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Majestic Rolls Royce Black Badge Dawn Drophead Review

Majestic Rolls Royce Black Badge Dawn Drophead Review

It was the first sunny day in Spring and I had just taken delivery of the new rolls Royce Black Badge Dawn Drophead to my front door. The faster, gothic version of the Rolls Royce Dawn, for those that want to arrive in style, albeit with a little menace. At first glance it looked magnificent, all shiny black and imposing (the paintwork is customised for a deeper black gloss), with the dark chrome Spirit Of Ecstasy gleaming at the front. At further investigation it was even more majestic, with impressive suicide doors (yes the umbrellas are still nestled inside) and Mandarin orange detailing, stitching and monograms that stood out against the black leather seats and panelling.

The limited edition Black Badge is obviously aimed at a younger audience with a sleek, rounded, modern design. A car for those that wish to drive themselves rather than be chauffeured. It has 593bhp, does 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds, and weighs just over 2 1/2 tons. Its momentous black bonnet conceals a humongous V12 engine, so even at that hefty but reassuring weight there is plenty of power, but of course the Rolls-Royce Black Badge Dawn is not about power, but about the glide, supreme well being and luxury. Don’t worry though, it still has a limited top speed of 155mph. It drives like a celestial colossus, with soft brakes and acceleration, so as not to disturb passengers with unseemly movement. Though put your foot down and it bounds skilfully forward, emitting a gorgeous deep throaty rumble.

Inside the glossy dashboard looked more like a country house sideboard rendered in gleaming carbon fibre and hand stitched leather, with a hidden panel that reveals the media and satnav screen. It took but a few moments to familiarise myself with the controls and then my partner and I glided out of the drive and headed off to Stoke Park where we were going to spend the day in the spa, relaxing, swimming and getting a luxurious massage. We’d chosen a mixture of country and A roads to really get a feel for how the Rolls-Royce Dawn performed in different environments. We wafted over the Surrey Downs along the A3 and the M25, supremely comfortable, roof and foot down, proceeding much like a land bound iron ship, serene, solid and safe, yet powerful and unwavering in traffic.

So what’s special about this car? Well, it’s a Rolls Royce and developed with that rich history in mind. The very spirit of Rolls-Royce has always been about creating cars that embody the best tried and tested technology, luxury and engineering currently available, offering the highest level of craftsmanship with the greatest reliability, safety and comfort possible. Whilst the Black Badge Dawn may be a step forward for Rolls Royce in terms of design, the build ethos is still classic luxury, style, and comfort.

Now in my opinion all cars should be convertible. What’s the point of having this glorious, glamorous interior if only the people sitting inside the car can see it. You need to put the roof down to really expose the leather Mandarin and black interior. I know the purists will say that the car’s lines are ruined by a convertible top, but the advantage in being able to drop the roof beats any aesthetics, it’s a small price to pay for beauty. And here’s a tip for putting the roof down on the Rolls-Royce Dawn, there is a small box extension in the boot that needs to be pushed into the upright position before the roof will move, once that’s done you just press the button and the roof goes up or down very quickly. It’s a delight to watch all the butterfly pieces move as the roof folds in on itself to completely disappear into the boot, still leaving ample room for your luggage.

Once open the Black Badge is at its very best, visibility is superb and the car’s dimensions are just right, Goldilocks, not too big, not too small. Large enough so it has real gravitas and stature, yet small enough to drive along country roads with total ease. The width of this car is exact to the millimetre, you never worry about being too big to park or about colliding with oncoming traffic. So we arrived at the glorious Stoke Park Golf and Spa supremely relaxed and prepared to get even more laid back. As we pulled up to the main entrance a pair of immaculately suited Chinese businessmen started snapping selfies of the car and extolling their appreciation of this superb British motor. The Rolls seemed perfectly at home next to the golf course and yes it does have room for golf clubs in the boot.

There are no paddles to change gear, clearly these have been considered and dismissed as gimmicks, unnecessary for a grown up car. It has forward and reverse and that’s all you need. No sport, rock or ludicrous mode either, it adapts to your driving style, so drift like a swan or accelerate like a lion and it will act accordingly. The heads up display is the technology you see, showing the speed limit, your speed and the sat nav directions. What you don’t see is the 8-speed ZF 8HP  automatic transmission which is linked to a GPS receiver, so it uses global positioning satellite data to determine the road conditions ahead in real time, and change gear accordingly. The Rolls Royce Dawn has no need for fiddly buttons, it’s in best mode all the time. Oh except for the little buttons on the inside windows, they open and shut the doors, electrically, so you don’t have to lean out or move at all. And there’s the button that raises or lowers the suspension, bit like the Low Riders in the USA, though sadly it won’t jump, it stays smooth at all times.

A Rolls is about driving a refined, luxury environment on wheels, which actually makes you want to drive slowly as you are in no hurry to get anywhere. Yes, it has 593bhp so you could tear away from the traffic lights, but why, what’s the point? You are cosseted in total comfort. It makes you want to cruise at 20 mph so you can enjoy every moment. You know that you can do 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, but you feel no need to prove it. Let the other cars rush around you, buzzing like flies, while you sail serenely on, floating meditatively on a cushion of well engineered steel and leather.

So is it worth £350,000 including tax that it costs to get this model on the road? Well, it depends if you want the very best handcrafted, luxurious, refined, historically rich car in the world. Yes, you’re paying a little extra for the badge but it remains the greatest luxury brand in automobile history. Made to glide serenely and majestically with intimidating style, for V12 luxury loving petrol heads. Each Black Badge Dawn is made to order, so each model will be unique, built to the customers specifications, completely bespoke. The ideal car to finally do that luxury tour across the States you’ve always been planning.

 

Performance†
Top speed     155 mph / 250 km/h (governed)
Acceleration 0-60 mph     4.8 sec
Acceleration 0-100 km/h     4.9 sec
Fuel Consumption – Exhaust Emissions Standard EU-6
Urban      22.9 ltr/100 km/12.3 mpg (Imp.)
Extra urban      10.1 ltr/100 km/28 mpg (Imp.)
Combined consumption      14.7 ltr/100 km /19.2 mpg (Imp.)
CO2 emissions (combined)      337 g/km
Performance†
Top speed     155 mph / 250 km/h (governed)
Acceleration 0-60 mph     4.8 sec
Acceleration 0-100 km/h     4.9 sec
Fuel Consumption – Exhaust Emissions Standard EU-6
Urban      22.9 ltr/100 km/12.3 mpg (Imp.)
Extra urban      10.1 ltr/100 km/28 mpg (Imp.)
Combined consumption      14.7 ltr/100 km /19.2 mpg (Imp.)
CO2 emissions (combined)      337 g/km
Dimensions
Number of doors / seats     2 / 4
Vehicle length     5285 mm / 208.1 in
Vehicle width     1947 mm / 76.7 in
Vehicle height (unladen)     1502 mm / 59.1 in
Wheelbase      3112 mm / 122.5 in
Weight
Unladen weight (DIN)     2560 kg / 5203 lb
Engine
Engine / cylinders / valves     V / 12 / 48
Fuel management     Direct injection
Power output @ engine speed     593 bhp / 601 PS (DIN) / 442
    kW @ 5250 rpm
Max torque @ engine speed     840 Nm / 620 lb ft @ 1650 rpm
Fuel type     Super unleaded*
Dimensions
Number of doors / seats     2 / 4
Vehicle length     5285 mm / 208.1 in
Vehicle width     1947 mm / 76.7 in
Vehicle height (unladen)     1502 mm / 59.1 in
Wheelbase      3112 mm / 122.5 in
Weight
Unladen weight (DIN)     2560 kg / 5203 lb
Engine
Engine / cylinders / valves     V / 12 / 48
Fuel management     Direct injection
Power output @ engine speed     593 bhp / 601 PS (DIN) / 442
    kW @ 5250 rpm
Max torque @ engine speed     840 Nm / 620 lb ft @ 1650 rpm
Fuel type     Super unleaded*

Primary – Black
Secondary - Mandarin
Technical Fibre BB
Main – Black
Hood - Black
Options Fitted to this Vehicle
Design Features        
Front Ventilated Seats
Sport Exhaust
Camera System
Comfort Entry System
Rolls-Royce Bespoke Audio
Driver Assistance Package 3
Front Ventilated Seats
Sport Exhaust
Camera System
Comfort Entry System
Rolls-Royce Bespoke Audio
Driver Assistance Package 3
Single Coachline - Mandarin
Dark Chrome Spirit of Ecstasy
Black Badge Treadplates
Full Natural Grain Leather
Contrast Stitching – Mandarin
Black Shadow Line
RR Monogram to Headrests – Mandarin
Seat Piping Centre – Mandarin
Door Contrast Feature – Mandarin
Bespoke Umbrellas – Black/Mandarin
Leather Floor Mats
Single Coachline - Mandarin
Dark Chrome Spirit of Ecstasy
Black Badge Treadplates
Full Natural Grain Leather
Contrast Stitching – Mandarin
Black Shadow Line
RR Monogram to Headrests – Mandarin
Seat Piping Centre – Mandarin
Door Contrast Feature – Mandarin
Bespoke Umbrellas – Black/Mandarin
Leather Floor Mats