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MOTORING: Rolls-Royce Dawn

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Any Rolls-Royce is expected to be perfect in every way and the all-new Dawn surely does live up to this expectation − or does it?

This new convertible from Rolls-Royce slots in above the Ghost and the Wraith but below the Phantom. It is not a replacement of the outgoing Drophead but a new model all-together.

The look of the car is similar to that of the Ghost and the Wraith with its now signature headlights and huge chrome grill that is topped with the Spirit of Ecstasy. As you approach the car, you realise just how long the Dawn is, even though it is only a two-door vehicle. The door handles are just below the rear-view mirrors. The rear end is simple with clean lines and rather plain rear lights with chrome surrounds. With the roof up the vehicle has a distinctive coupé look, with the roof down it looks longer and the roof cover is covered with wood. This makes you feel like you’re about to board a yacht.

When you open the huge ‘suicide doors’ (doors that are hinged at the rear) you are welcomed to the lush interior. The soft leather and thick pile carpets make you feel like royalty. The vehicle is so luxurious that I felt I was doing something wrong entering with my shoes on.

Entry to the rear seats is a breeze thanks to the large doors and the touch button that pushes the front seat forward. This is a pure four-seater with individual seats for all four passengers. The seats are more comfortable than any car, plane or lounge suite I have ever sat in, apart from other Rolls-Royces. The soft leather steering wheel and oodles of wood continue the luxury look and feel.

That said, Rolls-Royce have not forgotten that we are in the 21st century, as this vehicle has all the toys expected of modern cars − like park distance with cameras, an infotainment system, etc. There is also an i-Drive-type system to control everything in the car. The roof is raised and lowered at the touch of a button and in keeping with Rolls-Royce tradition, there is an umbrella fitted inside each door. To me, the best feature was the automatic door closing, as these are ‘suicide doors’ and it’s very difficult to close the doors unless you get out. Well, now all you need to do is press a button on the corner of the dashboard and the doors close.

At this stage many may say that this is a soft, luxurious vehicle with no real grunt …  Well, you would be mistaken. This vehicle may be the pinnacle of luxury, but it also has plenty of grunt. The 6,6-litre V12 motor is whisper-silent, but depress the accelerator and you are carefully surged into the soft seats as you see the scenery fly past.

On the whole, the Rolls-Royce Dawn lives up to expectations and has been crafted to be the best in every way possible. Once you have driven a Rolls-Royce, there is no going back!

Engine – 6,6L  V12

Power – 420 KW

Torque –  820 N.M

0-100km/h – 5,0 SECONDS

Price – POA

Honda Civic Type R

Although this car has been on our roads for a while now, the first ever turbo-charged Civic Type R still turns heads

The current Type R pushes the limits when it comes to the looks department, though. Initially you notice the rather large rear spoiler, which is more like a wing than a spoiler. This is a dual spoiler, with the lower one at the base of the rear windscreen. As you start to look carefully at the car you notice the quad tail pipes, rear diffuser, and central rear fog light. This completes the racing car look from the rear, which is what most drivers will see of this car. When you move around the car, you see the low stance and bulging low-profile tyres and bulging rear fender, which is only outdone by the front fender. This fender shows just how far Honda has taken the racing design. This front fender bulges out to expose a vent just in front of the door and at the top it has shark-like gills: all of this to keep the Bremo racing brakes cool.

Up front the white headlight surrounds and high gloss black in the centre of the bumper and front spoiler lend the car some sophistication. Overall the Civic Type R looks like it is more at home on the track than on the road.

Although the car is a four door, the rear door handles are just behind the rear window glass, giving the car a somewhat two-door coupé look. Open the doors (which do feel solid) and you are welcomed by track-grade bucket seats covered in red suede with some black accents. When you slip into the snug seats, your hand automatically falls to the round aluminium-covered gearshift. As you get comfy behind the steering wheel, you notice the red centre line on the top section of the wheel. The dashboard has a large rev counter in front of the driver and a digital speedometer in the top section of the dashboard, ensuring you can always keep an eye on your speed. In keeping with the racing car look and feel, as you drive the car and speed up through the rev range, lights come on above either side of the speed read-out. These ultimately meet as they turn red, indicating that you are about to redline and it’s time to change up gears.

As this car is all about the speed, there is an R+ button. This should only be pressed when the road is smooth or if you’re planning to enter the track. The reason is that the steering stiffens, but so does the suspension, as the motor goes into race mode. In fact, in R+ mode the car becomes so stiff that you can feel every bump and stone in the road.

On the whole this Civic Type R has taken the Civic back to Honda’s racing heritage while managing to keep the vehicle practical. That said, the best part of the car is pushing it to its limits, as it screams as it passes 5 000 rpm on its way to the 7 500 rpm red line.

This car is all fun and I will miss having it in my driveway. If you want a car out of the ordinary and you enjoy white-knuckle thrills, this one has to be on your list.

Engine – 2,0L  4 Cylinder Turbo

Power – 228 KW

Torque –  400 N.M

0-100Km/h – 5,7 SECONDS

Price – From R615 900

AUTHOR l Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ