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2018 Dawn

Inspired by the 1952 Silver Dawn drophead, the Dawn convertible seeks to combine the traditional Rolls-Royce virtues of elegance, refinement and fine craftsmanship with a sporting spirit heretofore unseen in the brand's opulent but laid-back ragtops. Along with a supremely coddling cabin, the Dawn packs a powerful twin-turbocharged V12 engine.

The Dawn is a close relative of the Wraith coupe, but it sets itself apart with a cloth soft top that automatically opens or closes in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. Up front, Rolls-Royce's stately, upright radiator grille remains.

Backing up the look is a specially-tuned air suspension with adaptive dampers that are designed to provide the pillowy-smooth ride that Rolls-Royce buyers have come to expect, along with extra body compliance for precise handling that belies the big convertible's nearly 5,700-lbs. weight.

Nestled under the Dawn's elongated hood is a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 that punches out 563 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque - enough for a zero-to-60 mph sprint time of about 4.9 seconds. Uniquely, shifting duties are handled by an eight speed "satellite aided” automatic transmission, which Rolls-Royce says can tap into GPS data to provide gear changes that are perfectly matched to the road ahead.

Hidden behind unusual rear-hinged, power-closing doors is a sumptuous and palatial cabin that's handcrafted using the finest leather upholstery, wood paneling and metal trim imaginable. Notably, enormous swaths of wood adorn both door panels.

Modern technology abounds, including a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a 10.2-inch navigation screen controlled by a rotary knob with an inset touchpad that lets passengers use a finger to write navigation destinations or employ pinch/pull gestures to adjust maps.

A nearly infinite amount of options are available, and the car can be further personalized with unique paint colors and interior furnishings through Rolls' Bespoke Commission program.

Standard and optional features

The Dawn is fitted as standard with leather upholstery, wood trim, a navigation system with a 10.2-inch display, an 18-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system, four-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a proximity key, automatic xenon headlights, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, power-closing doors, a power-operated trunk and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Options include adaptive cruise control, a heads-up display, a side, rear and top-view camera system, ventilated and massage front seats, high-beam assistance, a lane departure warning system and a night vision system.

Occupant safety

All Dawn models are fitted with front and front side airbags, in addition to traction and stability control systems. A lane departure warning system is optional.

Key competitors

Those fortunate enough to be considering adding a Wraith to their collection can also consider the Bentley Continental GTC, the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, the Maserati Gran Turismo Convertible and the Mercedes-AMG S65 Convertible.