While the Wraith coupe dazzles with its fastback roofline, the 2021 Rolls-Royce Dawn gives onlookers a better view of how the other half lives. With its cloth top down, the Dawn lets the sun shine in on the one of the most luxurious interiors in the car business—one that’s custom handcrafted from high-end leather, real metal, and genuine wood trim to the buyer’s exact specifications. With the six-layer top in place, it’s nearly as quiet and comfortable as the Ghost sedan. A 563-hp V-12 engine provides quick acceleration, but the Dawn is happiest when it’s quietly cruising, as its suspension is tuned exclusively for comfort.
What’s New for 2021?
Holding steady for another model year, the Dawn rolls into 2021 with nary a tweak to its available features or powertrain.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Buyers can create a custom Dawn through Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke program or they can choose between three distinct collections that the company came up with. We’re particularly fond of the Serenade, which pairs a navy-blue exterior with an ice-blue leather interior for a rather nautical effect.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood sits a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12. It pumps out 563 horsepower, making the Dawn as fleet as it is sexy. At the test track, the Dawn rushed to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It moves gracefully and deliberately, and it cossets passengers even when driving over the harshest potholes. The eight-speed automatic transmission is tuned for tranquility. It uses GPS to determine when it should change gears, considering whether the car is going uphill, downhill, or around corners. That said, if you want a sharper, more athletic grand-touring convertible, perhaps look at the Bentley Continental GT, which is both faster than the Dawn and sportier to drive.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Like the rest of the Rolls-Royce lineup, the Dawn isn’t particularly fuel efficient. Its EPA fuel economy ratings of 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined match those of the Ghost sedan, and its highway rating is slightly lower than the flagship Phantom’s. We’d love to put the Dawn through our fuel-economy test—who wouldn’t want to spend 200 miles cruising on the highway in this luxury boat?—and if we ever get the chance, we’ll update this story with our results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Rear-hinged doors provide easy access to the Dawn’s cabin, which seats four adult passengers. Occupants will be dazzled by the gorgeous butter-soft leather and acres of real wood trim. Buyers can opt for a massaging function for the front seats and thick lambswool floor mats that pamper the tootsies of anyone lucky enough to come along for the ride. As for storage space, the Dawn’s trunk is on the small side for a large car—blame the convertible top for that—but it should provide enough space for a pair of carry-on suitcases.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Touchscreen infotainment is standard, and Rolls-Royce offers a TV tuner as an option so that passengers can watch their favorite programs while on the go. Navigation with real-time traffic updates is also provided as standard, and an 18-speaker stereo system provides enough sonic punch to drown out the wind and road noise when you’re cruising with the top down.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested a Dawn, and it’s unlikely that they will. But the Dawn isn’t just about old-school luxury, it’s also a technological powerhouse: A suite of driver-assistance features is offered and includes a novel night-vision system to help drivers see animals or pedestrians when driving after dark. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward collision warning
- Available lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control with night vision
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Dawn, like all Rolls-Royce models, is protected by a four-year/unlimited-mile warranty and maintenance plan.
- Limited warranty covers four years or unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or unlimited miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for four years or unlimited miles
More Features and Specs