Whether it’s the classic Ford convertible from 1966′s Batman or the Caped Crusader’s souped-up military-grade ride from the Christopher Nolan films, Batman always gets around Gotham City in style. As he says to Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) in Batman Forever, “Chicks love the car.” And like the Dark Knight himself, the Batmobile constantly changes to reflect the times. So what’s the best Batmobile? Below all its incarnations are ranked on a scale from one to five bats.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman’s ride from The Dark Knight has one feature that makes it stand out: the Batpod. A sleek, ejectable motorcycle created from the front wheels, the Batpod comes in handy for quick escapes (like from Joker’s missiles). Besides sporting machine guns and grappling hooks for easy truck flipping, the Batpod can easily maneuver through traffic or crowded shopping malls. And based on set photos from The Dark Knight Rises, it looks like this version and its Batpod will be back in action next summer.
Batman Begins (2005)
In keeping with director Christopher Nolan’s real-world take on Gotham, this vehicle is never referred to by the comic-book-y moniker the “Batmobile.” Instead, Batman rides the Tumbler, a military bridge-laying vehicle designed by tech guru Lucius (Morgan Freeman). More of a tank than previous Batmobiles, the Tumbler features machine guns, rocket launchers, a grappling hook, and the option for Batman to lie face down for better protection during high-speed pursuits.
Batman & Robin (1997)
The flashy Day-Glo explosion that passes for the Batmobile in this notoriously campy disaster is so ugly that it barely appears in the movie. (Robin’s equally hideous Redbird motorcycle sees more action.) The only advantage the Batman & Robin Batmobile seems to have over its predecessors is the ability to sail unrealistically long distances through the air. Its ability to turn off the Redbird comes in handy for annoying Chris O’Donnell’s insufferable Robin.
Batman Forever (1995)
While not quite as gaudy as the Batman & Robin eyesore, its Batmobile predecessor does glow in the dark. And that’s just wrong. (Also not the best move for a vigilante who hopes to strike fear in the hearts of criminals.) Then there’s the shiny vehicle’s absurd ability to drive up walls. This Batmobile also doesn’t exactly have the best security system, seeing as how Riddler just walks up to it and tosses a bag of explosives into the cockpit.
Using a Chevy Impala as a base, Batman production designer Anton Furst created a sleek Batmobile that is still beloved by fans today. A marvel of design and engineering, this Batmobile nods to the classic car from the comics while adding modern flourishes like machine guns, retractable shields, grappling hooks, oil slicks, bombs, and more. The 1989 Batmobile was so good that Tim Burton even kept it intact for 1992′s Batman Returns.
Based on the Lincoln Futura concept car, the stylish Batmobile from the big-screen adaptation of the sixties Batman TV series is still the grooviest superhero ride around. Unfortunately, it’s overshadowed by new movie-friendly vehicles the Batcycle (with sidecar!), the Batboat, and the Batcopter (the best place to store shark-repellent spray). Still, this Batmobile’s aerodynamic design gets points for inspiring future vehicles.