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BMW tributes Z8 and 503 with Concept Skytop

Exotic BMW Concept Skytop design study pays homage to Z8 and 503 roadsters

30 May 2024

BMW has unveiled its latest – and wildest – design study creation in the one-off Concept Skytop design study, which premiered at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este held on the shores of Lake Como in Italy. 
The Bavarian manufacturer rarely misses an opportunity to roll out its finest works of art at the high-brow Villa d’Este event, having last year paid tribute to the early 2000s M Coupe ‘clown shoe’ with a one-off Z4-based Concept Touring Coupe.  
For this year, though, the M8-based Concept Skytop upped the ante even further and, like the Z8 it pays homage to, features BMW’s most powerful contemporary V8 engine – packing a 460kW/740Nm punch.  
“The BMW Concept Skytop is a truly unique and exotic design, in the tradition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este,” said BMW Group head of design Adrian van Hooydonk. 
“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.” 
In many ways, the Concept Skytop looks more like a BMW 507, the lithe younger brother of the 503, which shared the same 3.2-litre alloy V8 making roughly 112kW – an awful lot of ponies for a road car in the 1950s. 
There is no denying its relation to the Z8 of the early 2000s though, a rare modern classic with just 5703 units produced and sold, each using an S62 V8 from the E39 M5 fettled and fitted between the Z8’s rails in the late 1990s, producing around 300kW in its final form, making for a potent package. 
While neither the Z8 nor 503 come close to the Skytop Concept’s 460kW, nearly 70 years separate those early V8 roadsters and BMW’s latest creation.  
Visually, a sleek yet muscular body – roofless of course – with an unmistakable BMW kidney grille and sloping rear gives the two-seater a similarly sporty silhouette to the Z8. 
However, in honouring the 503 and 507, it also combines classic luxury craftsmanship, highlighted through lashings of brown leather and brogue-style accents, with hyper-modern elements like the slim, milled aluminium LED headlights. 
A leather-finished roll-over bar behind the seats and sloping rear tail offer a speedster-esque side profile, with two matching leather roof pieces tucked away in the luggage compartment below. 
“For me, the effortless fusion of interior and exterior combined with the innovative tail design expresses the elegance and originality that the Concorso stands for,” said BMW designer Marcus Syring. 
Judging from images supplied by BMW and from the event at which it debuted, the Concept Skytop seems to have nailed the brief by honouring its V8 drop-top forefathers but with modern performance and styling. 
Rumours are already circulating about a limited-edition run of 25 Concept Skytop models, with Mr van Hoooydonk hinting at production potential and likening the model to the 3.0 CSL.  

“If we do it, I think we should do it in a very limited production,” he told Autocar. “Very limited.”

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