Dawn Black Badge: Open-Top Opulence Without Compromise

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Created to satisfy overwhelming demand from a new breed of Rolls-Royce patrons, Dawn Black Badge stands as the most luxurious, social and sensual space from which to take in the night air.

This most glamorous, uncompromising expression of open-top luxury is given a darker, more sensual dimension through its Black Badge engineering and design treatments.

Dawn Black Badge is presented in a deeply intense shade of black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer have been fastidiously applied and hand-polished in a way that amounts to the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint colour. The roof, which opens in a ‘Silent Ballet’, is available only in black canvas; the rear deck is finished in black leather.

The Spirit of Ecstasy is finished in a perfectly executed black chrome. This transformation to a darker aesthetic extends to chrome surfaces including the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, exhaust pipes and air inlet finisher. The ‘Double R’ badges are inverted to silver on black.

The interior surfaces are finished in a material specially created in a collaboration between the marque’s design and engineering departments. Threads of aircraft grade aluminium, each just 0.014m in diameter, are woven together and bonded in carbon fibre, then finished with six coats of lacquer and left to cure for 72 hours before being hand-polished to Rolls-Royce’s hallmark mirror finish.

In a nod to one of Rolls-Royce’s great pioneer patrons, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s famous ‘Infinity’ logo is beautifully embroidered into the car’s rear waterfall.

Bespoke Engineering

The distilled essence of Dawn is amplified through the engineering that underpins the Black Badge philosophy. In Dawn Black Badge, this manifests itself in a more spirited driving experience, accentuated by the exhaust system. At the touch of the ‘Low’ button, the engine takes on a menacing bass baritone note, announcing its arrival with authority rather than hysteria.

The engine itself is a 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 that generates 593bhp – a gain of 30bhp over the ‘standard’ Dawn – plus an additional 20NM of torque available from 1,500rpm, bringing the total to 840NM.

The transmission and throttle strategy give Dawn Black Badge an enhanced feeling of urgency without diminishing its position as the world’s most luxurious open-top tourer. The drivetrain, ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox and steering-rack work together to create a more spirited drive depending on throttle and steering input.

The result is a perfectly stately Rolls-Royce touring experience at low speeds and a highly engaging drive when you seek to ‘push on’. Suspension settings and components also ensure an appropriate balance between Rolls-Royce comfort and driver focus, felt in flatter cornering at high speeds.

To match this increased urgency, Dawn Black Badge is fitted with larger brake discs. The transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner under braking, offering engine braking when driving in a more spirited manner.

Fast Facts – Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge:

  • Max speed: 155 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 4.9 secs
  • Combined mpg: 16.8
  • Engine layout: 6,598cc V12 twin-turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 600
  • CO2: 382 g/km           
  • Price: £348,925

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