Motoring writer Ian Lamming takes the pain out of life with the latest Rolls-Royce Dawn
LYING in the dentist’s chair the pain is excruciating as 6ml of anaesthetic fails to take effect.
As muscles go into post-adrenaline shakes, I’ve got to use my brain to take my mind off the considerable discomfort that even hyperventilating fails to negate. I’ll never be able to watch Marathon Man again.
In a desperate attempt to find relief my mind wanders back to the car parked outside this chambers of dental horrors – a Rolls-Royce Dawn, ah that’s better.
And while I think of the joys of this two door drop-top my cheek and gums begin to numb, a blissful respite from the jangling nerves, followed by drooping lips and nose. It’s then that I realise this whole experience is a metaphor for life.
The pandemic has brought our daily lives a lot of pain, with tempers fraught, people depressed, anxious and constantly spoiling for a fight. And the Roller? Well, that’s the anaesthetic, the calming agent, a reason for everyone to smile with relief, if only for a little while.
Eighty five minutes of torture later and it’s time to head back to the Dawn. My head is pounding now so I pop the electric boot in search of ibuprofen. There are a couple of workmen looking over, admiring the car, and who wouldn’t. But their expressions turn to puzzlement as the guy with the Rolls-Royce suddenly starts pouring water down his front. It’s comical, I just can’t keep it in my poor abused mouth as I try to swallow the pain relief.
Opening the back-hinged doors I slide inside the glorious cockpit of the Dawn and take some time out to recover. The cabin really is the picture of serenity and the effect on your body is palpable. It’s like being on lay-lines.
Fire up the 6.6 litre V12 and there’s barely a murmur from the 571PS motor. I feel like stepping on the throttle to get me away from my harrowing dental experience – if I did 60mph would come up in just 4.8 seconds; impressive for such a big car – but I show restraint and float off to the 30mph urban limit instead. It feels so slow that you have to keep a careful eye on those white faced clocks to ensure you don’t speed in town. It’s the same on the motorway, by the way, as there is such little noise from tyres, wind or motor that you can easily forget how fast you are travelling.
It all conspires to make the Dawn a supreme mile-eater, the perfect tool to demolish continents. Even after 200 mile plus jaunts driver and passengers emerge fresh as they were at journey’s start. Averaging under 17mpg ensures you do have to stop for fuel. Even a brimming tank only gives you 370 miles between fill ups, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Top up the Dawn is surprisingly quiet which says a lot for the quality of fit and roof insulation. The hood is down in seconds and stored away electrically offering open top motoring beyond compare, especially down twisty country roads where its ride and handling are exceptional for such a monster motor. It floats – which Roller doesn’t – but the steering has plenty of feel and there’s isn’t too much wallowing so it’s fun around the bends.
Roof up or down the Dawn brightens people’s lives, especially on the school run where everyone is drawn by its extraordinary presence – it’s the nearest thing to feeling like a super star, though I know it’s the car not me attracting the attention.
The exterior exudes understated class, with a flawless, hand-polished finish and craftsman hand-painted coach-line (which, conveniently matches my coat and the piping and stitching inside) giving an exquisite sheen and glow of individuality.
Inside, the Dawn is sumptuous with swathes of natural grain leather enveloping four individual seats to create a haven of opulence.
It is timeless elegance personified, a nod to the finest traditions of yesteryear. But that’s not to say that Dawn isn’t also cutting edge.
Beneath the skin is a raft of advanced driver assistance features to keep you safe day or night. Active Cruise Control uses a radar sensor to scan the road ahead for vehicles, adjusting the cruising speed accordingly. In lower light, Adaptive Headlights adjust to the ever-changing road conditions, while a grille-mounted infrared night vision camera detects potential hazards up to 300 metres ahead.
Head Up Display provides key information such as current speed, directions, speed limits and lane departure warnings at a glance so you need never take your eyes far from the road.
The two most common questions asked about Dawn are how much is it and can it be worth that amount of money? The answers to these are a lot and absolutely. The second the Spirit of Ecstasy ascends from the pantheon radiator grille on unlocking the doors, the job is done for me.
I would happily give my eye-teeth for one and as a remedy for personal and societal ills Dawn proves to be the perfect antidote.
Engine: 6.6 litre V12
Top speed: 155mph (governed)
Combined MPG: 17.3
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 367
Price: from £270,950.00