Rolls-Royce Dawn

Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, side
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, front
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, rear, hood up
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, interior
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, dashboard
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, rear
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2017, seats

IT was the dawn of a new era for Roll-Royce when it took the wraps off its latest glamorous two-door model.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn is now the only convertible the company produces after production of the mighty Phantom Drophead ceased last year.

The Dawn is loosely based on the Wraith coupe but, with 80 per cent of its panels unique to it exudes far more glamour, far more desirability and - in a country where for many the convertible is king - commands far more attention wherever you drive it.

Both Wraith and Dawn are designed to appeal to buyers who want to drive themselves as opposed to Rolls-Royce owners who have chauffeurs.

It's not so much the two-door aspect as the size of both models, which are smaller than the Phantom but are non the less one of the largest cars on the road.

With a weight of just over 2.5 metric tons and measuring more than 17ft in length the Dawn can at first seem intimidating.

But if you've driven a Rolls-Royce before you soon find there is a very familiar feel to it as the handling characteristics - particularly the very distinctive steering - have a remarkable similarity.

The same can be said for the interior which, like all Rolls-Royce models, is in a class of its own with upholstery in the finest hand stitched leather and a dashboard in top quality burr walnut all created by hand by craftsmen with years of experience.

And while these cars are state of the art, with features which include head-up display and night vision, there are still retro touches like the traditional organ stop switches for the air vents and the super slender leather steering wheel.

As on all Roll-Royce models the long coach doors open the opposite way to those on conventional cars and can be closed automatically at the touch of button once you are inside.

The Dawn has just four seats and while it can be a little awkward getting into the back there is plenty of legroom once you are in.

And while it's hard to believe that anyone wouldn't recognise the distinctive Rolls-Royce grille and iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine on the bonnet all four headrests bear the RR emblem embossed into them just in case on onlookers are not sure.

On the road this convertible has an interior as quiet as any of its metal roofed siblings thanks to a six-layer hood which can be raised or lowered in just 22 seconds. You can even operate it on the move at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

The Dawn is a superbly elegant long distance tourer powered by a 6.6-litre turbocharged V12 engine producing 563bhp which whisks it effortlessly and silently to 62 miles per hour in just five seconds.

It might be known for grace rather than pace by most people but like every Rolls-Royce there is power aplenty when you need it and it‘s delivered in such a refined manner you have to keep a wary eye on the speedometer.

There is no sports mode or paddles behind the steering wheel on the Dawn. It doesn't need either. If you want performance you just hit the accelerator and the seamless eight-speed, column change auto box drops a coupe of gears and you almost take off.

Despite it size the Dawn handles superbly. There is a little body roll as you would expect from a car designed more for comfort but it's all beautifully controllable.

As with almost every convertible there are blind spots which make it more difficult to reverse park but an on-screen 360 degree view of the car ensures that you can manoeuvre with safety.

FAST FACTS

Rolls-Royce Dawn

Price: £264,000

Mechanical: 563bhp, 6,592cc, 12 cylinder petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155 mph

0-62mph: 5.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 20

Insurance Group:50

C02 emissions: 330g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 4yrs/unlimited miles

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