Rolls-Royce Dawn

Black Badge

Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2021, front
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2021, rear
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2021, interior
Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2021, aero cowling

THERE'S a scene in a Crocodile Dundee film where a New York mugger threatens Mick Dundee and his girlfriend with a flick knife and demands his wallet.

Dundee's girlfriend says "Mick give him your wallet. He's got a knife".

"That's not a knife ?" chuckles Dundee. He then pulls a huge hunting knife from its scabbard saying: "THAT'S a knife". leaving the robber fleeing in terror.

It's a scene which came to mind when I drove the latest Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge.

Because like Mick's blade this enormous convertible - more than 17ft long and almost 6.5ft wide - tends to put other cars in the shade.

You look at it and immediately think, THAT‘S a car.

It's vast, it's sleek it's elegant, it's fast and it's quality.

The Dawn has been around for a little while now but Rolls-Royce decided to create a different version - the Black Badge model - to appeal to a different, mainly younger set of buyers.

In keeping with its name it's distinguished from the standard model by a plethora of black chrome features including the front grille, boot lid trim, exhaust pipes and air inlet openings.

The traditional ‘Double R' badges are inverted to silver on black and even the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine which adorns every Roll-Royce bonnet and rises up as you unlock the car is finished in black - rather than silver - chrome.

Inside too there's a darker look on parts of the dashboard, doors, and transmission tunnel created using threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven together and bonded in carbon fibre before being finished with six coats of lacquer and hand-polished to Rolls-Royce's hallmark mirror finish.

In the model driven here it all contrasted perfectly with the lighter colour of upholstery in the finest hand stitched leather and in a class of its own.

Originally the car was only available in black but demand for other colours has changed that.

But a Black Badge version means more than just visual changes to the Dawn. It means more power for more enthusiastic motoring.

You would think that the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 used in the Dawn would be more than enough for most people but in the Black Badge model that engine is beefed up to generate 593bhp - a gain of 30bhp over the ‘standard' Dawn - as well as boosting the torque available to 840NM.

It almost seems impolite to quote performance figures for a Rolls-Royce but for those interested the increased power gives it a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 4.9 seconds and a top speed restricted to 155 miles per hour. And that's a for a car weighing in at 2.63 tonnes.

It might be a car which is elegance and quality personified but make no mistake the Dawn Black Badge is also one of the fastest cars on the road. It's a beautiful blend of grace and pace.

You don't get a rev counter with it you get a power meter, which lets you know how much engine power you are using at any given time. And I noticed that while cruising at 75 miles per hour there was still 96 per cent of the car's engine power in hand. Which says it all.

Both Dawn and Black Badge versions are two-door, four seater models but my car came with an eye catching innovation, a removable Aero Cowling.

Made of carbon fibre it converts the Dawn into a two-seat roadster-style car with an extended tonneau cover sitting on top of the two rear seats.

It's great when there are just two of you on board because, with the hood down, it gives the car far more flair and ensures you are not blown about. If you need all four seats, however, you have to lift it off and leave it at home.

Lowering and raising the hood takes just 20 seconds and as you can do it on the move at town speeds you are never going to get wet in this beauty.

And with the six-layer hood in place the Dawn Black Badge has an interior as quiet as any of its metal roofed siblings.

And like its siblings the Dawn Black Badge has doors which open the opposite way to those on conventional cars and can be closed automatically at the touch of button once you are inside. Retro look organ stop switches for the air vents still feature on these cars and there's an eight speed column change automatic gearbox.

Like all Roll-Royce models the handling is superb. The steering is light and distinctive to the brand but you soon get used to it and find it easy to manoeuvre.

Like most convertibles the Dawn has blind spots on either side of the rear window, however. There is a reversing camera to help but a larger viewing screen really is needed to simplify things.

That apart the Dawn Black Badge offers motoring at its finest, if you can afford it.

It presents a beautiful blend of luxury and performance. But more than that it offers something less tangible but equally important to potential buyers. A feeling of one-upmanship.

FAST FACTS

Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge

Price: £418,071

Mechanical: 6,592cc, 593 bhp 12 cylinder petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 155 mph

0-62mph: 4.9 secs

Combined MPG: 17.3

Insurance Group:371 g/km

C02 emissions: 50

Bik rating: 37 %

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