The Rolls-Royce Dawn has debuted in Australia in the most fitting way: at dawn on the back of a luxury boat on Sydney harbour.

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The Dawn becomes the fourth nameplate in Rolls-Royce’s expanding range, joining the flagship Phantom, ‘compact’ Ghost, and the Wraith coupe, on which the new ‘drophead’ model is based.

It’s the first time the Dawn has been shown to customers and media in Asia Pacific, highlighting the significance of the Australian market, which is expected to be one of the biggest for Dawn in our region.

Local Rolls-Royce Dawn deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2016, with the almost-5.3-metre-long convertible priced from $749,000 on the road, making it $104,000 more expensive than the Wraith coupe.

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Rolls-Royce is determined to distance the new soft-top from the hardtop, however, insisting that “contrary to media speculation, the new Rolls-Royce Dawn is not a Wraith drophead”.

The iconic British car maker says 80 per cent of the Dawn’s exterior body panels are unique, though there are plenty of commonalities beneath the skin.

Under the Dawn’s rakish bonnet sits a familiar twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 that produces 420kW at 5250rpm and 780Nm at 1500rpm (down 45kW and 20Nm on the Wraith’s outputs).

The whopping powerplant launches the 2560kg convertible from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. For those concerned, combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 14.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

The engine pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. As seen in earlier Rolls models, the Dawn features satellite aided transmission technology, which uses GPS data to anticipate the road ahead and select the most appropriate gear for the conditions and the attitude of the driver.

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The one area Rolls-Royce is happy for comparisons to be drawn between the Dawn and Wraith is in terms of cabin noise – or the lack thereof. The car maker claims the Dawn delivers the same silence as the Wraith with its fabric roof up. Speaking of, the roof can be raised and lowered in 21 seconds at driving speeds up to 50km/h.

Accessed via Rolls’ signature rear-hinged doors, the cabin includes four individual seats, surrounded by leather, wood and metal, not to mention 16 speakers.

Rolls-Royce claims the Dawn’s sound system is “the most exhaustively designed automotive hi-fi system ever developed”, and has minutely calibrated to suit both roof-up and roof-down driving conditions.

Technology highlights inside the Dawn include a touch-sensitive rotary controller, intelligent single-command voice control, a 10.25-inch high-definition display screen, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights with auto high beam dipping, head-up display and a heat detection system to warn drivers of pedestrians and animals potentially hidden from vision at night.

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The one famous Rolls-Royce feature the Dawn lacks is the Starlight Headliner, which uses hundreds of fibre optic lights to create unique constellations in the headliners of the fixed-roof models.

Rolls-Royce Dawn global product manager Jonanthan Shears told CarAdvice the Dawn is rather a case of life imitating art: “With every Dawn will be a free 19 billion starlight view – although they are not dimmable.”