Edited Wed November 18: Originally titled Rolls-Royce Presents A New Dawn in Tokyo*. Below is the original story from my lavish trip to Tokyo for the International launch of the Rolls-Royce Dawn. It’s a good read so I thought I’d leave it as is, but include fresh imagery taken by The Versatile Gent at the Australian Rolls-Royce Dawn launch aboard Tango Superyacht, in Sydney today.
It’s not often you find yourself sitting in a grand reception room, in a British Ambassador’s home, discussing where the Queen sleeps when she’s in town. Last month I found myself in this very position, in one of the oldest buildings in Tokyo, anxiously awaiting my first glimpse of a brand new Rolls-Royce. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I felt more privileged to be among the first to see the new Dawn, or to be allowed into the Ambassador’s home, drinking tea on the same sofa as the Queen. What I was certain of however, was that the new Rolls-Royce waiting patiently behind a brilliant white curtain, in the Ambassador’s garden, was going to be a big deal. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ve got to hand it to the British automobile brands, they’re all class. I’m a firm believer that even the most minute details help shape a person’s perception of a brand. As ludicrous as describing my trip was, whom ever I discussed it with was truly blown away, amazed at the incredible hosts Rolls-Royce had been. I’m proud to say my trip with Rolls-Royce met every imaginable expectation, further cementing themselves in top spot as the most prestigious luxury brand I’ve ever dealt with.
It wasn’t a hard decision to go to Tokyo, staring down the barrel of a short but sweet 25 hours, filled with Business Class flights, Peninsula Hotels and enough chauffeured trips in various Rolls-Royce automobiles to please Goldfinger. I stepped out of Narita Airport and into the humidity, gathering myself before noticing a chauffeur standing in the distance, next to a Rolls-Royce Phantom with the boot open. I turned to the man who greeted me at the gate and jokingly said, ‘I hope that’s not for me’. Sure enough, 10 mins later I was rocketing towards Tokyo, WiFi on, sipping an ice cold water, feet in the soft carpet, bewildered that my hour and half transfer to the hotel would be in the back of a long wheel base Phantom (a transfer that usually costs 68,000 Yen). It makes sense when complimentary luxury brands align, and the relationship between Rolls-Royce and Peninsula Hotels might just be the most impressive in the world.
We met in the hotel lobby the following morning where a Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost II were waiting to take us to the Ambassador’s house for the official preview of Dawn. After clearing security we surrendered our cameras and phones and walked down the Ambassador’s hallway, past framed family style portraits of Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As we waited for the unveiling we perused countless customisation options including wooden veneers, picnic sets and luggage, which, of course, can be matched to your chosen leather seats or dash.
After one too many cucumber sandwiches we were ushered outside, jostling for prime position at the front of the marquee. Formalities were addressed and then, she appeared, Dawn. I was entirely engrossed with the Dawn once the curtains were drawn, equal parts intrigued and excited by the energetic colour combination chosen by the Rolls-Royce. It is a strikingly handsome car, sophisticated and assertive. With the name Dawn linked to a convertible, I was afraid it might be a little soft or feminine – it’s far from it. 80% of the exterior panels are brand new, not borrowed from the Wraith as speculated. The front end is powerful and subtly aggressive while the slight rise over the rear wheels accentuates the car’s sleeker profile and strong waft line, highlighted with a precise pin stripe.
Like all Rolls-Royce vehicles the hardest decision lies in where to sit. The Dawn does a fantastic job of comforting rear passengers, sitting low within the car’s wide hips, arm resting on the striking centre console. Up front the driver has a twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 at their disposal, and a chassis that Rolls-Royce claim is the most rigid four-seater convertible available today. Top up or down, the 16 speaker Bespoke Audio system has been tirelessly developed to provide optimal acoustics while the smooth roof and innovative tailored ‘French Seam’ ensures that the air flow over the car with the roof up creates no noticeable wind noise. A characteristic that has set the Rolls-Royce apart from its competitors for so long.
I left the Ambassador’s house completely in awe of the Dawn. I’m certain of its success, from the shores of Monte Carlo, to Miami, and the sunny streets of Woolarha, we’re going to see a lot more of the Dawn. We climbed back into our chauffeured Rolls-Royce cars and were dropped back to the Peninsula for an afternoon of motoring nirvana. Firstly, a money can’t buy ride in the Peninsula’s immaculately restored, 1934 Phantom II owned by the Chairman of the company, followed by a drive to a traditional tea house, behind the wheel of the fantastic Wraith and the Ghost II. Easily a story in itself.
As I piloted the Salamanca Blue Wraith towards the airport I thought about how much Rolls-Royce had lived up to its brand. Not a single part of the experience could have been executed any better. What really excited me was that Rolls-Royce combined their stellar brand experience with the presentation of an exciting and youthful new convertible, a car that represents the brand’s innovation, direction, and its understanding of the thriving luxury market. Whether it’s pure coincidence, or perfectly composed rhetoric, Dawn is more than just a new model for Rolls-Royce.
And finally for good measure, the rest of the Rolls-Royce entourage in Sydney today.