The Tumbler was a vehicle used by Batman. It came complete with an array of weapons and gadgets.
When Bruce Wayne reestablished his connections to his father's company, Wayne Enterprises, Bruce meets former board member Lucius Fox in the Applied Sciences Division. There, Bruce was able to acquire various gadgets for his soon-to-be alter ego known as Batman. One of them was the Tumbler, a prototype armored tank designed as a bridging vehicle for the military, includes weaponry and the ability to boost into a rampless jump. When Lucius Fox asks Bruce Wayne his thoughts on the Tumbler, Bruce simply asks if it came in black, confirming that he wanted it.
When Rachel Dawes needed saving at Arkham Asylum, Batman enlisted the help of James Gordon, who carried her to where he met with Batman. Gordon said he'd get his car, but Batman said he brought his, to Gordon's brief bewilderment. Upon seeing Batman's car, Gordon said "I've got to get me one of those." A car chase ensued through the streets of Gotham, where the Batmobile tries to elude police cars, until Batman was able to escape with Rachel to the Batcave where he administered the antidote to Rachel.
As the "Narrows" section of Gotham City is covered in fear toxin, Batman arrives in the Batmobile to aid the police, who are engaged in battle with psychotic criminals set free from Arkham Asylum by the League of Shadows. Before saving Rachel and confronting Ra's al Ghul, Batman leaves Gordon in control of the Batmobile to stop the elevated train that is being used to transport the vaporizer to the city's central water hub at Wayne Tower. Batman battles Ra's, then escapes just as Gordon topples the elevated line using the Batmobile's missiles, leaving Ra's to crash with the train to the ground.
The Dark Knight
Several months later Batman parked the Tumbler, newly christened the "Batmobile", in a parking garage, where he remotely controlled it to fire at some cars to intimidate the Scarecrow and a Russian mob before the Dark Knight himself appeared on the scene. Despite failing to stop the Russian mob from escaping, he successfully caught the Scarecrow and a group of Batman impersonators.
Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese confronted Lucius Fox about his designs of the Tumbler, remarking how it was of his design and asking sardonically if Fox never noticed it tearing up the streets on the news.
Harvey Dent was being escorted across the city when the convoy was attacked by The Joker and his thugs, who disabled all of the police vehicles except for the armored car carrying Dent. Batman entered the fray with his Batmobile, and rammed a garbage truck driven by one of the Joker's thugs via head-on collision.
Batman then ran the Batmobile full-speed between the Joker's truck and the armored car, receiving the brunt of an RPG fired by the Joker. After the Batmobile flipped violently on the side of the road, Batman engaged its escape mechanism, converting the Batmobile's left and right front tires into the Batpod before the rest of the vehicle self-destructed.
The Dark Knight Rises
When Bane and his soldiers detonate underneath Wayne Enterprises to gain access to the Applied Sciences Division, they make off with three Tumbler models left in storage. The Tumblers that Bane acquires are present in their original camouflaged colour scheme and not in black, and also make use of armament not originally seen on the original prototype, including a retractable dual-barreled cannon and a multiple-tube missile launcher, both mounted on the vehicle's back.
Whether these weapons were absent on the first prototype or merely not used is unclear. The stolen Tumblers are later used to great effect in suppressing and intimidating the citizens and police officers of Gotham City into inaction. One of the mounted cannons of a Tumbler is used by Bane to destroy the entrance to Blackgate Penitentiary, allowing the criminals to escape.
In the final battle, Talia al Ghul is transported via Tumbler to a truck transporting a nuclear bomb to attempt to secure its detonation. Batman himself engages her convoy of Tumblers from the air in the Bat, as one of the Tumblers fires several anti-air missiles to attack him, but he is able to evade them and even lead a missile into a Tumbler with a direct hit.
The Tumbler has a pair of machine guns mounted in the nose of the car between the front wheels. In "Attack" mode, the driver's seat moves to the center of the car, and the driver is repositioned to lie face-down with his head in the center section between the front wheels. This serves two main purposes: first, it provides more substantial protection with the driver shielded by multiple layers of armor plating. Second, the low-down, centralized driving position makes extreme precision maneuvers easier to perform, while lying prone reduces the risk of injury a driver faces when making these maneuvers. Other devices included:
- Six rear flaps to assist brakes
- Twin forward-firing machine guns
- Rocket launcher
- Landing hook to Sprung landing stabilization
- Integrated fire-extinguishing system
- Integrated safety connection to gasoline control
- Vector-controlled jet engine on back of car for quick boosts/"rampless" jumps
- Stealth mode, which turns off the car's lights and cuts the engine. The vehicle is powered by an electric motor, making it very hard to find in dark places (which makes the mode most useful at night), and as demonstrated by the car chase in Batman Begins, can easily throw off pursuers.
- Explosive mines are deployed from the rear of the vehicle, which can take out any cars that make contact with them.
- Front of car is heavily armored, so the car can ram as a practical offensive attack, and also protects the driver while in the prone driving position/"Attack" mode
- Both front wheels can eject when the vehicle is damaged to form the Batpod
Behind the scenes
- 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 suspension while the rear wheels stayed planted on the ground creating an effect like a giant spider.
- Approx. full speed: 160 mph (257 kmh)
- Engine: 5.7 liter GM engine capable of 500 horsepower. The jet engine and vector controls could jump up to 6 feet vertically.
- Fuel: The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by gasoline.
- Tires: Super swampers tires standing 44 inches tall (via titanium axles).
Background Information and Notes
- While the original tumbler was destroyed in The Dark Knight, three replicas of the tumbler, including one in the original camo design from Batman Begins, have been seen in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for filming of The Dark Knight Rises. Each of these three vehicles were later used for filming at Heinz Field on August 6, 2011 and were reported to be used by the character Bane and his miltia.
- The name "Batmobile" was never mentioned by Fox or Wayne.