Rolls-Royce rings in the new Dawn

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars | Dawn – Australasian Launch

Article written by – Peter Anderson

MyDrive | Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

It’s not often you can say that you’ve seen a car on the deck of a yacht in Sydney Harbour and it’s an even rarer sight when that car is a new Rolls-Royce. But on the upper deck of the super yacht Tango, there sat the Rolls Royce Dawn, the British carmaker’s newest model that the company says will help attract new buyers who have never before considered one.

As ever, Rolls Royce isn’t mucking about when they break out the calculator – the Dawn starts at a hefty $749,000, including on-roads. While the company is at pains to say it isn’t just a Wraith convertible (or “drophead” in Goodwoodese), that’s probably the best way to think about it.

That pricetag sets the Dawn at just over $100,000 over the Wraith coupe. While the roof has been lopped off, those beautiful long rearward opening doors remain. Proportionally, you’re in no doubt that a) it’s a Rolls and b) there’s a huge engine under the snout.

Having said that, there’s a different feel around the front from the Wraith. The grille and bumper treatments are more shapely and less bluff, softening the appearance or as Rolls puts it, making the car less “formal.”

Michael Schneider, GM of Sales for Rolls Royce in Asia Pacific, explained the difference to MyDrive. “The Phantom is more of a dinner suit car, you bring it out on special occasions. The Ghost is more of a business car – it’s a car you can use every day.”

When it comes to Wraith and Ghost, he says they’re more informal, more casual. As if to press the point, both he and the Dawn’s product manager Jonathan Shears, attended the launch in (gasp!) open-collared shirts.

Schneider also explained that Wraith, and by implication Dawn, is bringing younger buyers and, crucially, more female interest. When asked who he expects the Dawn buyer to be and whether they will be conquest sales, Schneider’s answer was interesting.

“The Wraith’s average age is lower, down into the 50s and 40s. We’re seeing more young entrepreneurs coming to the brand and we think Dawn will bring even more new customers.”

To extrapolate, the cliche of the young dot-com billionaire buying a Ferrari seems to be on the wane, if only slightly. As a sideline, the average option spend on each Rolls Royce is about $60,000, oddly in line with the company’s exact opposite, Ferrari.

Images by Peter Anderson | UK Dealership Launch Images by Joseph Fiddimore
Video Edit by MyDrive Media – In-House Production

For those interested in the technical specs, the long bonnet houses Rolls’ 6.6 litre twin turbo V12. Power weighs in at 420kW and a whopping 780Nm of torque and reaches the road via the rear wheels and ZF’s ubiquitous 8-speed automatic transmission. Added to that is Goodwood’s very clever satellite-aided transmission that makes decisions based on the sat-nav’s knowledge of the road ahead.

Performance is still on the good side of adequate, the 2.5 tonne Dawn reaching 100km/h in a tick under five seconds and on to a governed 250km/h. Fuel economy is listed as 14.2l/100km on the combined cycle but most owners will see 21.4l/100km on the urban.

As with any Rolls, the focus is on a serene experience, but at this level, the driver is also far more likely to be the owner, so the chassis is a little more interested in delivering some fun.

The triple-layer roof retracts quickly and silently, neatly packed away under a flat deck trimmed in part with a beautiful wood treatment. Inside is super-plush and immaculately presented, with plenty of wood or whatever takes your fancy as long as you have the funds to match your imagination.

The huge 10.25 touch screen can be hidden away behind a motorised flap, the dash looking like the best of the 1950s craftsmanship and style, with precious few buttons. The only obvious concession to modernity is the big rotary dial borrowed from Rolls’ parent company, BMW.

Shears says that after having front and rear axles delivered from Germany, as well as all the engine and transmission installations, the 1500-strong workforce takes about 200 hours to hand-build the Dawn. He also says that the Wraith and Dawn share just twenty percent of their parts.

Australian deliveries of Dawn will commence soon.


  • Price From $749,000
  • Performance 0 – 100kmh 4.9sec 0 – 62mph 4.9sec
  • Safety 5-star
  • Seats 4
  • Engine 6.6L Twin Turbo V12-cyl, premium unleaded, 420kW/563bhp/780Nm
  • Transmission 8-speed ZF Gearbox, RWD
  • Turning circle 12.7m diameter
  • Thirst 14.2L/100km, 330g/km CO2 Tank 58L
  • Dimensions 5285mm (L), 1947mm (W), 1502mm (H)

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