's Great British Cars – Rolls-Royce Dawn

Sun 27th May 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Rolls-Royce Dawn
How can you improve upon one of the most luxurious and high-spec cars ever made? Take the roof off of course.

While not quite the ‘Dawn’ of a new era at the luxury British manufacturer, it was hoped that when this compact Rolls Royce was first revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, it could target a slightly different demographic in their rather niche market. After all, not everyone can afford the luxury of the top-end, £365,000 Phantom, so knock £100k off the retail price and make it more compact and engaging behind the wheel and you have the Dawn, which at £265,000 might just attract the younger audience.

So what kind of ‘less’ do you get when taking on the Rolls Royce Dawn? Well, we’ve already mentioned that it’s a cabriolet, which comes with a 5.2m length, 563bhp V12, rolling around on giant 21-inch alloys, and first-class aluminium detailing throughout.

We’ve also mentioned it is a smaller, a four-seater, and Rolls-Royce describe the Dawn as ‘the world’s only true modern four-seater super-luxury drophead’, others have been kind enough to describe the Dawn as a yacht for the road. But then how many yachts do you know of that can do 0-60 in 4.3 seconds?

What you are getting with the Dawn is rare luxury, the kind of exclusivity which suggest that unless you are driving down the polished streets of Knightsbridge every day you might not be seeing too many other Dawn drivers to flash your lights at. Rolls Royce commissioned only 3,362 Dawns in 2017 for customers across 50 nations, and that tells you all you need to know about the kind of clientele which will be in the Dawn Owners Club.

The Dawn was the genesis of Rolls Royce’s design chief, and he too admits that though the compact nature was a move away from the steamliner sized luxury of previous marque’s, it might not have been such a daring or daring or brave move.

He said: "At the pinnacle end of the luxury market, the brand values are so particular and so carefully honed over a period of years - in our case over 114 years of history - we do not need to ask a number of customers, 'Do you think we are doing the right thing? Is this the right shape?'"

Which basically means, we know our customers, in a lot cases personally, and we know what we want.

The Dawn is certainly a thing of beauty, a real tribute to the craftsmanship of British design, a car that we can all aspire to.

Years of manufacture: 2015-present
Price when new:
Price now:£265,175
Engine:6,592cc 12cyl petrol, 563bhp
Top speed:155mph