The Batmobile on screen

As Ben Affleck's new Batman v Superman car is unveiled, we take a look back at the many ages of the Batmobile on screen...

“Single-handedly designed and fabricated in near complete seclusion by The Batman,” the newly unveiled Batmobile set to be driven by Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a top speed of 205mph and is described as an “infamous pursuit and capture vehicle [which] has earned its reputation as the apex predator on the mean streets of Gotham City”. Perfect for the school run.  

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It’s perhaps not quite the beast that Christian Bale’s Dark Knight drove in the most recent films but with it’s heavy armour plating and tank-like construction it’s definitely a close relative – and certainly very different from some of the Caped Crusader’s earlier rides…

Batman (1966)

The Batmobile used in the 1966-68 TV series (and its film adaptation) starring Adam West was a one-off concept prototype built for Lincoln Futura, that had been languishing in a garage until it was given a few customizations to make it a carriage fit for a bat (like spewing jets of flame from the exhaust). Apparently, due to its age the car kept overheating and blowing tyres during filming, but last year still managed to fetch $4.2 million at auction.

Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)

After a long absence from screens, the Batmobile returned with some serious style in Tim Burton’s Batman films. Going against the director’s usual ostentatious style this version was sleek and understated – though it still came complete with bombs, a grappling hook, shields and the ability to turn into a thin “Batmissile” shape. One of the most popular designs, some have suggested that the Snyder’s new Batmobile is a mix of this version and the latest Christopher Nolan iteration (see below).

Batman Forever (1995)

As Joel Schumacher took over from Burton, out went the understatement, in came the wobbling fins, shiny lights and slightly unconvincing abilities to drive up walls. Some viewers were also slightly perturbed by the vehicle’s arguably phallic nature. Still, it was a hit with the ladies:

Batman and Robin (1997)

Widely acknowledged as the worst Batman film ever (and a contender for worst film generally), the approach to the Batmobile in B&R echoed creative decisions elsewhere in the film – more is more. So more lights (some pulsing unsettlingly), bigger fins, not one but TWO grappling hooks and a voice-command system that puts Siri to shame.

The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-12)

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After the excesses of previous films, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series was intended to reflect the real world – and this creative decision was reflected in their choice of Batmobile (known as the Tumbler). Bulky, military-grade and loaded with the usual cannons and rocket launchers, the Tumbler could also turn into a pretty nifty little motorbike when damaged. Zack Snyder’s new Batmobile owes more to this design than any other, as can be seen be its less-than-sleek weapons set up and tough exterior. Still, we’ll probably have to wait until Batman v Superman’s release in 2016 to see how the new vehicle really measures up.