The Rolls-Royce Dawn
Rolls-Royce tends to do things a little differently to most car makers. The company isn't in the habit of rushing new modles to market, and its heritage in luxurious, handcrafted cars has long represented the pinnacle of both technology and exclusivity. Seen in this context, the launch of the Rolls-Royce Dawn is an important event.
Not only is it the marque's first drophead coupe in almost a decade and only the third convertible in 45 years, but it also represents a broadening of its audience focus.
CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes claims the Dawn is "quite simply, the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built", and his words might well be more than just hype. The entire production run for 2016 - and much of that for 2017 - has already sold out, which required a large amount of hype.
In an effort to reach a younger audience, Rolls-Royce did something it had never done before: it launched the car online, in an enormous global campaign that drew huge interest last November.
The marque trended on social media channels for several days - and more than 4,000 journalist logged on to the site to watch the event live.
Global head of corporate communications, Richard Carter, said that the company saw a demand from, "a much younger and much more social group of people. They live online, they want to be social. They said 'Give us a droptop but make it social. Don't give us a car in which the passengers in the rear are sitting with their knees under their chins. Give us a car that is truly four seats: give us a car which is social and sensuous, and we'll buy it.'"
It's almost impossible to believe tha we are in Cape Town, South Africa to see the results of the dialogue between Rolls-Royce and its next generations of buyers.
Why Cape Town? Well, seeing as the brand refused to do things by half, it scoured the globe for a location that offered some of the world's best scenery and driving roads.
And thos roads gave us plenty of scope to find out more about the Dawn's capabilities. It shares the same wheelbase, 6.6-litre V12 engine, eight-speed satellite-guided transmission and chassis underpinnings that serve the Wraith coupe, but the two are vastly different machines.
Rolls-Royce's design team changed the stance of the car to have it sit forward over the rear haunches. Where the Wraith tends to slope rearwards, the Dawn's primed stance gives it a more athletic look. This is enhanced by incorporating the roof into the Dawn's fluid profile, and on making the 22-second opening and closing system entirely silent. Engineers dubbed the procedure "the silent ballet."
Rolls-Royce cars may exuse opulence but they manage to do it in a subtle way. Yes, the carpets are lush and the six-layer fabric roof seals out noise as well as any tin-top couple does, but there's a feeling of richness and depth to the quality of work that underscores the car's pedigree.
You know that the timber veneers are hand matched, that the craftsmanship in the leatherwork has been passed down over the decades and that the precision dialled into every curve, line and detil has been painstakingly executed. You know this without having to tap the timber to test its thickness. Every switch, dial and lever has a quality to it that is quite unlike anything else.
The engine is almost as silent as the roof, and while the 565hp twin-turbo V12 offers up more than enough power and oodles of torque, it's also buttery smooth and seamless.
Rolls-Royce says the Dawn will hit 100kph in 4.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 350kph, which, with the top down, is plenty. Mash the go-pedal into the plush carpet lining the firewall, and yu can never really get the needle on the Power Resere gauge to hit zero.
The engine produces its 780Nm torque at 1,500rpm, so you never need to push the engine to get the most out of it. The engineering team also tweaked the throttle programming to deliver 30 percent more response at medium throttle.
Back on those South African roads and the Dawn sits perfectly on the Western Cape's twists and turns. It helps that the region is like a Greatest Hits collection of driving experiences: the mountainous stretched of Europe, winding roads of southern Spain, rolling expanses of Italy and the changing coastline of California are all rolled into one around Cape Town.
It's not difficult to be seduced by the Dawn, and it's easy to overlook faults when surrounded by utter luxury. But, in the interests of unbiased journalism and a balanced review, the Dawn does have one fault: its wing mirrors are enormous.
Sure that's a good thing when you're in traffic, but they're in your line of sight when negotiating tight bends or junctions. It's a small thing that you tend to drive around without realising - but it's something that can't escape your notice once you've clocked it.
In every other regards, this is a tremendous driving machine, and it's not at all surprising that it's flying out the showrooms. It seems the hashtag generation is fully on board.