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How was the new Batmobile designed?

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Some say, he has a gross intolerance to fibre and that his repeated shouting at Z-list celebrity stars on telly has given him chronic throat problems. All we know is, the new Batman film - The Dark Knight Rises - is out next week. 

The brooding, menacing, rubber-clad scourge of Gotham’s underbelly will return in what promises to be an epic two hours of fighting and drama and explosions and shouting and crashing; themes we hold quite dearly here at Top Gear HQ.

We’re rather interested in Batman’s arsenal of machinery, because for The Dark Knight Rises, he really has got some cool toys. Not only does he drive the new Lamborghini Aventador (in his Bruce Wayne civvies), but he also gets to play with the Batmobile, aka the ‘Tumbler’, the Batpod and something aerial simply called the ‘Bat’.

And although literally nobody asked, here are some quite interesting facts about his vehicles we uncovered today.

- Director Christopher Nolan and production designer Nathan Crowley designed the Batmobile in a garage in Los Angeles. They took inspiration from military vehicles, and built a prototype by sticking together toy cars, eventually combining a Hummer and a Lamborghini.

- There are three different types of customized camouflage ‘Tumbler’, one with a swivelling turret gun, another with a guided missile launcher and a third with a gun.

- The ‘Tumbler’ name comes from its military history due to its ability to jump and tumble.

- The car has no front axle - director Nolan wanted the wheels to be held from the side. This presumably makes the handling rather interesting…

- The Batmobile was built entirely from scratch - it’s not based on any existing car underneath.

- The six wheels used monster truck tyres with varying amounts of tread so that stunt driver George Cottle could decide how much skid power he required at any one time.

- It runs on regular unleaded and weighs two-and-a-half tonnes.

- The ‘Tumbler’ has jumped a distance of 60 feet, can do 0-60mph in five seconds and tops out at 105mph.- The Batpod - Batman’s ‘bike’ - is equipped with three guns on each side: a blast cannon, a grappling gun and a machine gun.

- The tyres on the Batpod are identical to those on the Batmobile.

- It weighs 730 lbs and is a self-righting bike, which means it doesn’t need a foot stand.

- The ‘Bat’ is part helicopter, part jump jet, designed by Nolan and Nathan Crowley and built off a miniature.

- Every single panel of the the ‘Bat’ is bespoke and was sculpted out of lightweight carbon fibre - which means it weighs 3 000 lbs.

- Technically, the ‘Bat’ can’t actually fly - though it will in the film thanks to effects - but it does have working guns and cannons that fire pyrotechnics, and all the lights are radio-controlled to change angle mid-air.

- The ‘Bat’ is attached to a special support vehicle that needs three people to operate it: one to move it up and down, one to move it side to side, and one to drive it.

- Oh, and one last thing - did you know that Murcielago (the Lamborghini model he drove in The Dark Knight) translates as ‘bat’ in Spanish? We didn’t, but now we do.

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