Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d dream up, let alone commit to print: the Rolls-Royce Dawn: starting at £264,000, surprisingly good value for money.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: how on earth can a car that retails for twice the average price of a house in the West Midlands be hailed as ‘value for money’?
Even if a spell with a Rolls-Royce Dawn makes you realise just how well the super rich live, you clearly can’t make a case for spending that amount of cash on a car unless your income puts you in the highest echelons of society.
And yet, and yet… it is superb. It is grace under pressure, a stunning example of engineering excellence that exudes quality from every pore. And here’s the nub: never having set foot in a Rolls-Royce before, I was often baffled by how the company could justify its price tags. Yet now, having driven the Dawn for an all-too-brief couple of days, I can see where the money goes.
It is, quite simply, breathtaking. On stepping in, you immediately notice the preposterously thick shagpile carpet lining the floor. It is beautiful to the touch, cosseting your feet in a warm cushioning that’s both welcoming and luxurious, making you glance guiltily down at your footwear to check that they’re not muddy.
The seats are hand-stitched leather. Every push and pull of the needle was guided by a master craftsman steeped in his or her trade. The leather is the finest available, both comfortable and buffed up to the highest sheen.
In front, the dashboard features stunning chrome, wood panelling and more leather, offering an opulent cabin more akin to a gentleman’s club than a car. This combines beautifully with a striking yet elegant exterior design that’s packed with classic Rolls-Royce presence, an effortless and relaxed sensory experience with an underlying exhilaration and dynamism.
Like an athlete on the blocks, the Dawn sits taut and poised, ready to explode into life when the driver commands. From the steeply-raked windscreen to its beautifully finished body panels that curve lustily around from front to rear, wrapping the Dawn in a seemingly single sheet of metal, the Dawn is a stunning aerodynamic feat that suggests a fighter jet more than a car. Superb touches abound, from the halo that lights the Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet – the statuette itself recesses smoothly into the bonnet when the ignition is off – while a tapered ‘wake channel’ on the bonnet runs from the Spirit’s base, evoking a jet’s vapour trail in a nod to the Dawn’s dynamism.
And to drive: oh, how it wants to be driven. The power of the 6.6-litre engine is breathtaking, yet this is not a car that wants to be hurried. Instead, it’s whisper-quiet power glides you along the road in a style fit for a king. It’s a hugely satisfying drive: the weight of the Dawn and its state-of-the-art suspension kills all bumps and potholes, offering the smoothest of rides, while there’s a stability and confidence in cornering that demands respect.
It is fast – heart-achingly so if pushed – but the Dawn does not demand such bad manners or ill-discipline. Instead it cruises gracefully, as smooth as cream poured from a jug.
Everything impresses, but one touch I loved involved the coach doors – that peculiar Rolls Royce quirk that sees its doors open the opposite way to those on conventional cars. They are hugely heavy – all the panel work on the Dawn is solid beyond belief – but to avoid issues with closing, the coach doors are closed at the touch of a button by the driver, smoothly and silently closing with a satisfying ‘clunk’. Beautiful. And that’s the word on which to end: beautiful. For this is car-making at its finest, offering driver and up to three passengers a graceful, sensuous experience that ends only when you disembark, feeling like royalty.
There’s little point in me saying ‘buy one’. Few of us can. But if you can, you should buy this work of art.
BQ West Midlands would like to thank Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Birmingham in Hockley Heath, Solihull for the use of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn.
The on-the-road price of the car driven by Jason Wouhra is £307,079, for more information please visit www.rybrook.co.uk/rolls-royce or call the dealership on 01564 787170
Dawn specification included: RR monogram to all headrests, Comfort entry system, driver assistance 3, camera systems, teak deck, 21” forged 10 spoke polished alloy wheels.
Bespoke options include bespoke interior, seat piping navy blue, navy hood, chrome visible exhausts, twin coachline in silver, tread plates ‘Dawn’, up-lit Spirit of Ecstasy, RR inlays to monitor lid, Rolls-Royce bespoke audio and commissioned collection umbrellas.