Rolls-Royce Dawn (European Specification) Engine: 6.6-liter, V12, gasoline, 570 PS, 575 lbft. Transmission: 8 speed automatic gearbox, rear-wheel drive. Acceleration 0-62 mph: 4.9 seconds. Top speed: Limited to 155 mph Weight: 5644 lbs. Dimensions (length/height/width): 5285/1502/1947 mm. Price (Swedish market): $303 388 USD (As tested: $441 404 USD).
Patek Phillipe is the Rolls-Royce of watches, the Mona Lisa is the Rolls-Royce of paintings and Rolls-Royce is the, um, Rolls-Royce of automobiles; an expression used to describe that which is unrivaled. Rolls-Royce has finally decided to enlighten the mundane every-day lives of us Scandinavians: they are officially entering the Swedish market. After several experiences of becoming weak at the knees and having difficulty breathing each and every time I have laid eyes upon a Rolls-Royce in the wild, the day has now come where I will get to drive one. More specifically I would be driving Rolls-Royce’s latest addition – the Dawn. A theater on wheels for the world to look upon and wonder: “who is behind the wheel of that thing?” To see how being a celebrity for a day really is like, I flew to Munich to pick up the brand-new Rolls-Royce Dawn.
A Rolls-Royce is not interested in numbers. The price is irrelevant, the performance should be adequate and the handling should be just right. The car is focused on turning every trip into an experience, both for you and for others. Every inch of a Rolls-Royce has been developed with the sole focus on making each of the car’s occupants feel as notable as possible. The Rolls-Royce Dawn is an enormous car which has been designed with ships in mind. It moves forward with the same aplomb and weight as a tank. Looks-wise it is a brilliant thing which oozes of class and wealth. It is not provocative in any way, rather it is fairy-tale like. The proportions are impeccable and the design is unique. Rolls-Royce has chosen to lead by example.
When you get into the car and press the button for the doors to close, you become encapsulated within a bubble. All your chores and responsibilities are left outside and you are totally isolated from your surroundings. Even though the Dawn is a cabriolet, the sound level is comparable to that of the Orfield Laboratory. The sheep wool carpets are profoundly pleasant but at the same time incredibly impractical – a pair of shoes which you were only when driving the Dawn are a must. The level of detail is so high that I would not be surprised if Rolls-Royce used a microscope when the interior was designed. Naturally you recognize some elements from BMW but everything has gone through a Rolls-Royce-ifcation. The graphics on the infotainment system are noticeably more attractive and offer more of a minimalistic look – something which stays true to the Rolls-Royce philosophy. One example being the fact that you cannot set a temperature on the AC – instead you have to move a slider where blue stands for cold and red for warm. The seats would make all chiropractors cry tears of joy as a result of their ergonomics.
The Rolls-Royce is like a puzzle – all the small pieces make up the whole. Although it is when you grab the steering wheel, which is as thin as a sail boats' but just as big , when the experience really takes off. With the push of a button you hear the starter engine waking up the beast of a V12 to life. Once you put the column-mounted gear lever into “D” the car is ready for the ride of your lifetime. One does not drive a Rolls-Royce, one experiences it. However cliché that may sound, it is the truth. The steering is so light that you can maneuver with your pinky which relates to the Dawn not asking anything of its driver; the driver is to make as little of an effort as possible. You just have the steer the ship and relish the moment. Even if the Rolls-Royce Dawn has impressive performance figures, the most important part is the insane amount of torque available not far from idle. There is no need to give it any gas in order to feel how you are engulfed in a quilt of power. The Rolls-Royce Dawn is responsive and changes gear as softly as a warm knife cutting through butter.
It comes as no surprise that the Rolls-Royce Dawn has the means to feel at home in the outside lane of the German motorway. The pedal to the metal results in a wave of power – it never feels explosive although nor does it feel like continental drift. As I stated earlier the Dawn remains a car which you drive in a breezy manner. You feel as much in a hurry as a pensioner on a vacation. If you fold down the roof – a process which Rolls-Royce refers to as a silent ballet – you get to experience the outside world just the right amount. Despite the roof being down, you remain in isolation – it is like having a private island: you are out in the open but completely cut off from the world. To state that you receive a lot of attention is an understatement of colossal proportion – the number of eyes which you attract is equivalent to the cars price in cents. The difference between the Rolls-Royce Dawn and other expensive automobiles is that the attention is solely of positive nature. It is inside a Rolls-Royce where one experiences the world in the best possible way and the Dawn gives you the option of doing it in complete isolation or to the soft song of nature. No matter which way you choose, you can look upon the vast hood (big enough to host the Noble Prize dinner), and you are guided by the famous Spirit of Ecstasy.
When you drive on the highway, other road users literally do everything in their power to make your progress that much easier. You feel like a rock star plowing through a group of fans with help from body guards. The Rolls-Royce merely scoffs at any imperfections in the road and simply wobbles its way forward. On back roads, with the roof down, you feel how it is in its right element. Saying that the Dawn dances through corners is a lie, rather it negotiates its way ahead. It tells the corners that here comes a star, let it happen in such an undramatic way as possible and that is exactly what occurs.
Saying that the Rolls-Royce Dawn is worth the money is easy when you do not have to pay for it. However, I cannot emphasize enough how unique the driving experience it delivers is. It turns each day into something fairy-tale like and is so much more than just a mode of transport, it is a lifestyle. You tell the world in the most worthy and proper manner possible that you have made it. People around you look up to you in a way which makes it seem like they think you have won the Nobel Peace prize. Since I actually did not buy the car, it works as an incredible motivator. The fact remains though that I am just a petrolhead with the world’s best job. The Rolls-Royce Dawn – the perfect reason to get up in the morning.