"The Rolls Royce Dawn Drophead is a touring masterpiece."
The Rolls Royce Dawn is an extremely sexy car, the cachet, performance and sinuous lines make it a favourite contender for the title of finest luxury touring car available today. With the roof down you can really show off that luxury interior and enjoy an open air ride of sublime refinement. Plus the Rolls Royce badge still carries the ultimate brand status. Please don’t think I’m a slouching teenager with baseball cap, sweatpants and hoodie all loudly emblazoned with Gucci, but Rolls Royce is still the byword for luxury craftsmanship.
The engine is a twin-turbo 6.6 litre V12 with 593 bhp or torque of 840 Nm. It has a top speed of 155 mph and goes airborne from 0-62 mph in 4.9 secs.
In other words, it’s a luxury living room that will leap like a gazelle, at the tilt of your foot. It weighs two and a half tons and is laden with safety features, including night vision, high beam assistance, heads up display and lane departure warning. The rearview camera with sky view is a virtual masterpiece, so you have 360-degree vision of the top of your head and the car. Essential in small lanes and minuscule car parks.
The exterior is a fusion of fluid lines, swooping curves and that humongous bonnet that protrudes magnificently before you, clearing the way. The car exudes a massive and imposing presence, the catwalk model of the automotive world. My model came in Powder Blue with a blue hood. With the roof up, you are completely isolated from the world, not a sound intrudes. I believe the soft top has a multitude of layers to achieve this. The signature of Rolls Royce is always an utter luxury, complete comfort and total silence inside. The tyres are even specially designed by Rolls Royce to reduce sound pollution to a minimum.
You can of course customise the exterior and interior an infinite amount of ways with Rolls’ Bespoke Program. I do love the contrast bonnet, playing the body and bonnet colour off against each other.
It is a roomy four-seater with two doors and these open backwards in the traditional Rolls manner, also known as suicide doors. Getting in and out of the forward-facing doors is so stylish. There is an aero cowling that hides the back seats and improves airflow, morphing it into a sports two-seater. The soft leather, carbon fibre cowling is indeed handsome, but it does need two people to install or remove, which is a bit of a hindrance. Perhaps it’s a small price to pay for such beauty.
The Rolls Royce Dawn respects the panache and style of the original Rolls Royce carriage cars into the 21st Century and exemplifies the grace and gravitas of a serious luxury automobile. I took it touring around the Loire valley and Paris and it glided through the miles with ease and impressed even the most jaded car-loving Parisians.
The interior is a master class in balance, luxury and simplicity. It is deliberately not overdone, but there are plenty of little touches that signal luxury cosseting at it finest. The super-soft leather contrasts cleverly designed dark and light tones in the seats, doors and dash to great visual effect. The instrumentation is shiny but well blended, retaining classic Rolls Royce design notes and touches.
You should drive barefoot to fully enjoy the sumptuous deep pile carpeting.
Everything is smooth, rounded and curves about you with a reassuring stately, regal embrace. The intent is to make you feel confident and important, which of course it does, but without unnecessary flash.
There is an analogue Rolls Royce clock right next to the state of the art infotainment system with sat-nav that lets you know traffic conditions in real-time. The Power Reserve dial is a bit of fun, showing the percentage of power remaining, down from a hundred as you accelerate, which I suspect is simply a rev counter in reverse. Everything is offered up in the best design language, simplicity and ease of use are paramount. You never need to open a manual to figure out the controls (a relief for the bibliophobic).
The performance is smooth, no bumps, no lumps. Like gliding over a cushion of air. Even over the deepest potholes. The Rolls Royce Dawn simply deletes adversity from your experience. That is what Rolls Royce do with their time, they engineer the suspension to be the very best in the world. The acceleration is the same. The aim is to be able to hit 100 kmh in under 5 seconds, but not to feel it. It should be a seamless, flowing, silky motion and it is. The Rolls uses GPS data to work out the best way to accelerate depending on topography and it guesses how best to deliver the power depending on your driving style. The V12 engine guarantees you acceleration even at the highest speeds, so are always in complete control.
I drove from the UK to Paris and the Loire Valley, 1300 miles in four days, including the biggest and most insane roundabout in Europe, and felt completely at ease. The handling is excellent, again the suspension pretty much takes care of anything you can throw at it. It does not feel half as large as it looks. And nothing quite compares to cruising this magnificent work of art along French country roads, past red Poppy fields and shining rivers.
To conclude without too much waffle, the Rolls Royce Dawn is a convertible car with powerful performance, style and refinement. The driving is effortless, ensured by a long history of engineering excellence and it is a touring masterpiece that takes the utmost luxury care of you, the passenger. The experience of travelling in the Dawn will always be first-class and whilst modern in every way, it evokes a golden period of grand touring that makes every trip just that bit more special.