The inaugural Batman comic was published in May 1939, and on that date, the Batmobile was born. It was a simple red convertible back then, a far cry from the heavily-armored and thoroughly weaponized versions we’re accustomed to today, so much so that it wasn’t even called the Batmobile at the time. It was simply Batman’s car.
10. The Kilmer Mobile (
When Joel Schumacher settled into the director’s chair for 1995’s Batman Forever) Batman Forever, the franchise experienced a dramatic shift in tone from the previous two films. The darker, edgier themes of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns were replaced by Schumacher’s colorful, cartoonish, and family-friendly style of camp, and the Batmobile Val Kilmer drove in the movie is the perfect example of that.
The so-called Kilmer Mobile was fitted with huge stylized fins and more neon lights than Times Square, a decidedly different aesthetic from the menacing bruiser of the Burton era. It certainly had some cool moments in the film — driving up the side of a building with its built-in grappling hook being one of them — but its overt goofiness prevents it from gaining a higher spot on our list. Fun fact: the Kilmer Mobile was designed as a children’s toy initially, and if you’ve seen Batman Forever, that should come as no surprise.
9. The Tank (
The tank-like Batmobile from The Dark Knight Returns) The Dark Knight Returns comic (as well as the 2012 animated film) stands out from the rest of Bruce Wayne’s rides due to its size alone. In the comic, the death of Batman’s protégé Jason Todd forced him to hang up the cape and cowl for good, but the absence of an after hours vigilante in Gotham led to a massive upswing in crime. For his return to herodom, Batman knew he had to step it up.
The aging Dark Knight went full-on military mode in response, enlisting a massive war machine that could brush off rocket attacks with ease and crush anything in its path with its huge treads. The tank was so tough that according to Batman, the only thing that could pierce its armored hide was from another planet. Hmm, who could he possibly be referring to?
8. The Beyond Mobile (
In the futuristic setting of Batman Beyond) Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne was simply too old and weak to fight crime effectively, so he handed off the title of Batman to the younger, more athletic Terry McGinnis. Along with a high-tech Batsuit that gave McGinnis superhuman strength and the ability to fly, he also became the proud owner of an all-new Batmobile more in tune with the science fiction-inspired backdrop of 2039.
A dramatic departure from the ground-based Batmobiles of yore, McGinnis’ ride was a sharp, minimalist pod that can fly at speeds up to Mach 3, fire devastating missiles, and cloak if necessary. Even the famous grappling hook received a 21st century upgrade, as it could be electrified and used as a long-distance Taser if need be. Don’t tase me bro.
7. The Clooney Mobile (
Batman and Robin) Batman and Robin is widely recognized as one the most bizarre, so-bad-it’s-good comic book stories ever put to film, but despite the overwhelming amount of Bat-nipples and awkward close-ups (my eyes are up here, Mr. Freeze), the Batmobile from the movie is actually quite memorable.
Unlike Val Kilmer’s chintzy-looking hooptie, Clooney’s ride was actually subjected to vigorous road testing, and visual effects company TFX famously got the car up to 140 mph in the real world. The 33-foot long behemoth was capable of much more in the Bat-universe however, as it boasted a top speed of 350 mph with the afterburner activated, featured a catapult ejector seat, and equipped a variety of weapons including rocket launchers and axle bombs. It’s a shame that the movie had to suck so hard.
6. The Arkham Mobile (
The Batmobile from 2015’s Arkham Knight) Arkham Knight is the only vehicle on this list that we can actually control, and although it may have been used a bit too much in the game, its impressive bevy of tech and awesome appearance guarantee its spot on our list.
While cruising around Gotham and completing The Riddler’s challenges was fun, our favorite part of the game was the Batmobile’s unique “Battle Mode” setting, which widened the vehicle’s track, increased its ground clearance, and deployed a small army’s worth of weapons that could destroy anything in its path. When facing unmanned drone tanks, the Batmobile used its 60mm cannon and missile launchers to get the job done, but due to Batman’s “strict” no-kill policy, the Batmobile featured several non-lethal options as well. The best of the lot are the Tasers that cover the vehicle’s shell, which jolt bad guys into unconsciousness when you run into them regardless of speed.
Don’t worry, they’re just sleeping.
5. The Batfleck Mobile (
We have to be honest, we haven’t seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) Dawn of Justice yet, but by the looks of it, Batfleck’s ride of choice could be one of the coolest Batmobiles ever put to screen. The blacked-out terrorizer measures in at 20 feet long and weighs a hearty 7,000 pounds, but despite its considerable size, its Chevrolet-sourced V8 engine gives the car an impressive top speed of 205 mph. Better still, it equips retractable .50 caliber machine guns and stealth capabilities.
How will it stack up against Superman and the litany of other villains in Dawn of Justice? We’ll find out soon enough.
4. The Animated Mobile (
If you grew up in the ‘90s, this could very well be your favorite Batmobile for nostalgic reasons alone. Featuring ultra-cool art deco aesthetics and none of the gaudiness of other versions, the animated Batmobile from the 1992 series is sleek, stylish, and way ahead of its time.
In a move true to Batman’s one rule, the two-seater primarily features non-lethal weapons such as smoke and oil dispensers, tear gas launchers, and wheel slasher hubs, as the animated Bat preferred to use wit and savvy instead of pure force to defeat his opponents. There’s even a cute little passenger seat just for Robin. Batman: The Animated Series)
3. The Adam West Mobile (
There’s nothing quite like the original. The first true Batmobile to appear on the big screen, Adam West’s primary mode of transportation started out in life as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept, but in the hands of designer George Barris, it became something completely different altogether.
Fitted with epic rear fins, a turbine engine, and punny gadgets like a battering ram (get it?), the gorgeous and iconic Batmobile remains one of the most popular film cars of all time, and for good reason. In 2013, the vehicle was sold at a Batman, 1966) Barrett-Jackson auction for $4.2 million.
2. The Tumbler (
Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is revered for its relatively realistic approach to a Bat-themed superhero who beats up criminals with his bare hands, and this grounded philosophy is reflected in the forbidding Tumbler.
Unlike previous renditions that were built by Bruce Wayne himself, the Tumbler is a repurposed military bridging vehicle. The Tumbler is complete with front-mounted machine guns and the ability to boost itself into a ramp-less jump, but the best part is the motorcycle-ish Bat Pod that ejects from the front of the vehicle. And thankfully, it came in black. Batman Begins)
1. The Keaton Mobile (
It may not be the fastest or most destructive entrant in the world of Batman, but the good ol’ Keaton Mobile takes the top spot on our list for its iconic silhouette, awesome array of gadgets, and undeniable cool factor. An art piece on wheels, this daunting automobile is instantly recognizable as Batman’s car.
The Keaton Mobile is a beautiful mix of swooping lines and highly-stylized elements, and of course, it’s loaded to the gills with gizmos to help the Dark Knight get out of trouble. Whether it’s the obligatory grappling hook, afterburner, rockets, or voice-activated shields, the car has everything the World’s Greatest Detective could ever need, including a detachable outer shell that turns that Batmobile into the svelte and maneuverable Bat-missile. The Chevy-based symbol of justice would lay the foundation for every Batmobile that followed, making this a shoe-in for our number one spot. Batman, 1989)
In the 77 years since, the Dark Knight’s daily driver has become every bit of an icon as Batman himself, and with
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice coming out on March 25, we’d like to count down our top 10 favorites for you here. There are quite a few to choose from, so let’s strap in our bat-belts and get started.