Let’s be honest – there’s few things cooler in the world of fictional automobiles than Batman’s vehicular weapon of choice, the Batmobile.
With dozens of designs to choose from, it’s really hard to pick a favorite, especially given the iconic real-life renditions we’ve seen over the years.
That is – until The Batman released earlier this March. With a souped up all-original design that throws out the rulebook and reinvents the (bat)wheel, let’s take a deeper dive into Batman’s all-new car, and why we think it steals the spotlight from earlier iterations of the legendary ride.
The new Batmobile, much like Matt Reeves’ new take on Gotham, comes with a personality all of its own – an extension of who Bruce Wayne is, and not just a bat-themed supercar or an off-screen-purchased military vehicle, as we’ve seen in previous films.
We first get a glimpse of the Batmobile’s parts long before it actually debuts – first through a suspended engine block, and eventually through hand-forged components such as sprockets, transmission gears, pistons, and more.
Not only does this clue us into the home-brewed muscle car aesthetic Reeves was going for – it shows us that as a young recluse new to vigilantism, Bruce Wayne has been truly taking the time to hand-build his equipment – a theme followed through with his cowl and batsuit as well.
“We loved the idea that Bruce was a gear head,” said production designer James Chinlund. “He would take pride in building things himself. And for us that right there was a huge separation from the other ‘Batman’ movies.”
“Often Batman is dependent on Wayne Industries and is almost like a James Bond-type where he shows up in a suit and people show him the toys,” Chinlund continued. “We were really excited about Bruce getting some dirt under his fingernails.”
Reeves’ focus on blending functionality and form through the movie’s concept also went directly into the Batmobile – and that meant minimal CGI. He wanted a car that was real, visceral, and that had some major road presence.
This was why special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy engineered the car to run on a Chevy V8. While the engine on display in Bruce’s batcave is a V10 model, the actual engine in the car is 100% authentic American muscle – belting out 650 horsepower.
Given the horsepower figures and Chevrolet badge, it’s a fair guess that Tuohy is referring to the 6.2L LT4 powerplant that can be found in the current-gen Camaro ZL1 and the previous-gen front-engined Corvette Z06. The muscle-car heritage doesn’t stop there – according to Chinlund, the roof was lifted right off a 1969 Dodge Charger, which some Fast and Furious fans might remember quite well.
The LT4 is an absolute monster of an engine, and is capable of taking the Camaro and Corvette to top speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour. On set, Pattinson and the stunt drivers used the same engine to put the Batmobile to good use – it reportedly hit over 160 kmph while being tested off-camera.
Ultimately, four such cars were made for the film – one with gimbals for onboard camerawork, one with water dispensers for certain shots, and one powered by an electric motor, to allow for quieter audio recordings for the shoot.
It isn’t just about the Batmobile either. Bat-films have had iconic cars in other places too – remember Bruce Wayne’s Lamborghini Murciélago (literally ‘bat’ in Spanish) from the Nolan films? This time, Reeves has set Bruce up with a more muscle-themed 1963 Corvette Stingray. Even the Penguin gets a cool set of wheels with his 2022 Maserati Quattroporte – the perfect car for a slick, opportunistic crime lord.
I’d have to say – I wasn’t expecting my inner motorhead to get this excited – just another reason to enjoy The Batman’s incredible attention to detail.
(Featured Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment)