February 6, 1911. That date marks the official birth of what's arguably become the most iconic bonnet ornament in all of automotive history. Of course, the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy isn't merely a bonnet ornament – it is an embodiment of the forward-thinking elegance of the storied British brand. Or something like that, anyway. And now there's a new version for an all-electric future.
Don't worry, Rolls-Royce purists. This modern Spirit of Ecstasy is still very much identifiable as the familiar figurine that's graced bonnets for well over a century. The wings (actually, that's the feminine figurine's robes) still cascade out with the wind. The stance is still firm, facing forward with a shimmering finish. Look close, however, and you'll see this Spirit of Ecstasy isn't standing straight-legged as before. Instead, the figure is in a crouch with legs bent and one slightly in front. The body now leans aggressively forward, creating what Rolls-Royce calls a "true goddess of speed."
Gallery: Rolls-Royce Spirit Of Ecstasy Redesign
The practical aspect of these changes is better aerodynamics. The new figure is ever-so-slightly shorter, and the shape should offer less resistance to the wind. That's important when it comes to electric vehicles, which is where this new Spirit of Ecstasy will be used. Fine-tuning even the smallest detail for less wind resistance translates to better vehicle range, and Rolls-Royce tells us its forthcoming Spectre EV already scores a drag coefficient of 0.26.
"The Spirit of Ecstasy is the most famous and desirable automotive mascot in the world," said Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. "More than just a symbol, she is the embodiment of our brand, and a constant source of inspiration and pride for the marque and its clients. Like our brand, she has always moved with the times while staying true to her nature and character. In her new form she is more streamlined and graceful than ever before – the perfect emblem for the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created, and for gracing the prow of our bold electric future."
Gallery: Rolls-Royce Spectre Spy Shots
While the new figurine's debut is now, it will be quite some time before we see it on a vehicle. The current Spirit of Ecstasy will remain the figurine for Rolls-Royce models using internal combustion power. The new version will appear on future electric vehicles, starting with the Spectre which should debut in 2023.