What better setting than the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2024 to present to the world the new BMW Concept Skytop, a prototype of a large two-seater cabriolet in the top range. Based on the 8 Series Cabriolet, it retains only the front windscreen from the latter while all other exterior components have been revised. Precisely in the great tradition of Italian coachbuilders such as Bertone or Touring, testimony to the craftsmanship and classic Italian taste from which the Concept Skytop draws its inspiration.

And that also means that, under the long bonnet, there is room for a mighty old-school V8. I was lucky enough to see it live, and in this article I tell you what it looks like and the feelings it aroused in me.

A work of art on four wheels

Longer, wider and lower than the 8 Series from which it is derived, the Concept Skytop manages to disguise its full size with ease. It is the magic of golden proportions, distinct volumes and a balance that also includes the avoidance of any kind of excess.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, front view

At the front, for example, the double kidney not only does not abound in size but also in the illumination of its profile: LED intensity has been limited and does not exceed that of the daytime running lights in the headlights. So the grille is the focus, yes, but without exaggeration.

Speaking of the light clusters, they are the most tapered ever fitted to a BMW and are indeed the thinnest and most homologous that the Bavarian manufacturer is able to produce today with current technology. They each house two divided LED segments, another typical BMW reference. Beautiful is the hollowed-out bonnet with a ridge in the centre that is also found, as if continued, on the tailgate.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, front detail

The side view is as elegant and essential as one can imagine. Even the handle does not 'disturb' the neatness of the side, as it has become a small fin-shaped appendage at the base of the beltline. We've already seen it on the Vision Neue Klasse X, so if it's possible that these clues provide proof, let's expect to see a similar system on forthcoming production BMWs.

The 21-inch alloy wheels have a design inspired by aircraft turbines, a clear homage to the company's past as a manufacturer of aero engines.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, rear view

Other references can be seen at the rear. The first is to the iconic Z8 in the slim structure of the headlights. The second, on the other hand, is inspired by classy motorboats like the Riva, which through teak wood connect the cockpit and rear hull structure. Here the same happens through a special colouring of the hatch, which changes from the grey of the bodywork to the leather that characterises the bridge behind the passengers' heads and the roof itself.

It is divided into two parts, which can be assembled and disassembled by hand and is housed in the boot, is a feast of premium leather with an unmistakable scent, and is also covered entirely in leather. Once in place, the canopy gives the Concept Skytop a whole new character, outlining a flattened - from the side you can appreciate the legendary Hoffmeister elbow - and sportier window.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, aerial view

Marcus Syring, senior designer at BMW, explained how ideas of Italian Dolce Vita and sporty elegance influenced the styling of the Skytop.

High-class craftsmanship

As anticipated, the Concept Skytop dispenses with the rear seats and transforms the cabin into a small living room for just two lucky people. The layout of the dashboard does not change compared to the 8 Series, but it is the details that vary, such as the fact that the inserts, which are usually black or satin-finished, are here covered in leather or coloured in the same shade.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, gli interni

Speaking of leather, the textures of the stitching and trim change, now inspired by handbags or luxury shoes, just as the shaping of the integral seats is inspired by riding saddles. Finally, there is no shortage of Swarovski crystals to brighten up the steering wheel or the tunnel, but on board the Skytop they are not transparent but rather coloured in various shades.

BMW Concept Skytop

BMW Concept Skytop, interior details

It could become a collector's item

It took six months of work to create the Concept Skytop, which, having grown out of a rib of the 8 Series Cabriolet, is about 80 per cent ready for production.

In view of the success of the Z4 Touring in 2023, BMW does not rule out the production of a small limited series, depending on what feedback is received at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and other exclusive events in which it will take part.

Gallery: BMW Concept Skytop