Rolls-Royce drops the top on its Black Badge performance range by unveiling a more powerful version of the Dawn at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It joins the Black Badge variants of the Ghost and Wraith.
Rolls’ engineers boost the droptop’s 6.6-liter biturbo V12 to 593 horsepower (442 kilowatts) and 620 pound-feet (840 Newton-meters) – up from 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque from the standard model. It gets the 5,644-pound (2,560 kilogram) convertible to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 4.9 seconds.
Despite the output improvement, the Wraith is the least powerful model in the Black Badge range. The hotter version of the Wraith produces 624 hp and 642 lb-ft, and the special variant of the Ghost has 603 hp (450 kW) and 620 lb-ft (840 Nm).
The Dawn Black Badge’s mechanical upgrades go far beyond just a more potent engine, though. The company introduces a new dual-mode exhaust on the convertible that includes a “Low” button in the cabin that creates “a menacing bass baritone,” according to the company.
In addition, the firm tunes the eight-speed automatic gearbox and throttle settings for what Rolls calls a greater “feeling of urgency” behind the wheel. A revised suspension setup gives the convertible flatter cornering ability, and there’s a quicker steering rack. The brakes are also an inch larger in diameter.
Aesthetically, the Dawn Black Badge is as dark as a Spinal Tap album cover. Rolls claims that the multiple layers of hand-polished paint and lacquer has the “most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color” and that the shade is the “deepest, darkest and most intense black to ever grace a production car surface.” The roof features a similarly shadowy hue of dark canvas, and black leather covers the rear deck. For a little shine, dark chrome highlights the Spirit of Ecstasy hood emblem, front grille, exhaust, and trunk trim.
Inside, the Dawn Black Badge features lots of black leather, but bright Mandarin orange highlights keep the cabin from appearing too dark. The company also uses a coating method called Physical Vapour Deposition on the air vents for creating a dark finish that Rolls claims would “never discolor or tarnish.” As a final interior flourish, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s infinity logo appears on the center section between the rear seats.
Gallery: Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge
THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THE BLACK BADGE STORY DAWNS AT THE GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016, Rolls-Royce presented a truly transformative moment on the luxury landscape – the introduction of a permanent Bespoke family of motor cars called Black Badge, designed in response to the differing lifestyle requirements of a younger, more dynamic patron of luxury.
Since its introduction, Black Badge has done much to attract a new generation of Rolls-Royce customers to the marque. As a result of overwhelmingly positive customer demand for Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge, the time is now right to add a new chapter to the Black Badge story.
The 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed will celebrate machines so beyond measurable limitations, they have changed the landscape in which they operate – an entirely fitting stage on which the third chapter in this truly transformative story can unfurl – the global debut of Dawn Black Badge, the most uncompromising expression of open-top luxury in the world.
The Black Badge story
Since it was launched in 2016, Black Badge has become the most commanding presence on the super-luxury landscape. Its authentic Bespoke engineering and design approach has answered the demands of those customers who have said “Build us a Rolls-Royce like no other”.
Black Badge is Rolls-Royce’ s response to a small and select group of clients who have asked the marque for motor cars with specific, focused characteristics that reflect their different take on life, success and the luxury they consume. These people choose to define themselves differently from theirwider social group; a subset within a subset.
It is this indomitable spirit that, since the launch of Black Badge, has captivated so many of today’ s young owners, who are drawn to Rolls-Royce in the knowledge that no other luxury house is possessed of the vision and flexibility to meet their demands both in design and engineering terms. Indeed, Black Badge serves to amplify the inherent characteristics that have driven so many new, younger patrons of luxury to the marque.
In conceiving Black Badge versions of Wraith, Ghost and now Dawn, the marque’ s Bespoke designers and engineers drew upon their instinctive understanding of the unique lives of these extraordinary men and women to create both design and engineering treatments that perfectly amplify the inherent values of these great Rolls-Royces.
Dawn Black Badge
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 new and darker sensual dimension through its suite of Black Badge engineering and design treatments.
The Dawn Black Badge at the Festival of Speed is presented in a deeply intense shade of black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer have been fastidiously applied and hand-polished in a process that amounts to the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint colour. The result clothes Dawn’ s sensuous lines in the deepest, darkest and most intense black to ever grace a production car surface. The roof, which opens in a ‘ Silent Ballet’ to allow in the sounds of the night, is also only available in black canvas, whilst the rear deck is finished in black leather.
In creating Black Badge, Rolls-Royce’ s Bespoke designers have sought to create true signifiers of this more assertive alter-ego for the marque. Dawn gets this same treatment.
The Spirit of Ecstasy – itself a mascot that has taken many different forms throughout the marque’ s history – transforms into a high-gloss vamp, finished in a perfectly executed black chrome. This transformation to a darker aesthetic extends to certain chrome surfaces including the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, exhaust pipes and air inlet finisher. The effect is an authentic transformation that speaks of a bolder, more confident sensibility. Finally, the ‘ Double R’ signifiers on the Rolls-Royce badges are inverted in colour, confirming the creation of a true alter-ego of the marque.
This bold, edgy design ethos extends beautifully into the interior – an exquisitely appointed staging point for patrons who seek to discover the night’ s elements with the roof down. This exquisite expression of noir informs every conceivable detail. For example, innovative production techniques such as Physical Vapour Deposition, a highly technical surfacing method, perfectly darkens the air-vents throughout the interior in a manner that will never discolour or tarnish.
Reflecting the marque’ s Bespoke philosophy, Dawn Black Badge also plays host to a new interior palette break-up. Higher levels of exquisite Black leather are accented boldly with Mandarin highlights, including a strip of orange highlight which encircles the cabin at hip-height, evocative of the sunset before the passengers are immersed in darkness.
A final touch, again, in a nod to one of Rolls-Royce’ s great pioneer patrons, Sir Malcolm Campbell, finishes the rear interior space. His famous ‘ Infinity’ rating logo beautifully embroidered into the car’ s rear waterfall, gives a subtle nod to a man very much possessed of the restless spirit that so defines the Black Badge attitude.
Truly Bespoke Engineering
Like its stablemates Ghost and Wraith, the distilled essence of Dawn is amplified through the engineering that underpins the Black Badge philosophy. In the case of Dawn, the engineering substance that leads to more spirited driving is accentuated by the creation of an entirely new exhaust system, that when deployed by the press of the ‘ low’ button, celebrates Rolls-Royce’ s hallmark V12 engine with a menacing bass baritone, announcing its arrival with authority rather than hysteria.
The exhaust tone adds an aural dimension to a suite of engineering enhancements. Indeed, Black Badge stands as a truly Bespoke collaboration between design and engineering, answering the demands of a new breed of patron of luxury who seeks a more spirited, involving driving experience which retains the peerless quality of ride that has driven Dawn’ s success. To achieve this, the engineers have exploited the flexibility of Dawn’ s magnificent 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 to generate an extra 30bhp over the car’ s already ample 563bhp, bringing the total to 593bhp. That hallmark sense of one infinite gear is also given bolder expression with the addition of a further 20NM of torque available from 1,500rpm, bringing the total to 840NM.
Fundamental changes to the transmission and throttle strategy give Dawn an enhanced feeling of urgency without diminishing its position as the world’ s most luxurious open-top tourer. Indeed, the drive-train, ZF 8-speed gear box and steering-rack are so intuitive that they 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 the driver seeks to ‘ push on’ .
Fundamental changes to suspension settings and components also ensure an appropriate balance between Rolls-Royce comfort and driver focus, felt in flatter cornering at high speeds.
The increased urgency of Dawn Black Badge has led to the development of new brakes with an increase in diameter of one inch. During deceleration, a fundamental remapping of the transmission strategy leads to downshifts a few rpm sooner under braking, offering engine braking when driving in a more spirited manner.
The steering-rack has also been quickened and engineered for more feedback. Speed-dependent adjustments also embolden Black Badge drivers as they enjoy an added sense of security and feel derived from increased steering weight at high speeds.
Dawn Black Badge is now available to commission.
Vehicle length: 5285mm / 17.34ft
Vehicle width: 1947mm / 6.39ft
Vehicle height: (unladen) 1502mm / 4.93ft
Wheelbase: 3112mm / 10.21ft
Turning circle: 12.7m / 41.7ft
Boot Volume: (DIN) 244ltr - 295ltr / 8.6 ft³ - 10.4 ft³
Unladen Weight: (DIN) 2560kg / 5644lb
Engine / cylinders / valves: V / 12 / 48
Fuel management: Direct injection
Power output @ engine speed: 593bhp /442KW /@ 5250rpm
Max torque @ engine speed: 620 ft lbf/840NM @1500 rpm
Fuel type 10:1 / Premium unleaded
Top speed: 250kmh / 155mph (governed)
Acceleration: 0 - 100km/h 4.9sec
Urban 22.9ltr / 100km / 12.3mpg (Imp.)
Extra urban 10.1ltr / 100km / 28.0mpg (Imp.)
Combined consumption / range 14.7ltr / 100km / 19.2mpg (Imp.)
CO2 emissions 337g/km