Rolls-Royce Dawn – In a class of one

Ian Lamming takes the lid off the latest Rolls-Royce Dawn.

SO many cars, so much choice, so much competition; thank heavens for being in a class of one.

So thank you Charles Rolls and Henry Royce for meeting for the first time at The Midland Hotel, Manchester 115 years ago and launching an automotive product that is singularly unique. You may be in heaven now looking down on your successors as they take your legacy into the future but you will never be forgotten.

And strangely, spiritually, ironically, where better to sit and stare at the clouds than in the latest Dawn as you contemplate the motoring deities who have produced this sublime drop-head coupe?

Roof up the Dawn brightens the day like no other with its bold, sweeping, glorious coupe lines. The exterior exudes understated class, with a flawless, hand-polished finish giving it a marble-smooth sheen. Sleek, yet edgy contours add to Dawn’s bold look, complete with a tapered ‘wake channel’ on the bonnet, reminiscent of a jet’s vapour trail.

The 22 second pause in the proceedings for the roof to fold gracefully away, like delayed gratification, only excites and stimulates the senses at the prospect of what the Dawn promises to unleash.

Most cars are better with the roof down, if they have a roof that is kind enough to oblige. The ones that haven’t can only lower their windows but to have the air swirling round your hair, face and neck never fails to enhance the motoring experience. At once driver and passengers are moved closer to nature in all its splendour as the benefits of the great outdoors come to play with your senses.

Dawn takes this to exalted heights in every way as Rolls-Royce’s ‘architecture of luxury offers its signature magic carpet ride thanks to self-adjusting suspension and cream-on-strawberries powerplant.

Beneath the hood lies an invigorating 6.6 litre V12 twin-turbo engine, offering seemingly infinite reserves of power and exhilarating torque.

In the beginning Rolls-Royce produced a mere 10 cars in two years whereas last year it delivered 4,107, the highest annual total in its history, to customers in over 50 countries.

Yet nothing is rushed, no corners cut, as is evident by the exquisite build quality once the counter-intuitive rearward opening doors open to reveal the sumptuous interior.

Banks of natural grain leather form a soft, continuous swathe seamlessly joining the with the outside, enveloping four individual seats to create an opulent haven.

It’s a corporeal delight offering the finest, bespoke craftsmanship featuring hand-cut wood veneers with a choice of contemporary open grain Canadel Panelling or classic burr finishes.

Opt for contrasting stitching and Rolls-Royce monograms on the headrests, with personalised piping and hand-stitched embroidery, to make Dawn truly your own – and why wouldn’t you?

Dawn also offers a full-length central console featuring individual climate controls and personal storage space.

But it’s not just window dressing, oh no. Beneath the skin is a raft of advanced driver assistance features to keep you safe day or night. Active Cruise Control uses a radar sensor to scan the road ahead for vehicles, adjusting the cruising speed accordingly. In lower light, Adaptive Headlights adjust to the ever-changing road conditions, while a grille-mounted infrared night vision camera detects potential hazards up to 300 metres ahead.

Head Up Display provides key information such as current speed, directions, speed limits and lane departure warnings at a glance so you need never take your eyes far from the road.

The Spirit of Ecstasy controller, which slides from cover like hi-fi CD drawer, allows you to manage everything from your journey planner to your address book, with just a swipe and flick of your finger.

Dawn is undoubtedly an experience to be shared so it’s great that it is a true four-seater, even with the roof stowed away and there’s an ample boot space for your leather luggage.

However, it also has a selfish side. Dawn Aero Cowling, the tonneau cover, enhances the grand touring spirit of Dawn by offering a true two-seater experience.

Flawlessly engineered, gracefully designed, it is crafted from ultra-lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium, sculpted to funnel airflow. It looks divine.

Unlike Phantom, where you’d possibly be even happier in the back, Dawn demands to be driven, roof down, heading south somewhere posh, somewhere to parade your good fortune, your excellent taste, where you can revel in being in a class of just one.

 

Fact File

Rolls-Royce Dawn

Engine: 6.6 litre V12

Power: 571PS

0-60mph:  4.8secs

Top speed: 155mph

Combined MPG: 19.6

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

CO2 g/km: 330

Price: from £282,000.00

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