2019 Rolls-Royce Dawn vs. 2018 Ferrari California T

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Dawn’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The California T doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Dawn has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The California T doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Dawn has standard PostCrash, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The California T doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Dawn helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The California T doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The Dawn’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The California T doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Dawn’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The California T doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Dawn has standard Rolls Royce Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The California T doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Dawn and the California T have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and front and rear parking sensors.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn weighs 1390 pounds more than the Ferrari California T. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The Dawn comes with a full 4-year/unlimited-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The California T’s 3-year/100,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year sooner.

The Dawn’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the California T’s (4/unlimited vs. 3/100,000).

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Dawn has a standard 220-amp alternator. The California T’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Dawn is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Dawn’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The California T’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The Dawn’s standard 6.6 turbo V12 produces 10 more horsepower (563 vs. 553) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (605 vs. 557) than the California T’s 3.9 turbo V8. The Dawn Black Label’s standard 6.6 turbo V12 produces 40 more horsepower (593 vs. 553) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (620 vs. 557) than the California T’s 3.9 turbo V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Dawn has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the California T (21.9 vs. 20.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Rolls-Royce Dawn, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the California T.

Brakes and Stopping

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In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Dawn has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The California T doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Dawn has larger front tires than the California T (F:255/45R20 & R:285/40R20 vs. F:245/35R20 & R:285/35R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Dawn has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the California T. The Dawn’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the California T.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Dawn can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The California T doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Dawn has active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The California T doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the Dawn uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the California T, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The Dawn offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Ferrari doesn’t offer an active suspension on the California T.

The Dawn has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The California T doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Dawn’s wheelbase is 17.4 inches longer than on the California T (122.5 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Dawn is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the California T.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Dawn a Compact car, while the California T is rated a Minicompact.

The Dawn has 25 cubic feet more passenger volume than the California T (100 vs. 75).

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Dawn’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The California T doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Dawn to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ferrari doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the California T.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the California T, the Dawn has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Dawn’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The California T doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Dawn offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The California T doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Dawn’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Ferrari does not offer a locking feature on the California T’s standard power windows.

The Dawn’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The California T’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the Dawn the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the California T can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the Dawn has a standard remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The California T doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Dawn to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The California T doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Dawn detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The California T doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the Dawn is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The California T’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Dawn and the California T have standard heated front seats. The Dawn also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the California T.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Dawn keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The California T doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Dawn has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The California T doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Dawn offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The California T doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Dawn’s standard steering wheel mounted cruise control on/off switch is conveniently located with the rest of the cruise controls. The California T’s standard cruise control must be turned on with a hard to find switch on the dashboard.

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