It says much that, after four days in the car, I couldn’t tell you a thing about the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is a shame as, like the Wraith, it works off satellites, selecting the gear depending on the road ahead - should you be about to take an apex on a mountain road, it’ll change down then hold that gear, knowing you’ll be wanting some acceleration. But I didn’t notice it. Driving a Rolls-Royce is like running a stately home: it’s a case of upstairs-downstairs. In the cabin, you hear nothing, feel nothing and are simply served by the outstanding engineering which, far underneath that lambswool carpet, is going at it hammer and tongs, driveshaft swivelling, springs and dampers pumping, valves flapping, pistons thumping, like a phalanx of maids, servants, footmen, cooks and butlers, intent on getting this beast to 60mph in 4.9 seconds (at a cost of 13mpg).
It’s the detail, of course, that earns the Dawn its stripes. The fact that the tubes housing the furled umbrellas in the door panels are heated, to dry them after a continental shower. And there are small buttons marked “door” to close the huge rear-hinged doors for you. And that gigantic roof, the longest production fabric roof available, which opens and closes at up to 30mph, silently.
It says it all that there are no flappy paddles on the steering wheel to force a change of gear, and no waffle or bark from the exhausts, no matter how hard you plough into the power reserve. How very vulgar either of those would be on a car that defines ageless British understatement.
Thank goodness that, on a corner of the Goodwood estate, they’re still building cars for people who view the Continent not as a political hotbed of Brexit discussions but as an unending series of mountain hairpins and coastal roads for the taking.
Long may the super-rich continue to buy these cars so the rest of us can occasionally catch a glimpse of art in motion.
Price of our car: £254,640 ex VAT (inc £34,640 options)