As we wind down towards the end of the year and are hit by festivity after festivity, it’s usually a time for self-reflection. We take time to run through our resolutions and our wish lists, examining what we’ve achieved and what we’ve acquired over the last few months - and more often than not, what remains might be a little out of reach. For most car aficionados, this would be a supercar or sports car of some kind, the latest and greatest in automotive engineering - but what about those who aren’t so heavily invested in the pursuit of speed?
Luxury is something that is universally appreciated. It’s what people aspire to have and enjoy, regardless of class or social status, and one of the brands most synonymous with luxury is Rolls- Royce. They’ve been in the business of producing luxury cars for over 11 decades, and the brand has evolved and grown with each generation. But unlike ultra-exclusive coach building companies, Rolls-Royce has consistently managed to mass-produce without sacrificing the prestige and luxury associated with the name.
Like most specialised manufacturers, Rolls-Royce was divided into various divisions and traded away piece by piece. Despite being under the ownership of various different large scale manufacturers, the company has maintained its values and approach to producing cars. Recessions are hard, and stronger companies often acquire these marques in order to ensure their continued survival. Rolls-Royce currently sits under BMW AG, which benefits both companies greatly.
For one, the BMW 7 Series is as luxurious as a BMW gets. And while it is a great product, it remains geared towards high-level executives and businessmen. But a luxury product needs to be opulent, to be embellished with only the finest woods and metals and leathers, and in many cases it doesn’t necessarily appeal to the business professional. In order to go beyond this, a dedicated luxury marque is necessary - hence the acquisition of Rolls-Royce. But as cars are designed and built, there are also many things that can be borrowed or shared without compromising those luxury aspects.
The Rolls-Royce Dawn is one such fine example. It’s the youngest addition to the Rolls-Royce range, and it is essentially a convertible variant of the Rolls-Royce Wraith. Many of the design aspects on the inside are shared with the Wraith, and this is an important point to note. The Wraith and the Dawn are both 2+2 seaters, which ultimately means that the kind of person who would aspire to own one is someone who still feels most comfortable in the driver’s seat - although perhaps not the kind of person who aspires to blast down a twisty trunk road at the crack of dawn, engine screaming and tyres squealing.
Like the Wraith, the Dawn sits on a modified version of the BMW 7 Series platform. It’s also powered by the same 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 BMW engine, although Rolls-Royce says the Dawn is their quietest convertible yet. The 8-speed gearbox is carried over as well, although perhaps as a better reflection of the times it does not come with a manual override for those who like shifting gears themselves. The entertainment system is derived from the iDrive found across the BMW range, and yet it is streamlined to the standards required of Rolls-Royce.