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Dawn is 'the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built,' company says

Dawn is 'the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built,' company says
Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off its new drophead luxury car, the Dawn. (Simon Clay / Rolls-Royce)

England's premier luxury automobile brand has drawn back the veil on Dawn, which the company calls "the world's only true modern four-seater super-luxury drophead" and "the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built."

Making the announcement from its Goodwood, England, home base, Rolls said the new convertible will be propelled by a 563-horsepower, 6.6-liter twin turbo V-12 engine, producing 575 pound-feet of torque, through an eight-speed transmission.

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The vehicle is electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph, and can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds.

The lower, sleeker Dawn is slightly wider, but considerably shorter, than the company's Ghost.

Its name harkens to the elegant Silver Dawn convertibles of decades past, which the company notes represented a new day of sorts for the company that built them: They were the first convertibles Rolls-Royce began making after the end of World War II.

The name is also a departure from what the company acknowledged were its somewhat gloomy current motorcar monikers.

"We've been spending a lot of time in spooky Phantoms, Ghosts and Wraiths," said Rolls global communications director Richard Carter. "So it was time for a new Dawn."

Unlike most two-door convertibles, the Dawn features a spacious back seat, possibly a nod to the Asian marketplace, where buyers of luxury cars demand more real estate in the passenger section.

It also features what the company insists is the quietest convertible ride in drop-top history -- the result of a full six layers of material, designed to deaden noise in the cabin when the top is up.

In fact, the company says that the Dawn, inside, while motoring, is as silent as its Wraith hardtop.

The motor that lifts the convertible into place is also quiet, so quiet that Rolls refers to the up-and-down movement as a "silent ballet." The top takes 22 seconds to open or close, and the silent ballet can take place at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.

"Should the worst of circumstances arise," Rolls says, and the car turns turtle, the ragtop can deploy a concealed "roll-over protection system."

The car will also feature Rolls' Satellite Aided Transmission, a wireless driver assist program that can read roadways well enough to detect and adjust to approaching turns and curves.

The MSRP on the new convertible will be about $325,000, Rolls said, but most customers are adding enough options to drive the average retail price closer to $400,000 -- well above the $290,000 Wraith, but below the $475,000 Phantom Drophead Coupe convertible.

Rolls representatives said the company will go into full production on the new Dawns early next year, and will begin deliveries in late spring.

Though Rolls sells about a third of all its vehicles in North America, this Dawn is meant to have more of a continental appeal.

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"The car is a contemporary take on the 'casino' lifestyle," said director of design Giles Taylor. "It is a contemporary homage to a life on the Cote d'Azur."

The car's navigation system, Rolls says, will know what to do if the operator simply says, "Navigate to St. Tropez."

Twitter: @misterfleming

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