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NEW ROLLS-ROYCE FIXES THE BIG PROBLEMS WITH CONVERTIBLES

If Marcel Proust were alive today and in need of extra cash, he’d find good work chez Rolls-Royce, which announced its new model in a 4,800-word opus that doesn’t mention the car until the fourth paragraph. One must ignore the references to the advent of jet travel and the Big Bang Theory, and move past phrases like “night becomes day as rays of sunshine burst forth, bringing the inside out, joining this social space with the wider world of possibilities.” Only then do you realize Rolls-Royce is introducing a convertible called the “Dawn,” an attractive car packed with swanky features and designed to eliminate two major hassles of convertibles. Rather than force you to wade through the À la recherche du temps perdu of press releases, here’s Cliff’s Notes version: Two years ago, Rolls-Royce debuted the Wraith, a lovely fastback coupé aimed at younger, yet still exceedingly wealthy, buyers more interested in driving than riding in the back.

The Dawn is a drop-top Wraith, even if it is wrapped in new bodywork. In addition to being absurdly expensive, Rolls-Royce automobiles are absurdly quick, and the Dawn is no exception. The 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine produces 563 horsepower, enough to propel 5,600 pounds of opulence to 62 mph in a spritely 4.9 seconds. All that oomph flows through a “satellite-aided transmission,” which uses GPS to spot terrain changes like hills and chooses which of its eight gears is best suited to the job at hand.

Speaking of hands, the car’s UI features a touchpad rather than a touch screen, “which might leave unsightly fingerprints at driver and passenger eye level.” Rather than poke and swipe at a screen like those plebeians in Bentleys, those in a Dawn use their fingers to write commands on the pad, a neat tool we’ve seen in recent Audis and BMWs. This one recognizes Mandarin and Arabic, showing Rolls recognizes that Dawn happens in the East, where you can find more and more of the world’s billionaires.

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