James Bond is the man every woman wants and every man wants to be. He’s cool, witty, has a great sense of style, and can pretty much defeat anyone. He’s also gifted with a wide selection of amazing and iconic cars.
Bond and cars go together just like — well — Bond and watches, really. He drives the best of the best supercars which tend to be equipped with a ton of gadgets. They usually aren’t your run of the mill, vulgar supercars either. They are usually the most elegant and sophisticated vehicles. Usually.
For every iconic car he’s driven, there tends to be a terrible one that he’s been behind the wheel of. That’s where this list comes in as we count down the 8 best James Bond cars followed by the absolute worst cars that have appeared in the 007 franchise.
Just a few ground rules: first, James Bond has to have driven the vehicle in question. So just appearing in a 007 movie isn’t enough. Secondly, it has to have four wheels so no motorcycles or that gondola hovercraft thing from Moonraker. Thirdly, it has to be a car that was available for purchase. With all of that said, here are the top 8 and bottom 7 Bond cars from all 24 current 007 films.
15. Best: Lotus Esprit Turbo (For Your Eyes Only)
Sure, the Lotus Esprit Turbo S3 may be known for being notoriously unreliable but it is an excellent drive — and just look at it! A white Esprit Turbo spent a total of just a single minute onscreen in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only before its anti-theft security was set off and it exploded. A second burgundy Esprit Turbo is seen in the film with (in story, it was just a rebuilt version of the first car) but sporting skis strapped to the back. The Esprit line of Lotus is one of those cars that really encapsulated what a supercar from the late 70s to early 80s ought to look like.
14. Worst: AMC Hornet (The Man with the Golden Gun)
Now that we’ve started off the list with one of the better James Bond cars, let’s look at one that is definitely not as impressive or suave. To kick of the list of worst cars, we present to you the AMC Hornet. Right off the bat, James Bond should not be driving any car by the American Motor Company. Period. In this case, it was chosen partially because director Guy Hamilton saw a stunt which involved the AMC Javelin jumping off an angled ramp, corkscrewing 360 degrees in midair, and landing. The other reason it was chosen was that AMC threw a lot of money at the studio to have the car appear as a product placement.
13. Best: Aston Martin DBS (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Aston Martins and James Bond go together like cheese and wine. These supercars are stylish, refined, and something not to be reckoned with. Just like Bond. The Aston Martin DBS series lasted about as long as the Bond actor who drove it. George Lazenby only played James Bond once in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which featured the DBS. The series was introduced in 1967 and only lasted five years. However, the car design lived on long after that with the Aston Martin Vantage, Aston Martin V8, and the V8 Vantage after the DBS was discontinued. But this is definitely one of the more eye-catching cars Bond has had the pleasure of driving.
12. Worst: BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Just like how James Bond should not drive any car from the American Motor Company, 007 fans know he also shouldn’t drive a BMW. During the Pierce Brosnan era, he drove three of them: the BMW Z8, the BMW 750iL, and the BMW Z3. The 750iL takes the cake for not only being the wrong brand of car for Bond but also more boring than the other cars as well. The Brosnan era marked a period where Bond seemed to prefer Bimmers over everything else. But with a DB5 around in Tomorrow Never Dies, all the gadgets in the world can’t make the 750iL outshine the classic Aston Martin. There’s a reason Bond drove the car hiding in the back seat with his phone. He didn’t want anyone to see him in it.
11. Best: Aston Martin V8 Vantage (The Living Daylights)
Like I said, James Bond and Aston Martins go together and they’ll pop up throughout this list a few more times. Where the DBS didn’t last long, its design continued for a couple of decades and was perfected all the way to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. That car showed up being driven by Timothy Dalton in 1987’s The Living Daylights. The V8 Vantage was packed with all the goodies you’d expect from a Bond car including spiked tires, retractable skis, lasers, and missiles — but it’s also a stunning car just to look at. This car was the final generation of the DBS legacy which was retired in 1989, just two years after The Living Daylights was released.
10. Worst: Citroen 2CV (For Your Eyes Only)
Aston Martin DB5. Toyota 2000GT. Lotus Esprit Turbo. Citroen 2CV? One of these is not like the others. The Citroen 2CV was France’s answer to the Volkswagon Beetle… and another car that Bond should never, ever be caught dead in. This is quite possibly the worst car that James Bond has ever driven and it is what he was stuck with after his Lotus Esprit Turbo was blown up in For Your Eyes Only. I can’t fault the reasoning for using the “Deux Chevaux” in a Bond film, however. It was a means to an end in order to make a grittier and more grounded Bond movie after the previous film Moonraker jumped the shark and sent the spy into space.
9. Best: Toyota 2000GT (You Only Live Twice)
James Bond is very much a British character who drives British supercars — but not always. The Toyota 2000GT was Japan’s first supercar and so it was fitting that it appeared in 1967’s You Only Live Twice where James Bond traveled to Japan. Toyota only made 351 of these beauties and it proved that the Japanese knew a thing or two on how to build a fast car with stunning looks. The version that Bond drives in You Only Live Twice was only one of two convertibles that were custom built for the movie. Rumour has it that they needed to be made specifically for Sean Connery because he was too tall to fit into a regular 2000GT.
8. Worst: Lincoln Mark VII LSC (Licence To Kill)
Cars of the 80s were really boxy. I’m not entirely sure why cars went from curvaceous and outrageous to primitive shapes but here we are. The Lincoln Mark VII LSC as featured in Timothy Dalton’s Licence to Kill was actually a very good car at the time sporting a Mustang 5.0-liter V8 engine with 225 horsepower. But it doesn’t have the history of the Ford Mustang and Dalton stepping out of the car looks wrong. Gone are the beautiful shapes of a Lotus or Aston Martin and in their place is something roughly rectangular in shape. Plus, it’s a Ford, which doesn’t exactly scream Bond, does it?
7. Best: Aston Martin DBS V12 (Casino Royale)
Yep, here we go again, another Aston Martin! When the producers decided to reboot the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig, there was only one car brand that would do the job. And if you’re going to reboot James Bond, you might as well reboot the DBS series to go with him! The Aston Martin DBS V12 was not only beautiful on the outside but featured a stunning, elegant interior that blended modern materials such as carbon fiber with old school wood. In Casino Royale, the only things missing from the car were all of the ridiculous gadgets that the franchise decided to abandon.
6. Worst: Ford LTD (A View to a Kill)
Bond should never drive a Ford. I know I made allowances for the Ford Mustang, but that is a car that is part of American car history. The Ford LTD has no business being part of the Bond legacy. It’s big, it’s ugly, it’s shaped like a box, and there is absolutely no reason for it to be in a 007 film. The Citroen 2CV at least had the courtesy to be used for a reason and delivered one of the best Bond car chases. The only thing that the Ford LTD did was remind audiences that Roger Moore was two years shy of his sixtieth birthday. This is a grandfather’s car, through-and-through.
5. Best: Ford Mustang Mach 1 (Diamonds Are Forever)
Of the 8 best James Bond cars, only two aren’t from Britain. The first was the Japanese Toyota 2000GT and the other is this car, the Ford Mustang Mach 1. Unlike most Bond cars which tend to be fast and nimble supercars, this is an American muscle car. And American muscle cars do one thing really, really well: go as fast as possible in a straight line — unless the man driving it is James Bond, of course. In 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Bond outdrives the Las Vegas police force across the strip, through a parking lot, and then drives the Mustang through a thin alleyway by driving it on two wheels.
4. Worst: Ford Mondeo (Casino Royale)
We’ve already established that Bond shouldn’t drive a Ford. In a lot of ways the Ford Mondeo, as seen in Casino Royale, is leaps and bounds better than a Ford LTD. It’s actually a pretty damn good car. But what places the Mondeo so high on the list is how it was presented in the film. Casino Royale is probably one of the best Bond films out there but it featured almost a full minute of Craig driving this car while using Sony Ericsson’s then-new GPS system for navigation to a resort. It was an absolutely pointless scene and shot far too gratuitously. Bond may be no stranger to product placement but this was a ridiculous car commercial in the middle of a 007 film.
3. Best: Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me)
The Lotus Esprit Turbo appeared in For Your Eyes Only but it is nowhere near as iconic to the Bond franchise as its predecessor, the Lotus Esprit. Appearing in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, the Lotus Esprit was featured in one of the best Bond chase scenes ever. Chased by cars, motorcycles, and eventually a helicopter, Roger Moore’s Bond eventually drives it off of a pier and into the sea — where it turns into a submarine. If you were going to pick a car in the late 70s that would turn into a submersible and still look great doing it, your only choice would be the Esprit.
2. Worst: The Moon Buggy (Diamonds are Forever)
What. The. Hell. Was. This. Monstrosity? Sure, it isn’t exactly a car you could buy (we’ll get back to that in a moment) but it was a stupid vehicle for Sean Connery’s Bond to drive around in Diamonds are Forever. Watching Bond driving this thing with its flailing arms is quite possibly one of the wackiest chase scenes in a 007 movie. The car was incredibly unreliable as well and would periodically lose its wheels. As for buying this thing, the International James Bond Fan Club found the Moon Buggy wasting away in a field in Kent and restored it. They tried to auction it off — twice — but no one wanted to buy it. Let that sink in for a moment, a Bond car driven by Sean Connery that no one wanted to buy. That fact alone makes this the worst Bond car of all time.
1. Best: Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger)
This is the quintessential Bond car and the number one entry for the best Bond car. The Aston Martin DB5 is what everyone thinks of as James Bond’s car. It first appeared in Sean Connery’s third outing as the secret agent, Goldfinger but it wouldn’t be the last time we see it. The car returned in Thunderball, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre. This is the car that James Bond made famous and cemented who and what James Bond should be. The DB5 was the first Bond car to be equipped with gadgets and was filled to the brim with them. It is an absolutely iconic car — not only for the James Bond franchise but for film history.
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