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The Rolls-Royce Dawn Drophead Coupe Has Finally Been Revealed

Made for those who prefer to drive than be driven, the Dawn is a peek into the marque’s future…

  • Deliveries of the Dawn are set to begin in April 2016.

  • Rolls-Royce has not yet announced pricing.

  • The convertible is powered by a 563 hp V-12 that generates 575 ft lbs of torque.

  • Its 8-speed transmission uses GPS data to select the optimal gear.

  • The chassis is adapted from the marque’s Wraith and Ghost models.

  • A 16-speaker audio system employs a microphone to automatically adjust the volume.

  • Rolls-Royce claims the Dawn is the quietest open-top car ever made

 

Casting off the shroud of secrecy that swirled around the car for months, Rolls-Royce publicly revealed its latest creation, the Rolls-Royce Dawn drophead coupe, in a live webcast this morning ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show. Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös gave Robb Report an exclusive preview of the Dawn during the 2015 Monterey Car Week in August.

Described by Müller-Ötvös as “an alternative Rolls-Royce,” the new 2+2 convertible is a departure from the rest of the company’s current lineup. Smaller than the two-door Wraith, but slightly longer than the four-door Ghost Series II, the Dawn is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 6.6-liter V-12 that produces 563 hp and 575 ft lbs of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed, satellite-aided automatic transmission, which uses GPS data from the navigation system to select the optimal gear based on the current driving route.

The name is a nod to the Silver Dawn drophead coupe—a small, lightweight Rolls-Royce produced between 1950 and 1954. The company produced only 28 examples equipped with the convertible body style. Like the Silver Dawn, today’s Dawn drophead coupe was designed for those who want to drive, rather than to be driven. The new Dawn also represents a shift in the brand’s nomenclature, from names drawn from the supernatural to a sunnier, more optimistic denotation.

“We are moving away from ethereal names,” says Eric Shepherd, president of Rolls-Royce North America. “It’s the sense of a new start.”

Underneath the Dawn is a chassis that borrows elements from both the Wraith and the Ghost, but with all-new bodywork on the majority of the car. Exhibiting the low-slung stance typical to Rolls-Royce models, the Dawn seems to have a dual personality. With the top up, its clamshell design—especially when coated in Midnight Sapphire, a dark metallic blue—has a more conservative appeal. With the top down, it reveals a more playful, carefree personality, sporting orange-hued Mandarin leather and porous rosewood trim that seems to elicit every onlooker’s touch.

“We wanted a feeling of sensuality, of wind in your hair,” says Rolls-Royce bespoke designer Alex Innes.

 

Designers and engineers were able to finesse the Dawn’s proportions to fit four adults comfortably, focusing in particular on the rear seats. Keeping the interior quiet was also a top priority, and the carmaker claims the Dawn is the quietest open-top car ever made. Six layers of fabric on the automatically retractable soft-top help to keep the interior insulated and provide the best acoustics. In addition, the standard 16-speaker Bespoke Audio system uses an internal microphone to monitor cabin noise and automatically adjust volume and tone settings.

As with every Rolls-Royce, the Dawn can be customized in a seemingly infinite array of colors, finishes, and materials. The company has been quietly taking orders for the car over the past few months, with production slated to begin in February 2016 and deliveries scheduled to begin in April. While Rolls-Royce has not stated exactly how many Dawn dropheads it will sell (nor disclosed its price), Shepherd stresses that the car will remain exclusive. “You certainly don’t want to see one on every corner,” he says. (rolls-roycemotorcars.com)

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