There are two things people generally think about about Rolls-Royces. The first is that they’re driven by insecure halfwits who need an extremely flashy ride to validate their existence. The second is that they’re reserved for the kind of people who pay down in cold, hard cash and never settle for less than the very best.
The first view is more popular with those who can’t afford one. But the second may be more accurate. Rolls aims for the ethereal, and there is simply nothing like riding behind the Spirit of Ecstasy — Rolls’ iconic mascot — on a cloud of wood, leather, steel and, obviously, money.
Which brings us to the new Rolls-Royce Dawn.
It’s a $335,000-plus convertible that the marque is hoping will help aerate its somewhat stuffy image. A regal four-seat, two-door open-topper, the Dawn has the kind of chops that would make most sports cars emerald with envy: 563 hp and 605 lb.-ft of torque from its twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine, and enough juice to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph.
But you can learn all that from the manual. Here’s what we learned after white-knuckling one from behind the wheel.
How many Nissan Versas could I buy instead? Twenty-six.
What's the fastest animal it could beat in a race? It’ll happily go neck-and-neck with a peregrine falcon, the fastest animal in the world.
What’s the most insane option I can add? The $46,000 bespoke picnic hamper, crammed with polished walnut, silver and crystal.
Can I bring in my girlfriend’s lipstick and ask them to match the color? Naturally. In fact, bring in the whole girlfriend if you feel like it.
Is it true someone once asked Rolls to match the leather interior to their dog’s hair? Yes. And no, you shouldn’t follow suit.
Can I have sex in it? You can always have sex in a Rolls-Royce.
What's the biggest thing I can fit in the trunk? Your boss — or a set of golf clubs, depending on the kind of day you’re having.
Who else owns a Dawn? Drake, Gucci Mane and Conor McGregor.
What’s the toughest test the Dawn undergoes? Each car is drowned in 1,300 gallons of water from 73 high-pressure jets as part of Rolls’ “Monsoon Test” to make sure it’s watertight.
Why are they called “suicide doors”? Back in the days before seat belts came along, it used to be extremely easy to fall out en route. Rolls prefers the term “coach doors.”
What if someone tries to steal the hood ornament? Not to worry, the “Spirit of Ecstasy” retracts when you lock the car or someone tries to wrench it off.
What if I want a solid gold Spirit of Ecstasy? Not a problem, sir. We’ll just need to have a word with your bank manager.
What’s the weirdest rule at the Rolls-Royce factory? Employees must wear a specially made deodorant so they don’t impart any impure odors on your new baby.
Who actually owns the company? BMW, i.e., the Germans. Suddenly that deodorant thing totally makes sense.
Which Bond villain had the ugliest Rolls-Royce? Auric Goldfinger’s acid yellow 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III.
Who bought a Rolls-Royce at age 30 even though he didn’t have a driver’s license? The great Michael Caine.
Do you have any Grey Poupon? Of course.
All images via Rolls-Royce