BMW's Skytop Might Have Life Beyond a Concept Car

bmw concept skytop
BMW's Skytop Might Have Life Beyond a Concept Car Enes Kucevic Photography

The fanfare around BMW's newest concept car, the Concept Skytop, is perhaps most notable because of the subtle restraint the Bavarians showed in its design. Instead of a honking front end and bulbous curves, the Skytop is smooth all around and features a tempered front end. With such a shift in design language, one might assume this model is an exercise in showmanship and not slated for production.

Not so fast, says BMW's head of design Adrian van Hooydonk, while addressing media at the 2024 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Demand for such a drop-top—slightly bigger than the Z4 and with more power—is strong amongst the brand's rather loyal fanbase, van Hooydonk explained. Better yet, the blueprint for production isn't far off, either.

bmw concept skytop

"We've done several concepts here—most of the time with no production intent," van Hooydonk explained. "This time, if there would be enough interest, we wouldn't have to think too hard or go do a whole engineering phase. It would already be done."


The head designer went on to say that the technical processes of bringing the Concept Skytop to production would be feasible, likely a result of its S63 V-8 powerplant. Borrowed from the current generation M8 Competition, the 617-hp twin-turbocharged engine is already emissions-legal and has a service network behind it, too.

"For our customers, you always need things that they can dream of," van Hooydonk said, noting that these concept models allow customers and designers alike to redefine what it means to see a BMW out in the world.

bmw concept skytop

When asked about the potential production plan for the Concept Skytop, van Hooydonk said that sports cars and other performance or lifestyle-focused models tend to experience a different sales lifecycle than common consumer vehicles. Sales are strong out of the gate, but often fall flat after some initial hype, leaving dealership lots full and company accountants worrying. While he declined to comment on the potential production number, van Hooydonk acknowledged that the business case is always present, even for limited edition, low-production models.

"When you invest a certain amount of money, you need to do a certain amount of cars," van Hooydonk said. "With modern fabrication methods, we can do very, very limited [production] and not let costs go out of control... We want to take this whole business case logic out of it, but it's never completely gone."

Above and beyond the business case for this stunning concept, the lead designer admitted that crash testing and U.S.-specific regulations could be the biggest hurdle of all. While not impossible, he explained that the shape of the concept would require a lot of crash testing to validate the car for American roads. At least five cars would have to be destroyed, van Hooydonk said, which is no small feat for a potentially limited production run.

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