We tested the Rolls – Royce Dawn: the sky as the only roof

so That you can enjoy the ride!,” he tells me James Warren with his youthful smile while close my hand with decision. In the axis of the courtyard of the factory Rolls – Royce, in front of a small pond surrounded by lavender and the green wilds of West Sussex as a horizon, I expected the Dawn. Looks like a sculpture that the team Nicholas Grimshaw would have chosen when designing the factory and is not difficult to understand why the own Warren was referring to the car the previous evening with an adjective as surprising as “sexy“. The Dawn is the only convertible in the current range of the brand, the car has been the most emotional of all those produced and the model with which closes the first stage of its revival, under the umbrella of BMW. And today I have the fortune of having been invited to the home of Rolls – Royce at Goodwood to try it out and tell you what it feels like.

A sculpture rolling

Wang Yuyang, Identity, 2016. With thanks to Cass Sculpture Foundation and the artist.

Just a few kilometers away from the new and modern factory of the brand is the Cass Foundation, a downtown charity dedicated to the promotion of sculpture. In its interior “A beautiful disorder” it includes 17 sculptures by chinese artists that explore the new cultural landscape of the country through their creativity. Surrounded by the green countryside of West Sussex and works created by chinese artists for this site, the Dawn is shown as a complex work in the design history and visual culture play a decisive role.

although having A few dimensions of battle, pathways and length very similar to those of the Wraith and share engine and transmission with the Ghost, 80% of the panels of his body are new and in his approach the main goal is to thrill you. Inspired by the ultra-rare Dawn of 1950 (only 28 units built), this convertible is a corollary of what “enjoyment for the senses” means in the modern Rolls – Royce: the softness, subtlety and elegance of the traditional brand re-interpreted wisely in a product thoroughly modern whose visual language breaks the popular notion of what should be a car of the “double R”. One of the sculptures exposed in the Cass is “Identity“, Wang Yuyang, a reflection on the recent past and the present of the chinese culture. The Dawn of their time, with their sculptural forms, reflects the intense process of reinvention of tradition faced by Rolls – Royce since 2003.

Eva Rothschild, This and This and This, 2013. With thanks to Cass Sculpture Foundation and the artist.

As in any Rolls – Royce the interior space is captivating, but not the size. Like some buildings suggest sensations such as calm or peace of mind without that is easy to explain the specific cause, inside the Dawn in addition to comprehensive is a place at once serene and exciting. The driver is surrounded by the stile of the door and the exquisite dash and prominent centre console that defined a command post comfortable and snug like a tailored suit: this is a car to enjoy from the driver’s seat. However a Rolls – Royce can not neglect the passengers and it boasts, with a curious terminology, of be the open “most social” brand. At the back are two seats almost as comfortable as that of a Ghost embraced by the curved closing of the roof that, in the words of Giles Taylor, recalls, “the neck up of a jacket”.

The Dawn is a corollary of what “enjoyment for the senses” means at Rolls – Royce

upholstery leather-Tangerine with details Blue Marine has an impeccable finish and wraps constantly to the occupants in an orange glow as if the minor is traveling in a sunset of the Coast Blue. Buttons, drawers and doors function with much precision and delicacy that we always have the feeling of having pressed too strong, while the logo of the “double R” is in each small detail to remind us where we are. The doors, which open in the direction of travel and display a fitted interior worthy of a catalogue of Hermes, are closed electrically in silence by pressing a button. The inner space is a sublime place, but in the Dawn is special precisely because it is not sealed off from the outside world as in a Ghost or Phantom, , but merges with it.

The Côte d’azur begins at the door of your house


But something that distinguishes the new Rolls – Royce is its eagerness to ensure that their products are not only full of luxury but are excellent cars, so to appreciate it you have to travel with him. We close the door, insert the key and push the start button. As he remembered the Ghost, the sound of the engine when awakening arrives in the passenger compartment, like a distant roar, even with the hood open, and without the slightest vibration. The box illuminates, the lid of the central control system opens and started to walk with hardly more sound than the huge wheels of 21” rolling on the cobblestones of the courtyard of the factory.

The driving position which condenses the spirit of the brand. As in all the cars of Goodwood the steering wheel is too big and your rim is fine, something that surprises you. However when rolling with him it is understood that this steering wheel is a hint to the driver: a Rolls – Royce, even one as emotional as this, driving with three fingers, not holding on to the steering wheel with force. The car responds with the speed and precision of a much smaller, but this set of leadership and steering wheel invites you to guide you with sweetness, something that will also help to keep under control their 2500 kg. Somehow it seems that it is the Dawn who leads us to us and not the other way around. Behind the wheel, the lever that manages the change has only 4 positions: Parking, Reverse, neutral and Forward. There is no manual mechanism to manage the way in which we move, because the box of 8-speed transmission guided by satellite is in charge of choosing always the best available option and, as we shall see later, he does it very well. The promise of this car is to take us wherever fast, effortless and with a style unmatched.


however the real world does not always have glamour enough for a Dawn. Inspired by the language with which the brand presented the car I’m heading to the coast thinking of the “Dolce Vita” and the cote d’azur, but in a few kilometers see me on the A27 surrounded by a dense traffic and slowed down by the works. And how is that driving a Rolls – Royce convertible in the real world? think. Far from being distressing to think that the Dawn is, as a machine to move, almost perfect.

As a machine to scroll the Dawn is almost perfect

No, he is not shaken by the emotions of such a special round, there is a reason more mundane: this was my first time driving with the steering wheel to the right and, in addition to the advice of my friend Miguel García Puente, was the car that made the solventase with dignity. Everything is designed to help the driver. The mechanics, with an engine as sweet as a power, a direction that is extraordinarily smooth, and a gearbox that seems to monomarcha make attention to driving can concentrate on guiding the car, which in addition has an excellent visibility with the hood open. The electronic systems of driving assistance (control adaptatitivo cruise, braking, automatic, assistance, lane change…) take care of us constantly, something that especially helps on the narrow roads English since the Dawn is 1’95 m. width-excluding mirrors. In the 103EX the brand envisioned for the future an artificial intelligence called Eleanor that would lead the car. Good part of that Eleanor has been with us in the Dawn and gives a lot of peace of mind.

The spirit of C. S. Rolls


a few miles in the cabin of the Dawn began to relax and feel that that subtle proposal to the senses is filtered through our pores, the traffic seems less heavy, the landscape floods the passenger compartment and at an intersection a distant roar reminds us of the existence of the engine. despite its 563 HP and 820 Nm V12 6’6 biturbo is not intended to warn us of his presence constantly with a tone that might be too much for the exquisite pattern of liking of the brand.

With the hood open the ejercicio to accelerate the car is intoxicating and we look for any excuse to repeat it again and again

Its operation is a discretion that depletes the adjectives and the response to the accelerator is so well calibrated that the accelerations are unusually soft unless pisemos the throttle with a suddenness to which the car is not invited. The box guided by satellite makes the changes imperceptible and the overwhelming torque allows to circulate in the gears longer even if you roll at low speed. The engine is simply a server discrete and effective as a steward of novel. Until requested to do so.

To accelerate with decision from low-speed, the V12 responds with a distant roar that soon becomes a breath metallic whose ring wraps around the ears and adds a sensorial dimension genuine. The volume is soft, but the bellow is tight and powerful, while maintaining a relentless with absolute delicacy while it seems that it is the world, who flies around as was the case in the Ghost. With the top down the exercise to accelerate the car is intoxicating and we look for any excuse to repeat it again and again: the tone of the engine fills the Dawn and the car lunges forward with such serenity that it is hard to believe what is read on the speedometer until, with the car launched, the wind finish by masking the sound of the engine that is still pushing as if I could defy the force of gravity. The Dawn is not only a convertible to tour the boardwalk, in addition to a car very fast able to devour any road.


With the launch of the Wraith (the car is the source of this Dawn, Rolls – Royce made it all an exercise in language to not use the word “sporting”, something that would appear to sterile in an industry where the elaborate discourses of marketing are as important characters. After trying the Dawn much more appreciation that exercise in precision verbal because in the region unexplored between the sportiness and speed the brand has found a niche own.

In the region unexplored between the sportiness and speed the brand has found a niche own

unlike the hiperberlinas German (and the convertible that derive from them), the Dawn is intended to be exciting without porting the driver to sensations that remind the competition. Your proposal, superior performance with comfort and ease-of-use exquisite, comes from a time almost forgotten in the industry full of challenges between “gentlemen”, was the Alpine Trial, the Blue Train or the ascent of Everest, in which the style matter almost as much as the performance. The combination of the courage and sportsmanship of C. S. Rolls with the engineering and obsessively perfectionist Henry Royce gave rise to a few cars, Rolls – Royce, at the beginning of the TWENTIETH century were the protagonists of all kinds of challenges. Those temeridades have no place in our time, but circulating with vividness on the narrow roads of West Sussex is perceived that philosophy. The car runs a serene way but overwhelming, the engine is subtle but powerful to our ears. The spins are smooth, and the work of the damping superb. Only surprised the firmness with which you have to use the brake pedal, as in the case of the Ghost, but if you think we are moving in a car for more than 5 meters and 2500 kg it is a good reminder to keep your sanity. In driving on the open road, and surrounded by a unique landscape the car conveys a type of emotion in the driving that the brand has known how to capture genuinely and in which good sportsmanship, don’t miss.

A gentleman with a hat


With the roof closed it is as quiet as a Wraith. It is not a manner of speaking, is what we have measured” I said to Warren minutes before you bring me the car, and certainly it is true. Also what is that the car is transformed to “wear the hat”: the angle of the A-pillar to the windshield and the narrow windows formed a silhouette of roof under which remembers the body Art Deco of the 30’s, and acquires a look for something more aggressive that, in addition, is substantially different from the Wraith.

The soft top closes in just 22 seconds and, with it, set is as silent as a Wraith

The canopy closes (or opens) only 22 seconds with a silence so eerie that being on the street has to look back to verify that it is moving. With it on the Dawn returns that genuine feeling of a bubble and isolation so familiar to the Ghost and Phantom, and you can travel in complete silence and without vibration. But the attractive roof line also reduces the glass area and the brightness in the interior, where the visibility decreases and the orange leather upholstery stands out less. Transforms into an attractive coupe (or “two door saloon” in the language of the brand) but the car does not take long to convince us that the best way to lead is with the sky as a roof.

With it open we do not reach the Costa Azul, but yes to the the English Channel to the little Bognor Regis, where members of the royal family used to go to cure their diseases in the first half of the TWENTIETH century. We parked along the seafront promenade, in front of the old Carlton. With the hood open the upholstery orange of Dawn seems to give the beach a different tone. The horizontal line that runs along the car from the nose to the drivers rear is aligned with the horizon of truth seems to be that it is a car designed for contemplate along the coast. Soon approaching some people that roamed the area “ Is this your car sir? Can we take a photo with him?” A Rolls – Royce cause excitement even to a few tens of miles of their factory, and this is not one either. “I heard that now the “lady” at times is concealed under the hood, not like when I was little we always went to the wind,” said an octogenarian who has approached to talk to me. “So is knight, this is the latest model of Rolls…” I say to him as if he were my grandfather. “Is a precious car isn’t afraid to park on the street?”, he tells thoughtful.


I contemplate between the sea and the old buildings of Bognor. Rolls – Royce is still today synonymous with the the maximum expression of luxury in any angle, and the car is a piece of that just manufactured a few hundred: find here parked is so unlikely as to see someone with a Louboutin in a supermarket. But since its rebirth, Rolls – Royce has also worked obsessively for their cars to become to be worthy of the title awarded over a century ago to the Silver Ghost of “best car in the world”. This is a vehicle that is almost perfect, a machine to move with the maximum comfort and performance possible, and built with perfection in every detail, from the management of the gearbox to the opening of the compartment of the glove box. I look at Him, and, beyond the icon of luxury, the Dawn seems to me a car is absolutely desirable, and with which to enjoy any route.

Well, is that the “lady” also likes to hang out once in a while…,“ I say, smiling at the old man, and took the way back to Goodwood. After touching the sky, should I go back to put the feet on the ground.

Photos: Cass Foundation: Wang Yuyang, Identity, 2016. With thanks to Cass Sculpture Foundation and the artist / Eva Rothschild, This and This and This, 2013. With thanks to Cass Sculpture Foundation and the artist | motor
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