A twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 powers the Dawn. Sounds epic, right? It is. The power is sent to a rear-wheel drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission featuring nearly imperceptibly smooth shifts. Though the Dawn weighs more than most three-row SUVs, it scoots to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, or 4.6 seconds in Black Badge specification with more power and torque. Both versions will silently waft around at their top speed - an electronically governed 155 mph - with little effort.
We wouldn't call the Dawn a performance vehicle, but it has more sporting pretensions than the four-door Rollers. A Bentley Continental GT Convertible would out-accelerate it, but Rollers have never been about outright performance or providing scary nausea-inducing acceleration. In fact, there's a slight delay in the throttle to ensure maximum acceleration smoothness. The engine provides all of its torque between 1,500 rpm and 4,750 rpm (1,650 rpm in the Black Badge), meaning the power reserve gauge (what you get in lieu of a tachometer) rarely dips past 80% under normal driving. Few cars can move along with such ease, which is why the Dawn commands the big bucks.
The twin-turbo 6.6L V12 produces 563 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque in standard guise. Those numbers jump to 603 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque in the Black Badge as we had on test. We've never heard 12 cylinders sound so quiet, as the Dawn barely sounds like it has an engine when driving along moderately. If, however, you're in the mood for some uncouth driving, the V12 emits a smooth rumble at full tilt that feels elegant yet somehow sporty.
An eight-speed automatic is in charge of transferring all of it to a RWD system with no AWD option, with sportier tuning on the Black Badge model. There are no driving modes to choose from, save for a low transmission mode that dials in slightly more aggressive shifts. Aside from that, you get drive, reverse, and park. This doesn't mean the gearbox doesn't have some trickery up its sleeve. It works in conjunction with the GPS, so it knows when a corner or uphill is imminent. If a downshift is required, the car will handle it before you even need a lower gear. There is no need for pedestrian paddle shifters here, as the Dawn simply wants you to sit back and enjoy the pinnacle of open-top motoring.
|Rolls-Royce Dawn Trims||Rolls-Royce Dawn Engines||Rolls-Royce Dawn Horsepower||Rolls-Royce Dawn Transmissions||Rolls-Royce Dawn Drivetrains||Rolls-Royce Dawn MPG/MPGE|
|Dawn||6.6L Twin-Turbo V12 Gas||563 hp @ 5250 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||14 MPG|
|Dawn Black Badge||6.6L Twin-Turbo V12 Gas||563 hp @ 5250 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||14 MPG|
All that power comes at a price. According to the EPA, the 2021 Dawn is capable of 12/18/14 mpg city/highway/combined in either configuration. Not that it matters. If you can afford this car, its fuel consumption figures are of little concern, nor is the premium gasoline requirement. We couldn't even find the fuel economy setting in the trip computer. What matters is how far you can go between refills because gas station visits are second only to the DMV. It's bad news, unfortunately. Even with a 22-gallon tank, the best one can hope for is around 300 miles.
|Rolls-Royce Dawn Trims||Dawn||Dawn Black Badge|
|Rolls-Royce Dawn Tank size||9.2 gal.||9.2 gal.|
|Rolls-Royce Dawn Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||12/18||12/18|