Second Drive: 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn

– Detroit, Michigan

Rolls-Royce will tell you the mission of its cars is to ensure you’re more relaxed when you get out than when you got in. And for chauffeur-preferred machines like the Phantom or Ghost, that makes a lot of sense. But while Rolls-Royce is occasionally shaking up that formula these days – the Wraith Black Badge, for example, emphasises the coupe’s dynamics with more power and a sportier suspension tune – this latest Dawn convertible, well, let’s just say it’s got the whole relaxation thing down to a science.

Everything about driving the new Dawn is pleasant. It’s all easy, relaxed, and flowing. There are no sudden movements, no harsh changes, and nothing to disrupt that classic Rolls-Royce waft as you float down the road. In fact, as the miles pile on, you realize that the Dawn’s own reward is the blissful state of harmony you feel with the car after you’ve learned to slow down, and take it easy. This convertible rewards your more timid steering and throttle inputs with a driving experience that is unmatched in its serenity.

The Dawn also has a ton of power, and can do a 0-60 sprint in just under five seconds. But that’s hardly the point. It’s not about making the most of an obscenely powerful engine, it’s about having more-than-adequate levels of thrust should Sir require it. The biturbocharged 6.6-liter V12 underhood is familiar from other Rolls-Royce models, producing 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque in this application. And it’s matched with a...