A return to elegance? BMW Concept Skytop bows in at Villa d'Este 2024 | CAR Magazine

A return to elegance? BMW Concept Skytop bows in at Villa d'Este 2024

Published: 25 May 2024 Updated: 25 May 2024

► BMW Concept Skytop unveiled
► A treat at 2024 Villa d’Este show
► Rakish two-seater roadster

In keeping with longstanding tradition, BMW has revealed a dramatic, swooping concept car at the Villa d’Este concours show at Lake Como this weekend: meet the new 2024 BMW Concept Skytop – an achingly hip, and remarkably production-ready, new large two-seat roadster.

Remind you of anything? To these eyes, there are signals this could herald the return to a luxury GT convertible in the mould of the fêted BMW Z8 of the late Nineties and, word is, Munich is working on just such a launch for the middle of the decade. This might help explain why the Skytop looks remarkably production-ready.

It’s a targa-top two-seater and can be seen as an olive branch to those who decry how many modern BMWs continue to stretch the aesthetic palate; this is easier to decode, with traditional BMW design cues, a more elegant profile and – glory be – a good old-fashioned V8 powertrain.

‘The BMW Concept Skytop is a truly unique and exotic design, in the tradition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este,’ said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. ‘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.’

BMW Concept Skytop: a blend of ancient and modern

Note the spline that runs the full length of the bonnet, through the cabin and exits at the rear, courtesy of an aluminium trim finisher on the bootlid. It’s a clear reference to the Z8 of yesteryear, according to its designers.

BMW Concept Skytop: rear three quarters

There’s also the trad BMW shark-nose front end, angled for a degree of visual menace, while there’s no messing with the familiar twin-kidney grille. The electro brigade had to meddle a little here though; they are illuminated for extra streetside swagger, obvs. Check out the new interpretation of the Hofmeister kink on the side window graphic (no easy feat on an open-top car).

Note how the door handles are integrated into ‘winglets’ atop the shoulders of the car, leaving the flanks clear of visual interruption. The very latest slimline LEDs mean the light graphics are super-thin front and rear.

And the engine?

If you hear the Skytop in action at Villa d’Este you’ll be left in no doubt of its V8 powertrain. This is technically a design study, in line with BMW’s long history of showing cars at the upmarket event on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, so there’s precious little talk of platforms or tech.

Slimline LED quad headlights and an illuminated double-kidney grille

‘There are also similarities in engine variants with the BMW Z8,’ says BMW. ‘Like the legendary roadster, the BMW Concept Skytop also comes with the most powerful V8 engine in the BMW drivetrain portfolio.’ Gets our vote of approval.

This is a targa top, lined in leather, with a similarly hide-clad rollover bar behind the two front seats. If you want to go alfresco, you pull over, remove the roof parts and stow them in a compartment in the boot. The rear window retracts out of sight electrically.

Interior: brogue stitching and handcraft galore

The leather seats have been made with a delicate handstitched brogue-style finish and there are crystal accents throughout the snug roadster cabin.

BMW Concept Skytop interior

The colour scheme is decidedly brown, with coppery red-brown roof and interior hues contrasting with the muted silver paint and brightwork.

Thoughts on the 2024 BMW Concept Skytop? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words