The Batmobiles, Ranked

For as many versions of Batman you can find, there are just as many versions of the Batmobile. Which one is superior? We ranked the 10 best Batmobiles.

The Best Sidekick There Is: The Batmobile

James Bond has his impressive garage of cars. Dom and his crew take their wheels through all kinds of adventures in the Fast and the Furious movies. Then, there’s Batman and his Batmobile. Robin can claim to be Batman’s sidekick, but we all know the real sidekick is his Batmobile.

Age and gender don’t seem to matter. A universally-agreed upon statement is that the Batmobile is just plain cool.

Now, there have been some versions that didn’t work out quite as well. Still, the concept is fun, whether you’re 16 or 62. A customized, fast-traveling vehicle that is equipped to fight bad guys? Who wouldn’t want to be behind the wheel of one of those?

The 1997 Batmobile

1997 Batmobile -
1997 Batmobile -

What can one say about this one? It is unique. You have to give them that, but unique doesn’t always mean it’s good. That’s the case here.

This version from Batman & Robin mimicked previous Batmobiles with the long hood. The designers took sleek lines of classic racing cars and exaggerated them. At just over 30 feet long, the movie version of this Batmobile seemed like it was designed more to sell toys than to look like a cool superhero vehicle.

It wasn’t that sharp, black visual we’d been accustomed to seeing though. They added some flare with the lights and even changed the color of the flames by adding solution metal salts.

On paper, it probably sounded like a good idea. Yet, it just didn’t work.

The 1995 Batmobile

1995 Batmobile -
1995 Batmobile -

This version from Batman Forever was a little better than the one that followed it, but it was still pretty much a self-caricature of other more stylish Batmobiles. It has a kind of ribbed design with a bat wing sticking up on the center of the roof.

Instead of looking at classic cars, the designers of this Batmobile turned to animals and microbiology such as jellyfish. That’s where a lot of the shape came from.

The vehicle had a Chevy 350 ZZ3 high-performance motor in it with high compression, 345 horsepower aluminum heads. This Batmobile’s body was built using carbon fiber.

To highlight the lines of the body, filmmakers placed lights near engine panels, wheels and the undercarriage. The result was the bluish glow that, while innovative, didn’t fit Batman.

The 2015 Batmobile

2015 Batmobile -
2015 Batmobile -

This video game version of the Batmobile, found in Batman: Arkham Knight, earned a lot of praise because it was such a big part of the game.

Rather than living vicariously through the movies, you’re able to actually drive the Batmobile here (probably the closest any of us will ever actually get). It’s part of an entire sequence. It’s a highly-maneuverable off-road vehicle but is still able to take heavy hits. Whether you’re traveling along twisting bridges, driving through chemical plants or driving down the city streets of Gotham, it can give you a glimpse of what it’s like to actually drive the Batmobile.

It’s got a battle mode, but there are also non-lethal deterrents. Of course, you can call the Batmobile to you with the press of a button or eject out of it when needed.

The 2016 Batmobile

2016 Batmobile - Motor Verso on
2016 Batmobile - Motor Verso on

While some Batmobiles look more like a car you may see driving down the street, the iterations from the last decade or so have been heavily armored and with more of a military build. The Batmobile designed for Batman v. Superman tried to morph the best features from the 1989 Batman and The Dark Knight Trilogy.

The result was a Batmobile battle-car that is about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide.

With the use of math, science and some computer programs, the designers were able to input specs into the program and get a full simulation of compression on the shocks. Then they built it with 550 hp and the motor located behind the driver’s compartment. Initially heavy wheels were an issue, so they had to cut rubber off of the wheels (they cut 150 lbs. off of one rear tire alone).

Their goal in building this Batmobile was for it to be able to withstand the Baja 1000. The final result (after three or four months of development) may be able to do just that.

The 1963 promotional Batmobile

1963 Batmobile -
1963 Batmobile -

Before the Batman series ever aired on television in the 1960s, this car was designed by Forrest Robinson, who used multiple comic books to create the concept.

This car was created by using a 1956 Oldsmobile rocket 88 chassis. It was finished in 1963 by adding an Oldsmobile Rocket 324 cubic inch engine and building the handmade custom body. Fiberglass was one of the materials used to achieve the single-fin look.

The exterior wasn’t initially painted but the colors were added after the TV show aired. The vehicle began touring small East Coast towns as a fully-licensed DC Comics Batmobile. The car was auctioned in 2014 for $137,000 after a starting bid of $90,000.

The 1992 Batmobile

1992 Batmobile -
1992 Batmobile -

Drawing inspiration from the Tim Burton Batmobile, this version from Batman: The Animated Series, while animated, is still considered one of the best. If you were watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 90s, you probably wanted one of these.

With fins decorating the back and a large chrome grill, this version took the 1992 Batmobile and added a touch of the classics. Designers wanted to make it sleek, dark and fit into the Batman aesthetic.

Of course, like any Batmobile, this one had gadgets (that were probably easier to incorporate due to the animation) such as smoke dispensers, an armored mode, a missile rack, and ejectable seats.

The 2022 Batmobile

2022 Batmobile - Screen Rant on
2022 Batmobile - Screen Rant on

Even though The Batman won’t be out until 2022, some production photos have already been released, showing what looks to be a very cool Batmobile.

It’s probably tricked out, but visually it’s more like a muscle car that you’d see in The Fast and The Furious than something Batman would be driving. The premise (don’t worry, no spoilers) for the movie, however, is that Batman is in his second year of crime fighting, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t have a decked out Batmobile like we’ve seen in other movies. This is his starter Batmobile. Not bad as a starter car.

The 1966 Batmobile

1966 Batmobile - CNN on
1966 Batmobile - CNN on

You have to respect the classics. The Lincoln Futura-based Batmobile was given a customized paint job and metal modifications to create what we now know as the iconic look from the 1960s Batman series.

The Hollywood car customizer who created this look initially started on a 1959 Cadillac but when studio executives from 20th Century Fox Television pushed ahead the filming schedule, plans changed, and a different designer settled on Ford‘s 1955 design.

The car was completed in just 15 days at a cost of allegedly around $30,000. I think it’s safe to say they got their money’s worth.

The 1989 Batmobile

1989 Batmobile -
1989 Batmobile -

It sits low and has a long body. It’s sleek with that polished finish, yet still imposing with the jet-black exterior. I probably don’t need to tell you that, though, because this version of the Batmobile is arguably the most recognizable one there is.

Inspired by the salt flat racers of the 1930s and Stingrays of the 1950s, the version that appeared in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns was built on a Chevy Impala chassis (presumably the sixth generation Impala that ended production in 1985) and given a Chevy V8 engine.

Without realizing it, designers initially built this Batmobile without a door. It turned into a happy accident because they decided to make the canopy move forward like a jet, which turned out better than a regular side door.

In the film, the vehicle was fictionally able to go about 330 mph and could accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. While it didn’t achieve that in real-life, the idea of a car like that is what gets fans excited about the Batmobile.

The 2005 Batmobile (The Tumbler)

2005 Batmobile -
2005 Batmobile -

It’s hard to top the 1989 Batmobile, but Christopher Nolan’s depiction in 2005’s Batman Begins does. Sure, it doesn’t have the classic shape, but it keeps the trademark black, beefs up the intimidation factor with some heavy armor and is probably more practical for crime fighting than some other versions were. The specs are listed as being 15 feet in length, 9’4″ wide and weighing in around 2.3 tons.

The Tumbler started as a Styrofoam model and that was turned into an actual vehicle. When finished, at a rumored cost of $250,000, they fitted it with a 500-horsepower Chevy 350 V8 engine.

There were several versions of the vehicle. One with extra visibility. One with a more luxurious, spacious interior to allow for cameras. Another, smaller version, was used to film the scenes where the Batmobile went airborne.

The crew also had to rig up a separate hydraulic brake to lock up the rears while they filmed the Tumbler turning the tight corners of Chicago.

It’s rumored to have cost $250,000 to build just the initial version.

Inspiring designers for years to come

Whether you’re a fan of the older style or the newer style, there’s a Batmobile for you. Your favorite may depend on what era you were first introduced to, but, like Batman himself, the Batmobile has endured many variations whether in comic book form, in video games or on the big screen. It’s a safe bet that it will continue to play a big part in any upcoming Batman project as long as passionate designers are churning out innovative designs.

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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