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BMW Concept Skytop revealed: elegant targa GT recalls a more elegant era of BMW design

Highly bespoke and luxuriously appointed, BMW’s Concept Skytop harks back to a more elegant era of BMW design

Elegance is back on the agenda at BMW, if the BMW Concept Skytop is anything to go by. The German brand has presented this a new show car that harks back to a more sophisticated era of its design. Revealed at Concorso di Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, the one-off concept car is a look at what more stylish range of BMW road cars could look like. 

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Rather than a purely conceptual set of underpinnings, the Concept Skytop is actually based on the existing BMW 8 Series, clothed in a bespoke body with a targa-like semi-open cockpit. This also means it runs a purely combustion powertrain, and even includes a few throwbacks to previous BMW models thanks to the use of a joystick gear selector, rather than the toggle switch fitted to most of its new models. 

The engine is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, as in many of BMW’s high-end models of the past, and while power and torque aren’t officially rated, expect figures of around 520bhp. This is likely to be connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel drive system, but Concept Skytop isn’t really about the engine. It’s the rather elegant and sophisticated aesthetics that take centre stage. 

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The design builds from a nose that’s significantly more restrained and delicate than those on many contemporary BMWs. Unlike the divisive 7 Series, the Concept Skytop has a relatively small pair of illuminated kidney grilles that are tapered and jut out from the bumper at a reverse angle, mimicking the iconic shark-nose of historical BMWs like the original CS Coupe. The thin, elegant headlights feature simple clean internals, and sit above a smooth and restrained lower bumper. 

The body itself is more blocky than most existing BMW models, and its volumes reference models like the BMW Z8 with its clean, sleek forms. There’s divergence from BMW’s past design when it comes to the roof structure, which features two removable panels finished in a burnt sienna-coloured material. This is matched with the integrated aerobridge, finished in the same colour leather as the roof and the rest of the interior. 

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Where the colour and trim get really creative, though, is the deck behind that roll hoop. This features a graduated colour finish starting from the interior leather and converting to the soft gold of the exterior bodywork. BMW says this “softly bleeds” the interior and exterior material palettes into one another.

The simple, upright rear does without much ornamentation, with simple horizontal lights, clean bumpers and no light bars. The detailing is much more restrained than even BMW’s most recent road cars, let alone the future range of Neue Klasse models we know are on their way. 

The cabin reveals more of the Concept Skytop’s BMW 8 Series origins, with the same basic interior dashboard layout and tech package, albeit with a few of the pre-facelift elements such as the aforementioned gear selector. 

While the BMW Concept Skytop is only a concept, it’s a dramatic divergence from the current BMW design language applied to today’s production models like the 7 Series saloon or X7. Whether this signals that a new BMW 8 Series might be on the cards we can only speculate, but the concept is probably created more to celebrate a path already trodden, than signpost one we can expect BMW to travel in future. 

What do you think of the new BMW Concept Skytop? Would you like to see it make production? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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