ROAD TEST: 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn

rolls royce dawn
By Shari Prymak

Driving a Rolls Royce for the first time is an experience to remember. It’s basically the automotive equivalent to getting pampered at a luxury spa on a five-star resort. The difference is that the pampering happens on a regular basis every time you open the rear-hinged coach doors and step inside the sumptuous cabin.

Rolls Royce was kind enough to loan me a Dawn for a few days, which is the model that’s designed for those looking for the ultimate drop top experience. It shares many of the same styling cues with the other models in the range, such as the Wraith and Ghost, only with a bit more sleekness and a little less roof. All of the classic design elements, including the long hood, vertical grill, and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament that disappears into the hood are all present. It’s also absolutely massive. There’s no mistaking the Dawn for anything other than a Rolls Royce.

rolls royce dawn

There are cars which can be described as incredibly luxurious and elitist, and then there’s Rolls Royce, which somehow takes things to a whole new level. There’s no need to labour oneself with closing a door. A simple push of a button is all that required to accomplish the task automatically. The interior surfaces are covered in only the finest materials. The classic analog gauges and centre-mounted time piece add a timeless, elegant touch. They mesh well with the modern technology, such as the BMW-based infotainment system, which is fairly easy to use. In contrast to most convertibles, the Dawn is a proper four-seater with generous accommodations for all passengers. No need to draw straws to ride shotgun here. It’s a joyous event to sit in any one of the four seats.

Unlike most luxury cars which try to blend a bit of sportiness into the drive, Rolls Royce throws all of that out the window and instead focuses on perfecting what luxury is all about; comfort and serenity. The Dawn’s suspension is likely made from marshmallows. The ride is buttery smooth, absorbing bumps and road imperfections like a sponge. Body motions are present when you really press on, but the steering is feather light with lots of play, so it really discourages any attempts at aggressive maneuvering. Just as extraordinary as the ride quality is the level of sound suppression. Thanks to a six-layer fabric top, Rolls Royce claims that the Dawn is the quietest convertible ever made. I don’t doubt it. You could probably drive it through artillery fire and not hear a thing.

rolls royce dawn

Powering the Dawn is a twin-turbo, 6.6L V12 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 575lb-ft of torque. Needless to say, power is ample, but moving in a hurry is hardly what the Dawn is about. There are no unsightly sport buttons, paddle shifters, or even a tachometer to suggest the idea of haste. It encourages you to drive gently and just waft along enjoying the ride at a leisurely pace. Gear changes from the 8-speed automatic transmission are slurred and seamless. Even with the roof down, the engine can hardly be heard. Any form of sensory feedback from the mechanical bits is eliminated in the pursuit of refinement.

As optioned, my test car carried an MSRP of $395,000 plus fees and taxes. To most, that would be considered an outrageous amount of money to spend on a vehicle, but then, a Rolls Royce is not for most. It’s designed for the select few with the means who want the ultimate status symbol to tell the world that they’ve made it. It’s a rolling bubble of impeccable opulence and luxury unlike anything else on the road. It’s also handcrafted by the type of professionals who are the best at what they do because they sweat every detail. Put simply, it’s a car like no other. For those looking to join the most exclusive club in the world of automotive luxury, it’s the go-to choice.