Break­fast Rolls

The Advertiser - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - JACK PYEFINCH

THE rear deck of a 37-me­tre su­per yacht might seem a strange place to launch a new car — there’s pre­cious lit­tle room to test its cor­ner­ing abil­ity for a start — but when it’s the Rolls-Royce Dawn you’re talk­ing about, it makes sense.

A su­per yacht like Sydney’s Tango (yours for a cool $5250 an hour) is where Rolls-Royce own­ers feel at home. Many of them prob­a­bly own one.

Park­ing the new Dawn — which sev­eral Aus­tralians have al­ready or­dered, with­out test driv­ing, for a cool $749,000 on the road — in front of, or in­deed on top of, the back­drop of Sydney Har­bour also al­lowed us to fully ap­pre­ci­ate its beau­ti­ful lines, ap­par­ently.

Rolls-Royce has had it­self all in a lather over this new drop­top for months, de­scrib­ing it as “the sex­i­est” car the brand has ever made.

Global prod­uct man­ager for Dawn, Jonathan Shears, seemed al­most over­come by the “erotic tin­gle on the skin, awak­en­ing the senses and pas­sions as the day be­gins” that his car os­ten­si­bly evokes.

Dur­ing a de­tailed walk around of the car — which is what you get when you’re not al­lowed to drive one — he said that while we were prob­a­bly ex­pect­ing a con­vert­ible version of the Wraith, we were wrong.

“This is not a drop­head Wraith. She stands uniquely apart from all our other cars, but she de­serves her place,” he en­thused, de­scrib­ing the ad­mit­tedly beau­ti­ful de­sign as “dy­namic, se­duc­tive, al­lur­ing and pow­er­ful”.

The side-on view, with its coach line ris­ing and fall­ing from front to rear, “gives it a low-slung stance, and al­most a hot-rod type of feel”.

So, an erotic, sexy, hot rod Rolls-Royce? Clearly, this is not your typ­i­cal Roller, and sure enough the com­pany says it is aim­ing for a dif­fer­ent kind of cus­tomer, which is pay­ing off with a high level of in­ter­est from “af­flu­ent yet younger cus­tomers who are new to the brand”.

The Dawn’s real party piece, of course, is its six-layer fab­ric roof, which is truly wraith­like in the way that it per­forms its piece of engi­neer­ing bal­let in al­most com­plete si­lence, tak­ing just 21 sec­onds. Rolls en­gi­neers claim it is the qui­etest fold­ing roof in the world, and that get­ting it to work at speeds of up to 50km/h was one of the great­est chal­lenges they’ve mas­tered.

Once the roof is down, the in­te­rior sparkles as brightly as the Har­bour, with a “wa­ter­fall panel” of tim­ber run­ning from the yacht-like rear deck, be­tween the pas­sen­gers to the dash.

As usual, the car­pets are so lush and soft it will be tempt­ing to drive it bare foot, or get down on the floor and nap.

Shears was keen to em­pha­sise that the Dawn is not about num­bers but more about the magic car­pet ride unique to Rolls, its satel­lite-aided trans­mis­sion pre­s­e­lect­ing gears be­fore hills or cor­ners ar­rive.

Its fig­ures are im­pres­sive but so are the out­puts.

The Dawn will be pow­ered by a 6.6-litre V12 turbo with a whop­ping 420kW/780Nm, which will hurl its im­pres­sive bulk to 100km/h in 5.1 sec­onds.

Rolls likes to claim that the Dawn is a proper four-seater, rather than a two-plus-two as with most lux­ury con­vert­ibles.

This might be a rare ex­ag­ger­a­tion, be­cause rear legroom is more ad­e­quate than com­modi­ous.

In ev­ery other way, though, and par­tic­u­larly the price — you can get a Ghost for $595,000 or a Wraith for $645,000 — the new Dawn is as im­pres­sive as we’d been led to be­lieve. Al­most as im­pres­sive as a su­per yacht, even.

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