Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Single engine and gearbox offered
  • But you certainly won’t feel short-changed
  • Performance delivered with pure class

Rolls-Royce Dawn: what engines does it have?

There’s one engine offered in the Dawn, available in two power outputs depending on whether you’ve gone for the standard car or the Black Badge edition, which is slightly more powerful.

So you’ve got a 6.6-litre V12 petrol engine boosted by two turbochargers. Power is 571hp with torque of 820Nm in the standard car, rising to 601hp and 840Nm respectively for the Black Badge. That means 0-62mph in 5.0 or 4.9 seconds, while top speed is limited in both cases to 155mph.

However, the Dawn isn’t about how quickly you can get away from a set of traffic lights. Far more pertinently, it’s about having the performance in reserve just in case you need it. That’s why you don’t get a rev-counter, but a ‘power reserve meter’ in its place.

The power reserve meter of the Rolls-Royce Dawn

And that relaxed attitude best describes how the Dawn drives. Thanks to the sheer size and refinement of this engine, delivering its maximum torque between 1,600 and 4,750rpm, it’s among the smoothest we’ve tried here at Parkers in any car. You can barely hear it working at idle, and it’s whisper-quiet for the vast majority of situations.

It’s only when you uncouthly mash your right foot into that plush carpet that it begins to sing for its supper, but even then it’s muted enough to retain its class in a world where so many open-top convertibles have their exhaust noises amplified to the point of becoming annoying.

The V12 motor in the Rolls-Royce Dawn

We found the gearbox – an eight-speed automatic – worked flawlessly alongside this marvellous motor, with barely perceptible shifts between ratios. There’s no manual control, but doing it yourself doesn’t really match the Dawn’s character anyway.

We’ve yet to drive the Black Badge Dawn, but can report that shift times in the gearbox have been altered so it’s a slightly sportier experience. But not too sporty.

  • Comfort is a focus, but it’ll still go round a corner
  • Unique steering feel helps it feel more special
  • Don’t forget this is a very large, heavy car though

Rolls-Royce Dawn: how does it drive?

At 5.3 metres long, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the Dawn is any good in corners. However, the air suspension plays a good trick here and enables flat, if not agile, handling when you ramp up the speed.

The steering is worthy of special mention – at first it feels heavy, but then you realise it’s actually just unique in its configuration. The huge diameter, thin-rimmed steering wheel allows for accurate inputs, and while response is fairly slow, you always know what’s going on under the front tyres.

We love the steering in the Rolls-Royce Dawn: it's unique

Our testers remarked that it felt more nautical than automotive, such is the fluidic nature of its feedback.

Parking isn’t easy, however, simply due to the size of the car. It doesn’t fit in many parking spaces and you struggle to understand where the Dawn’s extremities actually are.