The Dawn is not a Wraith drop-top, remember, although it does use the same BMW-based architecture.

It has the same wheelbase and the same twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 engine driving through the same eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Nobody does pinstripes quite like Rolls-Royce. On the Dawn they are applied by hand using a squirrel-hair brush

Nonetheless, experience has shown us that it’s still possible to give broadly similar cars very different characters. And although the Dawn is intended to have a character that’s different from the Wraith’s, to our mind the Dawn will have an even greater need to feel different from the Phantom Drophead Coupé.

From the off, then, it’s worth noting that the Dawn makes rather a lot less power than the Wraith. The engine comes in Ghost output, at 563bhp at 5250rpm and 575lb ft at 1500rpm, some way shy of the Wraith’s 624bhp and 590lb ft.

It’s still Rolls-Royce’s most powerful drophead, though. The Phantom drophead’s larger-capacity 6.75-litre V12 makes 110bhp less and suggests that the bigger car is an altogether more relaxed performer again: a 5.6-metre-long pseudo-limousine with a 2630kg kerb weight.

When we say the Dawn is smaller and lighter than that, though, these things are relative. If Rolls-Royce hadn’t managed to fit four full seats into a 5285mm length, you’d have to ask questions. And forgoing the Phantom’s aluminium architecture, the Dawn still officially tips the scales at 2560kg.

That’s due in part to the sheer size of the hardware, but also to the amount of luxury the car is asked to carry; an electrically adjustable seat with the amount of plush that Rolls throws at it can weigh 100kg or more.

Then there’s the roof. Rolls says it’s the quietest open-top car yet made – quieter even than the Phantom drophead.

And it opens in 20 seconds, at vehicle speeds of up to 31mph, in as near to silence as Rolls can manage. Which means, without question, that it’s heavy – as is the wood-finished deck that rises and closes above or below it when it’s down or up.

Suspension settings for the air springs and active anti-roll bars are different from those of the Ghost and Wraith, and they are aimed at giving the Dawn a character of its own while also compensating for its reduced torsional rigidity, a direct result of the removal of a fixed roof. 

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