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All-new Rolls-Royce’s don’t come along very often, so the Dawn is a very big
deal. According to designer Giles Taylor, the objective of the open-top Wraith
was to make its occupants look like rock stars. It’s named after the ultra-rare
1950s Silver Dawn and fills a newly emerging gap in Rolls’ portfolio: the
Phantom Drophead Coupe is winding down and won’t be replaced until 2018. The
Dawn thus leads the charge for a younger, more dynamic clientele.
It’s more than just a Wraith soft-top too. 80 per cent of the body panels are
unique and even the tyres are bespoke. It’s not for shrinking violets and is a
jaw-dropping thing to behold in the flesh: needless to say, the quarter-million
pound price tag is just the starting point.
You don’t drive a Rolls-Royce, you experience it. It’s claimed to be the world’s
stiffest four-seater convertible, and certainly feels very un-tremulous. It’s
wider but shorter than the Ghost, with a lower centre of gravity, and has
reworked suspension with active anti-roll bars. While it’s still not a car you’d
be naturally inclined to hustle, if you do give it the hurry-up the Dawn
disguises its weight and handles with amazing alacrity. Rather than steering
with your fingertips, you engage with the Dawn.
The engine is the same silken twin-turbo 6.6-litre 563bhp V12 the Ghost uses:
the feeling of gathering momentum is similar to the one you experience in an
Airbus A380 on take-off, yet the Power Reserve dial is a reminder you’re using
only six or seven per cent of what’s available. It’s also stunningly refined.