Rolls Royce Dawn (Price, as tested, £292,850)


A JAW-dropping drop-top from the past masters in luxury motoring


I IMAGINE if you are the kind of person that gets overawed by having £300,000 worth of car sat on your driveway then you are probably not the target audience.

This, I admit, was me when I arrived home in possession of the stunning Rolls Royce Dawn.

For several minutes I just sat there, soaking up the sights and smells.

I could feel the curtains twitching as I opened a driver's door that had all the grandeur of those that welcome guests into a state ballroom.

Rear-hinged, they add a sense of theatre to the operation, as if one was needed.

There was more theatre to be had when I took my boys out for a ride, the lingering warmth of the summer sun giving added incentive to lower the roof.

Balletic does not do the mechanical wizardry employed in the process justice.

The whole operation takes a little over 20 seconds, and can be done at speeds up to 30mph.

Under the bonnet is a V12 engine that puts out 563bhp and 605lb ft of torque. When compared to the rest of the car it is rather disappointing to look at, but its statistics speak for themselves. It may weigh in at 2.56 tonnes, but the Dawn is capable of nought to 60mph in 4.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph.

It's a big unit in a big unit, but it's as quiet as a church mouse when you need it to be. Push down on the accelerator and that huge bonnet rises up like the prow of an ocean liner, then initiates a statesmanlike drop as it complies with the driver's demands.

The ride, as you might imagine, is simply sublime. You feel the car adjusting beneath you to every contour of the road, ironing out every undue undulation and ensuring a fluster free journey.


ALMOST every aspect of the Dawn's interior has a top drawer look and feel to it - almost, that is.

For while there are plenty of bespoke items within the cosseted confines there are a few areas that look a little familiar. It's nit-picking to a degree, but the Bentley, to my mind, probably pips it to the post in the refinement stakes.

You'd expect living room equivalent space and the Dawn does not disappoint whether you are up front or sat avoiding the prying eyes in the rear.

If you are a big shot in every sense of the word you won't want for head or leg room and if your commute requires you to work on the go or scan the shares column in the FT there's more than enough space to spread out. Roof up, you can barely hear anything but your own breathing and even with the top down it remains an ocean of calm inside.


AS well as equipment you would expect, our Dawn also featured RR monogrammed headrests, lambswool floor mats, 21ins 14-spoke park polished alloy wheels, body colour wheel centres, uplit Spirit of Ecstasy, Black Shadow line, aero cowling, silver pinstripes, RR inlay to monitor lid, seat piping in seashell, full natural grain leather, two-tone steering wheel in black and seashell, door contrast feature, bespoke umbrellas and illuminated tread plates.

Options fitted to our car included Rolls Royce bespoke audio, camera system offering rear, side and top views, front massage seats, front ventilated seats, comfort entry system, television tuner, Driver Assistance Package, WiFi hotspot preparation, advance Bluetooth integration and adaptive LED headlights.


ALL things are relative, and I doubt many Dawn drivers are required to ' just pop to Aldi and get some milk love' as I was. No, like the aforementioned Bentley I tested earlier in the year, this is a car that the owners place the keys for in the hands of valets. That said, given ample room, it is not a car you need to be too frightened of. Once you get used to the length and girth it's actually easy to manoeuvre, though I did breathe in on a couple of occasions while negotiating narrow country lanes and humped back bridges on the North York Moors.

Getting in and out in a respectful manner is easy thanks to those wide-opening doors, which operate at the touch of a button. They also have a neat soft-closing feature, meaning no unseemly thuds.

Our car featured a stylish carbon fibre and aluminium aero cowling, which works on the assumption there is only yourself and one other aboard as it takes up the rear seating area. A two-man job to lift in and out, it creates additional storage space and gives the car a sleek profile with the roof down.

The boot itself offers 295 litres of load space, which is more than enough for that continental break or visit to the Home Counties.


ROLLS Royce say it should be possible to get a return of 19.9mpg on the combined cycle. I managed 19.3mpg. CO2 emissions are best ignored, coming in as they do at 326g/km.


Like driving an event, not a car


Bentley Mulsanne