The pinnacle of new meets old in the automotive world took place today, when one of the oldest and most venerable car marques, Goodwood-based Rolls-Royce, launched its new convertible, the Dawn, not to an exclusive gathering of VIPs in the smoking room of a London club, or executives behind the closed doors of an industry boardroom, but online.
At 2pm, journalists from around the globe logged on to “anewdawnformedia.com”, for the international unveiling of the ultra-luxury four-seater cabriolet.
The time could not be more right for this marker to be laid down by Rolls-Royce, from its stunning and contemporary home on the Goodwood estate, as it seeks to embrace new and diverse customers from around the world. James Warren from Rolls-Royce told GRR: ‘There are a couple of key reasons for doing this [launching the car online]. Firstly, as the brand has changed so has the profile of our customers. This younger, tech savvy audience draw news on brands that are important to them from online sources. Indeed, many have made their success in the digital sphere. It therefore felt highly appropriate that we innovate and adapt the method in which we communicate to the reflect this.
‘Secondly, in doing this, we are clearly acknowledging the evolving media landscape. When Rolls-Royce unveils a car, the world takes careful notice. We therefore felt a traditional press conference would limit the number of media able to enjoy this seminal moment. This ‘Digital Dawn’ therefore reflects the highly contemporary, forward-thinking nature of the marque as we enter a bold new chapter in its history.’
And what an exciting chapter it is. The Dawn, which has as its muse the original Rolls-Royce Dawn of 1952 (only 28 were ever built), goes up against the (although much cheaper) Bentley Continental GT and, some have argued, Mercedes’ new S-Class Cabriolet. Rolls-Royce are keen to point out that the Dawn, with 80 per cent new body panels, is not a convertible Wraith, but a new model that answers the call of a younger, more social customer.
The Dawn also caps five years of consecutive record growth for Rolls-Royce. ‘Rolls-Royce is an integral part of Britain,’ said Torsten Muller-Otvos, the company’s CEO. ‘We are fully committed to Goodwood; we have recently opened our logistics and technology centre, and Dawn will be built in the beautiful space of Goodwood”.
The cabriolet is full of enviable craftsmanship, from the wooden deck at the back, with its waterfall effect as the wood cascades down between the two individual rear seats, to the hand-painted coachlines and stitching on the mandarin leather, the bright hue of which is a nod to this younger, more adventurous demographic.
The car also holds the title of the world’s quietest soft-top; the roof opens and closes in 22 seconds, at speeds of up to 50kph.
Powering the car is the company’s beloved twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 unit, mated to an eight-speed ZF gearbox, with a power output of 563bhp at 5,250rpm and 575b ft of torque at 1,500rpm. The media and navigation systems recognise Latin and Arabic characters as well as Mandarin.
The car will be on display in a more conventional manner at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, but suffice to say this does indeed appear to herald a new Dawn (cue plenty more puns…) for a luxury brand that thankfully fully embraces innovation in the digital era.
The price tag for the new Dawn will be approximately £250,000, with first deliveries in spring next year.