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Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible revealed


Huge, heavy ... and hot, that's Dawn. She's the latest addition to the line-up of Britain's legendary luxury brand.

"We believe, quite simply, it is the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built," said company CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos during this week's online reveal of the new convertible.

He seems to believe Dawn will be a turn-on. "This car gives four adults plenty of room to enjoy themselves." Perhaps because he is German there was no wink to go with the quote.

The Dawn is about the same length as a HiLux double-cab, and almost as hefty as a LandCruiser, so finding space for four very comfortable seats cannot have been too much of a challenge for design chief Giles Taylor and his team.

However, the space needed to stow Dawn's shapely fabric roof means it has Yaris-like boot capacity even though there's no spare wheel. The standard 20-inch tyres, and the larger optional rubber, are run-flats.

The Dawn's book-matched timber trimmings and flawless leather upholstery, and the handpainted coachline running nose to tail along its flanks, are some of the reasons it is sure to be priced above $600,000

Impractical it may be, but the Dawn has allure. It's curvy, classy and looks almost as good with the hood up as down.

With roof erect, Rolls-Royce claims, the Dawn is as quiet inside as the company's own Wraith coupe.

The company is a little touchy about Dawn's relationship with the Wraith.

"Contrary to media speculation, the new Rolls-Royce Dawn is not a Wraith drophead," the official press release sternly states.

Some 80 per cent of the convertible's panels are newly designed, apparently.

But the Dawn shares much technology with the other Rollers that are smaller than the Phantom, the Ghost sedan and Wraith. These, in turn, share some basic building blocks with BMW's 7 Series limousine. The German company has owned the Rolls-Royce car-making business since 1998. The Dawn's mighty 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12, for example, is built by BMW.

What sets any Rolls-Royce apart from a mere premium brand like BMW is the awesome opulence and hand-finished craftsmanship of its fitout. The book-matched timber trimmings and flawless leather upholstery of the Dawn's interior, and the handpainted coachline running nose to tail along its flanks, are some of the reasons it is sure to be priced above $600,000.

Rolls-Royce sticks to age-old luxury car traditions, yet the CEO is convinced the Dawn will draw a younger and more socially aware kind of audience.

This doesn't seem likely — but Muller-Otvos has shown a knack for finding new customers and Rolls-Royce sales have set records every year he's been in the chair. Last year the brand broke through the 4000 global sales barrier for the first time.

Did you know?

Dawn is a name straight from Rolls-Royce's extensive back catalogue. The original Silver Dawn was produced from 1949 to 1955. Only a fraction of the 760 built were convertibles.