Test Drive: The all-new Rolls-Royce Dawn

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  • Stunning: Rolls-Royce Dawn.

    Sexy is not a word you would normally use to describe a Rolls-Royce. Majestic seems more appropriate, or magnificent, but a racy new topless model is taking the world’s most iconic marque by storm.

    RR has deliberately dropped some of the formality that has become synonymous with its cars with the introduction of the titillatingly beautiful Rolls-Royce Dawn, a stunning droptop aimed at a younger audience with wealth and a passion for the finer things in life.

    And they don’t come much finer than this convertible masterpiece which Rolls-Royce rightly describe as the sexiest car they have ever built.

    Inspired by the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn droptop of the 1950s, this is a car that demands your attention, just like its stablemates, the Phantom, the Ghost and the Wraith, the fastest Roller ever built which is also aimed at rich young motorists looking for the elegant style of a bygone era when the super-luxury gentleman’s Gran Turismo ruled and the sophistication of modern motoring.

    It has been suggested that this is a convertible version of the Wraith but RR say that although it sits alongside that car, 80 per cent of its panelling is brand new, giving it an independent personality.

    Buying a Rolls-Royce is not just a case of investing a considerable amount of money in an extraordinary car; you are buying into an exclusive lifestyle enjoyed by a few and envied by many.

    And as if getting the chance to drive this divine machine was not enough yours truly, and a few other fortunate journalists, got the chance to breath in some of this rarefied air – and there is plenty of that with the roof down – with a drive to the stunningly impressive and suitably expensive Al Maha Desert Resort, just outside Dubai.

    I was so impressed with the car and the resort, both outstanding examples of attention to detail and ultimate luxury, that a week later I borrowed the Dawn again and took my wife to Al Maha for dinner just so I could get more of a feel for what this ‘sexiest’ Roller is all about and I can tell you that the drive home with the roof down in the cooling evening breeze with the stars above was unforgettable.

    Sleek interior.

    Sleek interior.

    The exterior design of the Dawn is classic Rolls-Royce but with more of a seductive attitude, deliberately paying homage to the romantic casino lifestyle on the Cote d’Azure.

    The front is obviously dominated by the signature RR grille and Spirit of Ecstasy but it has a slightly wider, hunkered down appearance than its relatives and those LED headlights look super-cool.

    The side profile with the roof up or down is sleek and beautifully styled and the rear is stocky, in a refined sort of way.

    The Dawn has rear-hinged coach doors which take a bit of getting used to but actually make it easier to get in and out and it sits on lovely 21-inch wheels, which have special tyres to ensure you get that infamous ‘Magic Carpet’ ride.

    Driven with the roof up the Dawn is almost silent and with it down there is a mere whisper of wind noise. The roof comes down in around 22 seconds of quiet elegance – Rolls-Royce engineers describe the mechanism as a silent ballet, and it’s easy to see why.

    Getting into the Dawn is a bit like boarding a luxury yacht and the cabin, or deck as RR like to call it, is actually inspired by those classic motor launches of the early 20th century that graced the waters of Monaco or Lake Como.


    • Production: 2015 to present
    • Class: : Luxury droptop
    • Engine: : 6.6-litre TT V12
    • Output: 563bhp

    With the roof down the ‘deck’ is encompassed by a stainless steel waist line which wraps itself elegantly around the cabin which is easily big enough for four people.

    The interior is extravagance gone mad with beautiful leather, woods, and polished metals, all of which are bespoke, as every single Rolls-Royce is built to individual specifications. The instrument cluster is deliberately designed to look like high-end watches and they resemble exquisite antiques.

    The Dawn is bristling with the latest technology with a 10.25-inch screen linked to a Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary dial, which also acts as a touchpad and is used to access the infotainment system. It’s not a touch screen because we don’t want any ugly fingerprints on the glass, thank you very much.

    Underneath that lovely long bonnet beats the heart of a magnificent 6.6-litre twin turbo V12 engine with 563bhp and 780nm of torque hooked up to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The car weighs in a 2,560kg and yet has enough power to glide quietly from 0-100kmh in 4.9 unruffled seconds.

    It is also fitted with Satellite Aided Transmission which means the car uses GPS data to look ahead and predict what gear you should be in for whatever lies ahead.

    The Dawn is a special car for high-rollers who want freedom, luxury, and sophistication. It represents the dawn of a sexier new age of super-luxury droptop motoring and if you can afford one, the sky really is the limit. It’s gorgeous.