James Bond Cars: 007 Vehicles From BMW to Aston Martin

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The iconic British superspy James Bond has been associated with many things over the years since his debut on the silver screen. Laser watches, tiny pistols, rampant womanizing, people with letters for names, mild womanizing, iconic opening credit sequences, a spot of womanizing—the list goes on and on. 

Something that is perhaps more inextricably linked with Bond than anything else, however, is his choice of wheels. Whether the suave secret agent is tearing through a SPECTRE base in an Aston Martin or cruising through the streets of Marrakech in a Jaguar, there’s one thing each and every Bond always has – a sick ride. 

At the time of writing, there are 26 Bond movies. While it’s beyond the remit of this article to detail James Bond cars used in those 26 movies, it is possible to look at the best seven, which is exactly what we’re going to do now. 

Citroen 2CV (For Your Eyes Only) 

It’s not the snazziest or sexiest Bond car that will appear on this list, that’s for sure, but the Citroen 2CV featured in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only makes up for its relative uncoolness with pluck, derring-do, and an iconic eye-catching yellow paint job. 

In the movie, the car doesn’t belong to Bond or MI6 at all but rather to Melina Havelock, who employs it to great use while escaping a bunch of Peugeots. During their mid-speed chase, the 2CV plunges down a mountainside and eventually evades Bond and Havelock’s pursuers. 

The 2CV featured in the movie isn’t exactly a factory-standard. The stunt coordinator for the movie swapped its engine out for a more powerful one, ensuring that it could hold its own when it came to the more demanding stunts.

And while the tie-in 2CV released to capitalize upon the movie didn’t keep the better engine, they did keep the paint and fake bullet holes – as well as large ‘007’ logos on either side. 

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (Die Another Day)

Appropriately dubbed the ‘Vanish’ by fans, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is famous for appearing in the ‘Maddona One’ – 2002’s eminently forgettable Die Another Day

One might argue that Bond cars are designed to go fast and look really cool. Q didn’t get the memo, apparently, when he designed the Vanquish’s gimmick-of-the-movie: so-called ‘adaptive camo’, or to laymen like you and me, ‘invisibility’. 

And when you’ve got a car as pretty as this one, it’s practically a crime to render it invisible to the naked eye. The Vanquish was the brainchild of legendary British car designer Ian Callum, who’s designed for Ford, TWR, Jaguar, and (of course) Aston Martin. Callum knows his way around a chassis, and this is reflected in the Vanquish’s immaculate aluminum composite frame. 

Why on earth, you might ask, would anyone want to hide such a vehicle under a bunch of early 2000s CGI? Probably for the same reason, someone thought Madonna was a good fit for the role of a flirtatious British fencing instructor double agent. 

Mercury Cougar XR7 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) 

This vehicle from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, AKA The George Lazenby One, wasn’t actually Bond’s vehicle at all, but that of his ill-fated future wife, Tracy di Vicenzo. This powerful muscle car was never actually driven by Bond, either – Tracy did all the heavy lifting in the Cougar. 

And what a job she did, too. Tracy manages to send the Cougar roaring across icy fields of snow and even leads pursuers into an active stock car race, where she leaves them spun out and on fire. It’s not bad for a franchise that usually insists on its casually misogynistic lead taking the wheel from the little lady. 

It may not have been the most iconic Bond car, but OHMSS was hardly the most iconic of Bond movies and was, arguably, the most iconoclastic entry in the franchise, casting as it did an Australian actor as Bond (the horror!) and having its incorrigible womanizer of a secret agent actually settle down and tie the knot. It only fits that it features a car that is as atypical as the Cougar. 

Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights) 

You’re likely to see several Aston Martins on this list, and the reason is simple: Aston Martins are as inextricably linked with James Bond as martinis and Walther PPKs.

While Johnny-Come-Latelies like Ford may have tried to change that, the fact of the matter is that Aston Martin will forever be the brand associated with the MI6 superspy. 

The V8 Vantage was a new Aston Martin for a new Bond—Timothy Dalton, who was helming the franchise for the first time. While the car starts off life as a convertible, Q extensively modifies it to make it more suitable for winter weather. He also, of course, packs it full of enough gadgets to obliterate a dubiously accented supervillain’s subterranean lair. 

At the time of production, the Vantage was hailed as “Britain’s first supercar,” reaching a top speed of around 170mph (which was about as good as it got in the late 1970s).

It also thoroughly impressed the Prince of Wales, who visited the set and fired a rocket from offscreen on Q’s behalf. The Prince, smitten by the Vantage, promptly ordered his own, leading to the creation of 26 Vantages in the so-called “Prince of Wales” build. 

Lotus Esprit S1 (The Spy Who Loved Me) 

The vaguely futuristic Lotus Esprit S1 looks a bit like a DeLorean, and while it is perhaps not the classiest Bond car around, it certainly has a certain je ne sais quoi that allows it to stand out from the competition.

It could have perhaps been its distinct angular design (a design that was, in point of fact, later used as a starting point for the aforementioned DeLorean), or it may have been the fact that it was a fully functioning submarine. 

We should point out, of course, that actual Lotus Esprits are not submarines, and you’d be ill-advised to try to take one into the sea. The onscreen Esprit achieved its remarkable feat of underwater navigation by means of scuba divers contained within an Esprit shell, and the actual car itself never saw so much as a hint of seawater. 

As for the real thing, it boasts a stat line that is, admittedly, slightly less impressive than most other cars on this list. The Esprit takes about 8 seconds to hit 62mph and has a top speed of around 133mph. 

BMW 750il (Tomorrow Never Dies) 

In another attempt to wrest the title of ‘Bond Car’ from Aston Martin, BMW was impressed with this muscular and sleek vehicle that Bond put to the test in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies

While the on-screen 750il was operated remotely by Bond using his Sony Eriksson (another sign that we were in 1997), the real one wasn’t quite that advanced – but was, nevertheless, extremely ahead of the curve for its time.

The BMW E38 (the series to which the 750il belongs) was the first European car to offer satellite navigation (AKA SatNav, AKA GPS) and the first to offer an inbuilt TV. While these may seem pretty standard in 2024, they were anything but in the dark days of the late 90s. 

In terms of speed, the 750il was never a match for Bond’s true love(s) – Aston Martin. It took a leisurely 5.8 seconds to hit 62mph and boasted a top speed of 155mph. Not exactly terrible, of course, but unlikely to win a license to thrill from the big screen’s most famous spy. 

Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger)

This is it – the James Bond car. Ask anyone to picture or name the car that James Bond drives, and they’re very likely to come back to you with this, the most iconic of the many vehicles that he’s helmed – the Aston Martin DB5. 

The DB5 made an instant splash when it appeared in the iconic 1964 movie, and producers knew something marketable when they saw it. Not in the form of an actual DB5 – that was a little out of the price range of your average 1960s cinemagoer – but in the form of the Corgi toy tie-ins.

Many a schoolboy, captivated by the effortless slice of Brit cool and its myriad gadgets, would doubtless have been pestering their parents for a toy DB5 come Christmas 1964. 

Its specifications are not terribly impressive by modern standards – it hits 62mph in 8 seconds and has a top speed of 145mph – but to quibble over speed is to miss the point.

The DB5 is one of the most iconic vehicles in the world – perhaps the most iconic – because of its understated elegance and its association with one of the world’s most enduring movie franchises. That’s brand recognition no amount of money can buy. 

The World of James Bond Cars is a Gear Head’s Paradise 

Though there are many more vehicles in Bond movies that perhaps deserve mention (from the Honda trike in Diamonds Are Forever to the tuk-tuk in Octopussy), we like to think we’ve covered the crème de la crème with this list.

Did we miss any James Bond cars that you feel deserve a place on this list? Let us know in the comments! If not, check out our other innovative articles covering the world of wealthy cars.


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