The Batmobile, depicted in the 2005 film Batman Begins and the 2008 sequel The Dark Knight, commonly referred to as the Tumbler, owes more to the tank-like vehicle from Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns than to the sleek automobiles seen in previous movies.
However, amongst fans, the spinners featured in director Ridley Scott's Blade Runner are most commonly suggested when referring to the influences of the Tumbler's design. Reportedly, director Christopher Nolan is also a fan of Blade Runner. The film's production designer described the machine as being a cross between a Lamborghini and a Humvee. In the various interior sequences of the Batmobile/Tumbler being driven, it appears to drive like a boat, based on throttle placement, use, and construction.
Five individual Batmobiles were built for filming in the movie, each with a special purpose to meet the various stunt needs of the film: two regular, full-size driving Batmobiles for exterior shots; one full-size model with hydraulics for the jump sequences; one full-size functional vehicle with propane tanks to fuel the rocket blast out of the rear nozzle and a 1/3-scale radio-controlled electric model for the most involved stunts in the film (e.g. the roof-top chase sequence). The scale model scenes were filmed on a massive set built on a stage at Shepperton Studios in England over the course of nine weeks. The full-sized vehicles were driven and filmed on the streets of Chicago. In the sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight the Batpod ejects from the Tumbler, with the Tumbler's front wheels as the Batpod's wheels.
 Role in films
 Role in Batman Begins
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne acquires a mothballed Wayne Enterprises military vehicle, called the "Tumbler", to serve as his Batmobile. Originally sporting military camouflage paint, Bruce Wayne requests Lucius Fox to have the Tumbler painted black. The vehicle that he creates is never referred to as the "Batmobile."
Later on in the film, Dr. Jonathan Crane poisons Rachel Dawes after showing her that his toxin, which is revealed to only be harmful in vapor form, was being piped into Gotham's water supply. She is eventually saved by Batman. The police enter Arkham Asylum and arrest Crane while Batman escapes with Rachel in his car.
Afterwards, Batman battles Ra's al Ghul aboard a train, then escapes just as Jim Gordon, who then drives the Batmobile under Batman's direction, destroys a monorail pylon, leading Ra's to crash with the train to the ground.
 Role in The Dark Knight
Just like in Batman Begins, the vehicle in The Dark Knight is never referred to as a "batmobile". The Tumbler makes its appearance at a car park, where it is remotely controlled by Batman to fire at some cars to intimidate the Scarecrow and a Russian mobster before the Dark Knight himself appears on the scene. Despite failing to stop the Russian mobster from escaping, he successfully catches the Scarecrow and a group of Batman impersonators.
The Tumbler seen at the London Premiere of The Dark Knight.
Later in the film, as Harvey Dent is being escorted across the city, the convoy is attacked by The Joker and his gang, who destroy all of the police vehicles except for the armored car carrying Dent. At that moment, the Tumbler appears, destroying a garbage truck driven by one of the Joker's goons via head-on collision. Batman then runs the Tumbler full-speed between the Joker's truck and the armored car, receiving the brunt of a rocket-propelled grenade fired by the Joker which catastrophically damages the Tumbler. Batman engages its escape mechanism, converting the front wheels into the Batpod before the rest of the vehicle self-destructs.
 Technical specifications
* Length: 15 feet (4.57 m)
* Width: 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m)
* Weight: 2.5 short tons (2.3 t)
* Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Under full acceleration, the car could actually rise up on its front "legs" while the front wheels stayed planted on the ground creating an effect like a giant spider.
* Engine: 5.0 liter Vauxhall/GM engine capable of 500 horsepower (370 kW). The jet engine and vector controls could jump up to 6 feet (1.8 m) vertically.
* Fuel: The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by propane tanks.
* Tires: Super swampers tires standing 44 inches (1,100 mm) tall (via titanium axles) in the rear and Hoosier dirt tires on the front.
 Production process
Nathan Crowley, one of the production designers for Batman Begins, started the process of designing the Tumbler for the film by model bashing. One of the parts that Crowley used to create the vehicle was the nose cone of a P-38 Lightning model to serve as the chassis for the Tumbler's jet engine. Six models of the Tumbler were built to 1:12 scale in the course of four months. Following the scale model creation, a crew of over 30 people, including Crowley and engineers Chris Culvert and Annie Smith, carved a full-size replica of the Tumbler out of a large block of Styrofoam, which was a process that lasted two months.
The Styrofoam model was used to create a steel "test frame", which had to stand up to several standards: have a speed of over 100 mph, go from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5 seconds, possess a steering system to make sharp turns at city corners, and to withstand a self-propelled launch of up to 30 feet (9.1 m). On the very first jump test, the Tumbler's front end collapsed and had to be completely rebuilt. The basic configuration of the newly designed Tumbler included a 5.7-liter Chevy V8 engine, a truck axle for the rear axle, front racing tires by Hoosier, rear 4x4 mud tires by Interco., and the suspension system of Baja racing trucks. The design and development process took nine months and cost several million dollars.
With the design process completed, four street-ready race cars were constructed, with each vehicle possessing 65 carbon fiber panels and costing $250,000 to build. Two of the four cars were specialized versions. One version was the flap version, which had hydraulics and flaps to detail the close-up shots where the vehicle propelled itself through the air. The other version was the jet version, in which an actual jet engine was mounted onto the vehicle, fueled by six propane tanks. Due to the poor visibility inside the vehicle by the driver, monitors were connected to cameras on the vehicle body. The professional drivers for the Tumblers practiced driving the vehicles for six months before they drove on the streets of Chicago for the film's scenes.
The interior of the Tumbler was an immobile studio set and not actually the interior of a street-capable Tumbler. The cockpit was over-sized to fit cameras for scenes filmed in the Tumbler interior. In addition, another version of the Tumbler was a miniature model that was 1:5 scale of the actual Tumbler. This miniature model had an electric motor and was used to show the Tumbler flying across ravines and between buildings. However, the actual race car was used for the waterfall sequence.