Test Drive

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Rolls Royce

Dawn Lets The Sunshine In

hf-rolls5Since the moment  Mr. Rolls met Mr. Royce on September 27, 1904, Sir Henry’s mantra, “Take the best that exists and make it better, and when it does not exist, design it,” has driven Rolls-Royce innovation, and the stunning new Dawn motor car is no exception.

I’ll always remember my novice experience with the Rolls-Royce Phantom. It was San Francisco Bay on a summer afternoon in 2008. From that day forth, my perception of the hierarchy within the automotive world would never be the same.

Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to give the Ghost, and most recently the Wraith a good run for their money. A journey, which is what each ride becomes in any one of these remarkable automobiles, has such a truly unique feel that I’d gladly take a blindfold challenge to identify that legendary RR sense and sensibility—but not, of course, from behind the wheel.

hf-rolls4As much as each model has its own story, it’s safe to say that anything this factory builds is honour-bound to showcase the brand’s commitment to sophisticated technology, hallmark classic design and ultra-bespoke finish-ing. The devil, it seems, is happily in the detail.

First glance
I was formally introduced to the charismatic Dawn at the star-studded Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel at a by-invitation press event. Our Guildford-based hosts were showcasing three Rolls-Royce models along with a stunning 1952 Silver Dawn, the inspiration for the 2016 edition.

It cannot be denied that any RR has an impressive presence and the Dawn seems to be no exception. Step inside this super-luxury four-seater convertible, as driver or passenger, and you can’t help but feel, and act, like royalty.

The Dawn’s grand front-opening coach doors pull themselves quietly to a close. Wrapped in quiet, sanctoral  elegance I sink my feet into the soft wool carpeting that cossets the spacious interior. My hands glide over sensual precious woods and veneers and handsome hand-stitched banks of leather that have been custom crafted along with beautiful chrome knobs and switches. Simply enthralling, both inside and out.

Celebrating the Dawn
Dynamic angles and sleek surfaces create a classic, lasting impression. But, under the hood, we’re in sports car territory. The Dawn reveals her assertive soul the minute I touch the accelerator. Freedom meets control as the surging 6.6-litre V12 twin turbo 560 hp engine launches with a powerful, elegant ease to 100 km/hr in 4.4 seconds—remarkable for a car of this size. Effortless, yet precise steering and agility bely the car’s 5,600 lb weight, and further acceleration is so smooth it makes it next to impossible to detect
up- or downshifting in any driving mode. And, thanks to GPS links, all Rolls transmission settings can now actually “recognize the road” to anticipate changes in elevation, road conditions and upcoming directions, and slow down or adjust accordingly.

Only bespoke
Rolls-Royce offers 44,000 stunning exterior colour hues from which owners can choose. Paint is applied after five coats of primer and sealed with a high-gloss clear-coat finish. And each car is hand-built to order at the Goodwood factory in England to facilitate special requests.

Arresting charm
The Dawn is a powerfully seductive addition to the Rolls-Royce family and a dream come true for owners, who will enjoy the time-honoured prestige and thrill of driving a very special motor-car.

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