This is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Rolls-Royce ever. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the Rolls-Royce Dawn, which is essentially the drophead version of the Ghost-based Wraith coupe. Tagged by the automaker as the “world’s only true modern four-seater super-luxury drophead,” the name takes inspiration from the original ‘Silver Dawn’ models, extremely exclusive drophead models made between 1950 and 1954.

The new Dawn gets 80% unique body panels, specially-developed tyres to deliver the ‘magic carpet’ ride that is expected of every Rolls-Royce as well as a roof that promises the silence of a Wraith when up. The latter is claimed to operate in almost complete silence in just over 20 seconds at a cruising speed up to 50 km/h. Rolls-Royce says it’s the quietest open-top car ever made.

“In the world of Rolls-Royce, day-to-day mathematical norms don’t always apply. That’s why I say in the case of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2+2 does not equal 4,” said the automaker’s director of design Giles Taylor.


Commonly held, a 2+2 is a configuration with seating for the driver and one passenger in the front, plus two smaller seats for occasional passengers or children in the rear. This isn’t the case here, apparently – RR says that it has built a car with “no compromise in terms of comfort and luxury for four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”

The new Dawn maintains timeless Rolls-Royce design principles – a 2:1 wheel height-to-body ratio, a long bonnet, short front overhang, a long rear overhang, an elegant tapering rear graphic and a high shoulder line. The vehicle appears poised, taught and ready to go, especially with the bespoke 21-inch polished and 21- or 20-inch painted wheels on offer.

It’s seen here in its hero specification of Midnight Sapphire exterior and Mandarin leather interior. Open-pore Canadel paneling traces the horse-shoe shape of the rear cabin, and the wood on the deck – to be chosen by customers to their individual tastes – flows down the ‘Waterfall’ between the rear seats and around the cabin, clothing the interior door panels.

The unique coach doors are said to add significantly to the overall strength and stiffness of the body, as they allow the construction of an uninterrupted A-pillar. But make no mistake, the engineering highlight of the Dawn is the new roof.

A perfectly smooth surface, combined with an innovative tailored ‘French Seam’ ensures that the air-flow over the car with the roof up creates no noticeable wind noise. For the more acoustically inclined, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Audio system has 16 individually-tuned speakers, with both theatre and studio settings. This includes two bass speakers in the boot and seven tweeters throughout the cabin.

In terms of performance, the heart and soul of the Dawn is its twin-turbo 6.6 litre V12, which produces 563 hp and 780 Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed ZF gearbox. The driving experience is enhanced by dynamic accelerator pedal mapping which delivers up to 30% increased response at medium throttle.

Even with an unladened weight of 2,560 kg, the Dawn will hit 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, before maxing out at an electronically-governed 250 km/h. It is perhaps not that surprising that is has a combined consumption range of 14.2 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 330 g/km.

Inside, the Dawn is fitted with a “Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller,” basically an iDrive Touch system dressed-up in RR clothing. Like the Wraith, the Dawn features Satelite Aided Transmission, a system that uses GPS data to allow the car to anticipate a driver’s next move based on location and driving style.

Below are two videos, the official commercial and another rather lengthy one featuring Rolls-Royce’s chief exec Torsten Müller-Ötvös and Jodie Kidd at the home of RR in Goodwood, heralding the launch of the Dawn.