Rolls-Royce Dawn and Wraith bid farewell to America this year
These models will continue to be sold globally through 2023.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
The sun will soon set on the
. These large, luxurious two-doors will be phased out over the next few years, with US production ending after 2021, the automaker confirmed Tuesday.
Rolls-Royce will focus on the models that use the company's dedicated Architecture of Luxury platform: the Cullinan, Ghost and Phantom. The Dawn and Wraith use the F01 platform borrowed from Rolls' parent company, BMW, which underpinned the last-generation 7 Series sedan. Rolls-Royce says the Dawn and Wraith were never designed to move over to the Architecture of Luxury.
Rolls-Royce says that, due to regulatory issues, 2021 will be the last model year for the Dawn and Wraith in the US. For the rest of the world, production is expected to continue through 2023.
2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge is double-door opulence
The Wraith coupe was first introduced at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and went on sale later that year. It joined the
as the company's second two-door model, but shared its underpinnings with the last-generation Ghost sedan. The Wraith was powered by a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 engine, making a healthy 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The engine was later updated to offer 605 lb-ft.
A Black Badge version of the Wraith joined the lineup in 2016, with a more powerful version of the V12 engine that made 642 lb-ft of torque. As its name suggests, the Black Badge was all about removing the brightwork and giving the Wraith a more sinister appearance. A sport driving mode -- accessed via the "Low" button on the gear lever -- also put a little more pep in the Black Badge's step, with more aggressive shift mapping for the eight-speed automatic transmission.
"Even when launching from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, the Wraith feels relaxed, never brutal or even particularly loud," reviews editor Antuan Goodwin said of the Wraith Black Badge in 2020. "This is simply what it does -- effortless speed."
"The keyword when it comes to the Wraith is 'effortless'," says social media editor Daniel Golson, who recently spent a weekend driving a 2021 Wraith Black Badge. "Despite its size and the general nervousness that comes with driving a nearly $500,000 car, the Wraith is easy to drive, even on tight LA city streets. It's powerful and quick as hell, the ride quality is impeccable, the interior is cosseting and isolating, and the super light and direct steering is unlike any other car's -- you can literally steer with just a pinky finger. Plus, almost a decade on, the Wraith still looks damn good."
Following the Wraith, Rolls-Royce introduced the Dawn convertible in 2015, ahead of the first deliveries in 2016. Technically a convertible counterpart to the Wraith, the Dawn was actually quite different -- 80% of its body panels were different from the Wraith's. The grille used a different design and the front bumper was extended by 2 inches. Power came from the same twin-turbo V12 as the Wraith, but most recently had 563 hp and 605 lb-ft.
Like the Wraith, the Dawn received the Black Badge treatment, as well, with power increasing to 593 hp and 620 lb-ft. But even so, as reviews editor Emme Hall pointed out when she first tested this convertible in 2016, "The Dawn is meant for cruising, and it does that amazingly well."
In addition to the standard and Black Badge versions, Rolls-Royce offered a number of limited-edition models, not to mention a whole bunch of bespoke creations for wealthy clients. Some of our favorites in recent years include the neon Black Badges and pastel collection. There's something about that salmon-colored Dawn that just... works.
What's the future hold for Rolls-Royce's two-door models? The company's keeping tight-lipped for now. A spokesperson told us Rolls-Royce has "lots of new things coming down the pipeline," and that the discontinuation of the Dawn and Wraith are not indicative of decreased demand for Rolls-Royce products. Quite the contrary, in fact -- through the first quarter of 2021, Rolls-Royce delivered 1,380 vehicles, a 62% increase over the same period in 2020.
It's unlikely that Rolls-Royce will soldier on without some sort of coupe or convertible in its stable, and we can't wait to see what's in store.
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge is an exercise in excess