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2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn

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2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Expert Review

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The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible is the newest model from the ultra-luxury British automaker, and its first new open-top motorcar in roughly a decade. Like its Wraith coupe sibling, the Dawn is a smaller and less expensive Rolls-Royce, and by that we mean it's "only" about 17.5 feet long and has a starting price around $350,000. The Dawn aims to be the pinnacle of 4-seat convertibles, and it is blessed with every creature comfort you can think of, and doubtless many more you never knew you desired. This Rolls-Royce convertible is blessed with a turbocharged V12 and a soft top that is silent in both form and function. It sets a new standard for ultra-luxury cruisers, but you need to be ultra-wealthy to afford one.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you regularly frolic in places like Monaco or Lake Como and want to enjoy such spots in one of the most opulent convertibles money can buy, the Dawn was made for you. Unlike most convertibles, Rolls gave the Dawn two real rear seats, enabling four passengers to experience its splendor.

You May Not Like This Car If...

It's almost moot to say, but if the idea of spending $350,000 on a car rings the slightest of alarms, look past the Dawn. But don't despair: Mercedes makes a fine convertible in its S-Class Cabriolet, and it can be had for over $200,000 less.

What's New for 2017

Introduced to the world's wealthiest buyers just last year, the Rolls-Royce Dawn carries over with no major changes for 2017. With production of the Phantom Drophead Coupe ending, the Dawn is now the sole convertible in the Rolls-Royce lineup.

Driving the Dawn
Driving Impressions

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn can feel like an exquisite dichotomy. Here is a massive convertible that weighs well over 5,000 pounds, yet it somehow wafts from 0 to 60 mph...

... in a tick over four seconds. Its ride is Rolls-Royce serene, yet it feels controlled over a variety of road surfaces. One of its best feats is that, although it has a traditional soft top, the Dawn is exemplarily quiet. In fact, Rolls-Royce boasts that when setting out to create the Dawn, it mandated that with its fabric top up, this convertible must be as quiet as the Wraith hardtop coupe. What the Dawn is not is a corner-carving thrill-seeker. Nor should you expect such a thing in a Rolls-Royce. This is a cruiser through and through. For the times you seek more adolescent-minded shenanigans, grab the keys to one of the other playthings in your garage.

COACH DOORS
Few traits outside of gullwing doors make a statement like those that open wide and outward from the rear. With the Rolls-Royce Dawn's coach doors, one can't help feeling like royalty when entering or exiting. Practically speaking, these also make those acts easier.

QUIET CONVERTIBLE OPERATION
"The Silent Ballet." That's the phrase the Dawn's engineering team used in creating the roof's mechanism. The result is a captivating mechanical performance that takes place in 22 seconds and can be done at speeds up to 31 mph.

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Details
Interior

Like the Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe, the Dawn has four individual seats that can fit four actual adults. Getting the rear seats right was a priority for Rolls with the Dawn, as it aimed to make "the most social of super-luxury drophead motor cars." Like every Rolls-Royce, the Dawn's handcrafted interior is customized to each client's taste, but regardless of color combination and wood type, you can be sure it will boast the most exquisite leather and other materials. Dials and controls are easy to spot and use, with a main rotary controller derived from parent BMW to control audio and entertainment functions.

Exterior
2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn photo

Rolls is adamant in saying the Dawn isn't a Wraith with the top cut off. In fact, the British ultra-luxury automaker points out that 80 percent of the Dawn's body panels are new to this model. Still, family resemblances abound, from the massive vertical grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy emblem that rises above it, to the strong and handsome rear. Even with its fabric top up, the Dawn looks well-proportioned. But topless is how this Rolls is designed to roll.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

What does a car that costs as much as a house get you? When it's a Rolls-Royce, there's the very fact that you own one. It's a gilded ticket into the most exclusive class. Beyond the priceless intangibles, the Dawn itself brings a V12 engine and a transmission so smart that it uses GPS data to plan shifts. There are of course the finest leathers and woods, massaging front seats, universal garage-door opener, self-closing doors and trunk, and the Driver's Assistance Systems One that bundles lane-departure warning, high-beam assist and head-up display. Oh, and envy. Lots and lots of envy.

Optional Equipment

As with all Rolls-Royces, the Dawn is hand-built in England. These are commissioned vehicles whose crafters await your inspiration. Some broader suggestions include a 16-speaker Bespoke audio system, ventilated front seats, gold- or silver-plated Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, the famed umbrellas that fit inside the doors, and a driver-assistance package that includes night vision and active cruise control. However, you won't find other driver-assistance and tech features such as blind-spot monitoring or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration -- features that are readily available on a Hyundai Elantra.

Under the Hood

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn uses the same twin-turbo V12 engine as its Wraith and Ghost counterparts. Here it is tuned to make 563 horsepower, slightly less than the Wraith, but no-nonsense all the same. In the olden days, such speak of horsepower would be frowned upon, with a mere mention that the power is "adequate." It certainly is here. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. As for efficiency, well, that's not exactly one of this motorcar's attributes.

6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12
563 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
605 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting over $346,000 when factoring in its destination and gas-guzzler tax. That figure is before options or customizing, which can easily lift that price by tens of thousands of dollars or more. As we've noted, you could buy just about any potential rival for a whole lot less, whether it's a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet or a Bentley Continental. Whatever convertible plaything you decide on, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to get an idea what others in your area are paying. As for the Rolls-Royce Dawn's resale value, we don't have precise figures given its exclusivity, but even a little depreciation adds up to a lot when your starting price is nearly $350,000.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

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