Rolls Royce unveils its 'sexiest' model yet
British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce today took the wraps of a new £250,000 convertible that it is hailing as its ‘sexiest’ model ever.
Rolls-Royce bosses say its stunning new four-seater 155mph soft-top, which reaches 62mph in under 5 seconds, takes its inspiration from two key sources.
These are the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn drophead coupe of 1952 – of which just 28 were built; and the life-enhancing spirit and curvaceous lines of Anita Eckberg and her famous scene in Rome’s Trevi Fountain in movie ‘La Dolce Vita’.
The Federico Fellini classic celebrated ‘the good life’ following years of wartime and post-war austerity.
The new Rolls-Royce Dawn drophead was given a global digital launch today ahead of its appearance at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Six layers of fabric make it the quietest drophead convertible on the market and allow the roof to retract ’like a silent ballet’ in 21 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.
Rolls-Royce said the new Dawn would attract a new group of younger, more informal, but no less wealthy clients.
Motoring TV presenter and model Jodie Kidd presented the launch film in which Rolls-Royce chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes – significantly without a traditional tie and favouring open necked shirt - spelled out the strategy.
Rolls-Royce said the Dawn ‘looks superb with the hood up and stunning with it down’ and would make customers ‘feel like a star and look like a star’.
Rolls-Royce said the new Dawn wanted to re-capture the spirit of the classic Silver Dawn of the 1950s when Britain was emerging from wartime and post-war austerity to enjoy more of ‘the good life.’
As Britain begins to emerge from current austerity, it believed the name was fitting.
Rolls-Royce said: ‘Such was the feeling in 1952 as the world was finally emerging from a period of economic austerity following protracted war.
'That year, the world looked forward in hope as the world’s first passenger jet, the British deHavilland Comet, made its first commercial flight; the Big Bang Theory of the creation of the Universe was first propounded, and Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne of the United Kingdom.’
It added: ‘The original Silver Dawn was the first Rolls-Royce to be offered with a factory-built body. However, the drophead Rolls-Royces that carried the name Silver Dawn continued to be coach-built for individual customers, ensuring their uniqueness and rarity, and embodied the optimism of the age as we began to enjoy life again and pursue La Dolce Vita.
‘This famous and rare Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn name was only ever applied to 28 very special drophead bodies between 1950 and 1954.'
The new Dawn is to be built at Rolls-Royce’s boutique factory on the Earl of March’s Goodwood estate – home of this week’s Goodwood Revival – in Chichester. Rolls-Royce is owned by German car giant BMW.
Traditionally rather staid and conservative Rolls-Royce bosses have become unusually stirred by the emotional and even ‘erotic’ impact of their new car which carries the Spirit of Ecstasy’ flying lady mascot atop its stately grille.
But 50 shades of Rolls-Royce is a doddle for the luxury car-maker - which has a standard palette of 44,000 colours – and can also perfectly custom colour-match to any favourite item be it a lipstick, dress or dog.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said: ‘Our new Rolls-Royce Dawn promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date, and begins a new age of open-top, super-luxury motoring.
‘Quite simply, it is the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built.’
He noted: ‘The early-day chill of dawn provides an erotic tingle on the skin, awakening the senses and passions as the day begins.
’So the name ‘Dawn’ perfectly suggests the fresh opportunities that every new day holds – an awakening, an opening up of one’s senses and a burst of sunshine.
‘Like Eleanor Thornton, thought by many to be the inspiration behind the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls-Royce Dawn will itself prove to be the muse that leads its owner to believe that at the start of the day, anything is possible.’
Although the new car is a sibling to the existing Rolls-Royce Wraith hard-top coupe, Rolls-Royce stress that 80 per cent of the panels on the more curvaceous soft-top Dawn have been changed.
The new dawn is ‘a cool, contemporary interpretation of what a super-luxury four-seater convertible motor car should be in 2015’, said Rolls-Royce.
Design director Giles Taylor also admitted he was inspired by the 1960 Federico Fellini movie ‘La Dolce Vita’ and particularly the scene in which voluptuous Anita Eckberg wades into Rome’s Trevi fountain: ‘I did watch it a few times for inspiration,’ he confessed.
He said the convertible had been designed to look and feel perfectly at home the Côte d’Azur: ‘We have designed it from the road up to deliver a striking, seductive encounter.’
Designers and engineers ensured there was plenty of room front and back to carry four people in first-class comfort, without compromising on leg-room.
Mr Taylor said: ‘The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day-to-day basis is anathema.
‘In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.’
A Rolls-Royce spokesman added: ‘The rear passengers do not merely ‘get out’ of a Rolls-Royce Dawn, but rather stand and disembark as if from a Riva motor launch onto a glamorous private jetty in Monaco or on Lake Como.’
He said a perfectly smooth surface, combined with an innovative tailored ‘French Seam’ ensures that the air flow over the car with the roof up creates no noticeable wind noise.
Also, the actual opening and closing of the roof mechanism had to be ‘both beautiful and unobtrusive at the same time’ adding:
‘The engineering team even went so far as to invent a phrase for what they wished to achieve with the roof mechanism. The Silent Ballet.’
The new Dawn is powered by a massive 6.6 litre 563bhp twin-turbo V12 engine linked to an eight speed automatic gearbox that propels it from rest to 62mph in just 4.9 seconds with top speed restricted to 155mph.
But it is a bit of a gas-guzzler with average consumption at a hefty 19.9mpg, dropping to 13.2mpg around town but managing 28.8mpg when cruising.