Behind the Wheel of the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge

This head-turning beauty is pure automotive opulence.


Strange things happen when I’m driving elite automobiles around a given city. I don’t own these cars and only drive them for a week or so at a time to review their features and capabilities Still, other drivers don’t know that. Who am I to correct their ignorance?

Sometimes folks want to take pictures with my Aston Martin or Bentley. Maybe they want to speed past the BMW M Series or the Mercedes-Benz AMG because they suddenly feel inadequate in their car of choice and want to win back some vague sense of four-wheeled self-respect.

Then there was the time the guy wanted to drag race his Cadillac light to light against my 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge.


The legendary UK automaker — the creator of everything from the world’s most famous luxury cars to the airplane engine that won the Battle of Britain – allowed me to take the wheel of $478,000 Dawn Black Badge for 48 hours. I drove and reviewed its ilk in the past, testing a Wraith in the past. The Rolls-Royce driving experience is unique in the automotive world.

A Rolls-Royce – be it that Wraith or the new Dawn Black Badge – exists to surround and isolate the driver from the harshness of common driving. With its double-wishbone front suspension, multi-link rear suspension with self leveling air springs and electronic variable vamping control, the Dawn’s suspension turns a Rolls-Royce into a precious metal hovercraft.

Though it comes equipped with a massive 6.6-liter, 563-horsepower V12, the Dawn Black is not a performance car. Such labels are considered beneath a Rolls-Royce’s dignity. A similarly priced Ferrari or Lamborghini is engineered to connect the driver to the pavement to feel every turn and maneuver in his bone marrow. The Dawn and its sisters enclose the owner in his own dimension of silence and comfort.


A steel monocoque body with steel body panels and doors give the Dawn Black Badge its share of the iconic Rolls-Royce heaviness. Not only does that weight settle the six-ton vehicle into turns, but the steel causing the heft helps to protect the machine in any collisions. Put simply, a Rolls-Royce is a velvet tank.

Though equipped with a complete infotainment suite, electronic everything and a 600-watt, 16-speaker audio system, the Dawn’s designers kept the signature flares of Rolls-Royce cars of the past — including the analog clock and traditional speedometer.

Getting back to the overgrown Chucky Doll with the Cadillac and the misdirected testosterone problem, I smiled at his revving offer and let him proceed from the light like the screeching fool he was. A Rolls-Royce does not need to prove itself.


The simple truth is this: There’s no point in the owner of the 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge in racing anyone. If he owns the car, the race is over. He won.