 8 Series, which was launched in 2018. While this concept envisions a luxury convertible, the 8 Series is currently also available as a coupé and a four-door fastback, but it is unclear whether BMW plans to keep offering all three derivatives.

This is the first future-looking BMW show car since the Concept 4 – revealed at the Geneva motor show in 2019 as a preview of the current 4 Series – to be powered by a combustion engine.

The brand is ramping up to launch its Neue Klasse family of EVs from 2025, but it has not yet put an end date on petrol and diesel cars and the Skytop suggests it still sees a future for large-capacity motors in certain segments.

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