Pursuitist was among a select group of media invited to take part in the unveiling of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn this morning and what we saw was spectacular.
The 2016 Dawn was inspired by the 1950 Silver Dawn and at a glance appears to be built on the platform first used on Wraith. Rolls-Royce is quick to point out, however, this new car is more than merely a Wraith convertible. Eighty-percent of the body panels on the Dawn are new, as are the wheels and tires. The car’s chassis has been redesigned to make it the most rigid four-seat convertible on the market and the suspension has been specifically tuned for the challenges presented by an open topped car.
Key differences can be seen in the headlamps and fascia where the grille has been recessed by approximately 45mm and the lower front bumper has been extended 53mm compared to Wraith. The side panels are more sculpted, giving Dawn decidedly sexy curves. And the rear deck tapers off slightly creating a continuous, harmonious line from the from to the rear. Dawn has a more athletic look than any of its predecessors with a stance that’s 24mm wider than a Ghost and a wheelbase that’s 180mm shorter.
The open-pore Canadel wood decklid is book matched creating a waterfall effect that connects the exterior and interior of the car, which of course features Rolls-Royce exclusive hand sewn Mandarin leathers. Unlike most convertibles, Dawn is not a 2+2 but a true four-seater, creating a luxurious experience for the driver and each of the passengers. This is a Rolls-Royce that’s a little more relaxed, a little more fun, a little more social than other cars in the brand’s range.
Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce says, “Dawn is a Rolls-Royce that feels completely at home on the Route Napoleon. It is a contemporary homage to a life on the Côte d’Azur. The car is a contemporary take on the ‘Casino’ lifestyle. Perhaps seen as cavalier in character it is intended to attract people who relish both freedom and sophistication.”
As expected, Dawn features Rolls-Royce signature V12 powerplant which is tuned to produce 563 horsepower and 575 pound feet of torque. Enhanced accelerator pedal mapping improves responsiveness by 30%. The engine is mated to an eight-speed satellite-aided automatic transmission, for the same effortless and seamless driving experience we’ve come to love in Wraith.
On the road, with its top up, Dawn is said to be as quiet as Wraith and features a custom audio system with sixteen speakers placed for optimal sound in a convertible.
While we’ll wait to deliver any final judgements until we get behind the wheel of Dawn, key takeaways from this launch are that Rolls-Royce is committed to delivering cars that appeal to the younger end of the Ultra-high net worth individual crowd and are doing so without straying too far from the brand’s core values. Pricing has not been officially announced, but you can expect the base to be somewhere between $325,000 and $345,000. Given all this we’re certain Dawn will do very well for Rolls, and wouldn’t be surprised if they sell between 1,000 and 1,500 cars in the first year of production.