Culture / Cars

Sexy Beast

Rolls-Royce Embraces the Twitter Age with Gadget-Filled New Car — No Chauffeurs Allowed

BY // 03.29.16

The days of power players being chauffeured around in their Rolls-Royce appear to be on the way out, as reminiscent of another era as envy-inducing transatlantic cruises. A reshuffled Rolls-Royce now focuses on making cars owners will want to drive themselves.

The white-glove service of tomorrow centers around gadgets that Ben Affleck’s Batman would love and innovations like “silent ballet.” Rolls-Royce’s new car of the moment — Dawn — features a retractable hood ornament, because sometimes you want everyone to know you’re driving a Rolls-Royce and sometimes you don’t. Pushing another button triggers the whisper-quiet folding or unfolding of the coupe’s soft-top roof, a process that takes just 22 seconds of the so-called silent ballet.

The new Rolls-Royce Dawn toured a few select Texas showrooms in March in anticipation of its release, but it’s something of a tease. All 200 of the Dawns that will be produced in 2016 are already presold — at $400,000 a pop. (Pre-orders for 2017 are already being taken.)

It helps that this is the sharpest-looking car produced by Rolls-Royce since BMW took ownership of the iconic brand, in 1998. There is a sexiness to this convertible that goes beyond the impressive raw numbers of a 5,644-pound beast capable of zooming from zero to 60 MPH in 4.7 seconds.

The average age of Rolls-Royce owners dropped from 55 in 2009 to 45 today, and the company has even embraced Instagram (where it boasts more than one million followers), Twitter and YouTube with a zeal that shames many expectedly hipper brands. Fittingly, Dawn’s a very social car, with four full seats, a rarity for a luxury convertible segment that often regards back seats as little more than holders for a picnic basket or weekend tennis tournament trophy.

The name invokes the 1950s Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn, a highly romanticized legend that came out as England emerged from World War II, but this new spawn is anything but an old-school Rolls. Your grandfather’s chauffeur would barely recognize it.

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