“Like Eleanor Thornton, thought by many to be the inspiration behind the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls-Royce Dawn will itself prove to be the muse that leads its owner to believe that at the start of the day, anything is possible.” Sat Bal wonders if Roll-Royce's CEO had Clio, Muse of history, in mind when he made that comment.
If so, Clio’s ancient scroll might well have featured depictions of the 1952 Silver Dawn, the vintage predecessor from which the new Rolls-Royce Dawn takes its inspiration. This inspiration revisits the maxim of Sir Henry Royce: “When it does not exist, design it.”
Thus the Rolls-Royce Dawn glides into a new age for open-top, super-luxury motoring while confidently claiming the title of ‘the world’s only true modern four-seater drophead.’
The all-new Rolls-Royce Dawn stands out from its company peers by featuring 80% unique body panels. Even its tyres have been specially developed to deliver the pinnacle ‘magic carpet’ ride expected of every Rolls-Royce that leaves The Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, England.
The ‘magic carpet’ Rolls-Royce ride is ably assisted by a newly designed suspension configuration for optimal cruising comfort. The twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 powertrain gives an output of 563bhp and a torque rating of 780Nm for thrusting performance.
The obsession with silken silence extends to the roof of the Dawn, created to operate in almost complete quiet at a cruising speed of up to 50kph which makes it the quietest open top car ever made according to Rolls-Royce.
During its research of the open-top motor car sector Rolls-Royce’s designers felt that customers were being ‘short-changed’. Specifically, the focus on one configuration – the 2+2 setup – was felt to be a compromise. “At Rolls-Royce, we pride ourselves as creators of fine motor cars that also serve as social spaces,” said Giles Taylor, director of design at Rolls-Royce. “The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day to day basis is anathema. In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”
The commonly held 2+2 layout diminishes leg-room space for rear passengers in a way that Rolls-Royce terms “anti-social”. But these images show a rather more social car...
“Dawn is a Rolls-Royce that feels completely at home on the Route Napoleon. It is a contemporary homage to a life on the Côte d’Azur. The car is a contemporary take on the ‘Casino’ lifestyle. Perhaps seen as cavalier in character it is intended to attract people who relish both freedom and sophistication,” added Giles Taylor.
So who are the anticipated buyers? Rolls-Royce tells us that the new drophead coupé aims to attract a broader, younger and more ‘socially-aware’ global audience around the world.
One suspects that this pool of prospective purchasers will be seduced by the company’s main aim: to create a coupé that look as striking with its roof up -
as it does with its roof down…
The lower front bumper has been extended 53mm over the Wraith and elsewhere the sweeping shoulder line boosts elegance as it flows over the swell of the rear wheels, new 21” polished and 21’’ and 20” painted wheels.
Rolls-Royce says that the car’s runflat tyres enable the Dawn to run on a deflated tyre for at least 100 miles at speeds up to 50mph before needing a replacement. Best of all, this runflat tyre technology means no spare wheel or jack is needed thus liberating more boot space.
A sumptuous slingshot of wood and leather is the first impression of the interior, with the four very defined and cosseting seats. The instrument dials evoke the precision design of hand-made, luxury watches, whilst the matt chrome centres ‘float’ in the middle of each instrument while a new clock design is emblazoned with the car’s name.
Seek the Silence
The challenge for the Rolls-Royce engineering team was to make the quietest convertible car in the world today. The result, says the company, is a car as quiet as a Rolls-Royce Wraith. As for the opening and closing of the roof, the engineers were so pleased with its elegant motion that they dubbed the mechanism “The Silent Ballet.”
Or Pump up the Volume
Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Audio system has been specially calibrated ensures perfect acoustic balance and performance whether the roof is open or closed. The system comprises 16 individually-tuned speakers, with both theatre and studio settings and two bass speakers located in the boot complement seven tweeters dotted throughout the cabin. A highly sensitive microphone monitors ambient exterior noise, subtly adjusting the volume and tone settings for consistent delivery.
Dawn comes with the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller, an intuitive, one-touch solution that allows the user easy access to media and navigation functions.
As expected, voice command technology summons functions such as navigation, eliminating the need for superfluous buttons. The Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller presents a touch pad (rather than a touch screen could leave messy fingerprints) that can write characters by finger, as well as scroll through function menus by turning the chrome dial and selecting its functions.
The system recognises Latin and Arabic characters as well as Mandarin.
Information from the significantly updated Multimedia Interface and Navigation system is displayed on a new 10.25” high-definition screen, while hardware and software changes have improved processing speeds for faster route calculations.
An Automatic Cruise Control system contributes to a more consistent pace of progress and the driver can now move along in city traffic confidently relying on the system to monitor conditions and react to traffic changes.
New software for the radar and camera provides faster system response times but for the unavoidable, Dawn will deploy a roll-over protection system from behind the rear head restraints in less than a second, covering the entire windscreen surround of the car too.
Satellite Aided Transmission helps select the most appropriate gear from the Dawn’s 8-speed ZF gearbox to get the best from 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 for optimal driving. Satellite Aided Transmission comes as standard on Dawn.
LED lighting technology helps safe driving on dark roads while helping reduce driver fatigue.Revolutionary new glare-free technology deflects light to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers so that Dawn drivers get constant full-beam visibility. Night driving safety is also boosted by the head-up display and heat detection system that detects both human and animal heat signatures, and issues gives audible danger warnings.
TECH & SPEC
5285mm / 17.34ft
1947mm / 6.39ft
Vehicle height (unladen)
1502mm / 4.93ft
3112mm / 10.21ft
12.7m / 41.7ft
Boot Volume (DIN)
244ltr - 295ltr / 8.6 ft3 - 10.4 ft3
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Unladen Weight (DIN)
2560kg / 5644lb
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Engine / cylinders / valves
V / 12 / 48
Power output @ engine speed
563bhp / 420kW / 570PS @ 5250rpm
Max torque @ engine speed
780Nm / 575lb ft @ 1500rpm
10:1 / Premium unleaded1
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250kmh / 155mph (governed)
Acceleration 0 - 100km/h
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21.4ltr / 100km / 13.2mpg (Imp.)
9.8ltr / 100km / 28.8mpg (Imp.)
Combined consumption / range
14.2ltr / 100km / 19.9mpg (Imp.)
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