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Rated: James Bond’s most Iconic Cars

By LeaseCar, 14 Aug 2018

Here at Leasecar, we are big fans of the James Bond films. Aside from the incredible action scenes, the series features some of the most iconic cars ever made. After an inconclusive debate in the office over which of these cars is best, we decided to create a definitive ranking of James Bond’s most famous cars from best to worst.

We have taken the five cars owned by 007 in the top 10 IMDB-rated Bond films and looked into their original price, increase in value, top speed, acceleration, horse power and fuel efficiency to establish, once and for all, which is the best Bond car.

 

1.     The Aston Martin DB5 (1964)


Total score: 21

The DB5 is indisputably the most recognisable of James Bond’s cars. Featuring in seven films with major roles in Goldfinger, Thunderball and Goldeneye, our research shows that there is good reason for Bond’s preference for the car.

With an increase in value of 13768%, the DB5’s price has shot up from £4,175 in 1964 to £579,000 today. This puts it at the top of our rating for increase in value – probably in part due to its fame as 007’s car.

Despite its age, the DB5’s specifications and performance remain impressive even by today’s standards - with a top speed of 149mph, 0 to 60 acceleration in just 6.8 seconds and 282 brake horsepower. Its only weakness is its fuel efficiency, achieving just 16.6 miles per gallon.

 

2.     The Aston Martin DBS V12 (2007)


Total score: 19

Number two on our list is another of Bond’s famous Astons. The DBS V12 features in Casino Royale as the car driven by Daniel Craig’s Bond in a memorable car chase scene – ending in destruction for the vehicle.

Being the newest car on this list, it is perhaps not surprising that it the DBS V12 tops rankings for specs and performance. A top speed of 191 mph, 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds and 510 brake horsepower make the DBS V12 the most powerful vehicle in our rundown.

The car is held back from the top position, however, on price comparison points, after ranking bottom for both original price and increase in value. The DBS started off costly, with a basic model setting a buyer back £180,812 in 2007 (£238,412 when adjusted for inflation) but it has failed to carry this value into the long term.

The DBS V12 is the only car in this line up to have depreciated in value, with a 32% loss on the original cost price being seen in the current market. As the car ages and passes into the ‘classic car’ category this value could shoot back up in the future.

Fuel efficiency seems to have remained an issue for Aston Martin over the last half a century, as little improvement has been seen between the DB5 and the DBS V12. The DBS gets under 2 miles more to the gallon than its 1964 counterpart – with a total mpg of 18.

 

3.     Lotus Esprit S1 (1977)


Total score: 18

The Lotus Esprit S1 will be familiar to most fans as Bond’s submarine car. Featuring in The Spy Who Loved Me, 007’s Esprit is better known as ‘Wet Nellie’ and transformed into a submarine as it plunged into the Sardinian Sea to escape metal-toothed henchman, Jaws.

Sitting in the middle of our top five Bond cars, the Esprit gains points on price, coming in at the second cheapest car in the top five with an original price (when adjusted for inflation) of £46,545.

The Lotus is in the middle of the field for performance specs, with a top speed of 135 miles per hours and a 0 to 60 time of 8.4 seconds. As with the Aston Martins, the Lotus’ fuel consumption is not great - the Esprit manages just 19 mpg.

A submarine in the shape of the Esprit was built for The Spy Who Loved Me and was lost after filming was completed. It was found in 1989 in a storage locker and was recently sold at auction for £616,000.

The Esprit actually tied on points with the Sunbeam Alpine, but we awarded it third place owing to its better performance stats.

 

4.     The Sunbeam Alpine Series II (1962)


Total score: 18

The last two cars on our list have slightly smaller roles in the films but set 007 apart as a classic car icon. The Sunbeam Alpine is the first of Bond’s cars to feature on the big screen – appearing in 1962’s Dr No.

Major strengths of the Sunbeam relate to original price, which was just £970 (£19,303 when adjusted for inflation). The car is also the most efficient on this list, achieving 28 mpg, putting it well ahead of the much newer Aston Martin DBS V12.

Performance stats let the Alpine down. With a top speed of just 98 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 14.5 seconds it lags well behind the top three and would have been little help if 007 had ever been needed a swift getaway whilst driving it.

 

5.     The Bentley Mark IV Coupé (1935)


The Bentley Mark IV features briefly in From Russia with Love, released in 1963. The Mark IV was already recognised as a classic car when the film was released, having been around since 1935.

Being the oldest car on this list, and from one of Britain’s most expensive car manufacturers, it is perhaps not surprising that the Bentley brings up the rear of this list.

Even at its release the car was costly, setting buyers back £1,500 – the equivalent of £101,380 today. At over three-quarters of a century old the Bentley doesn’t stack up well against some of the other cars in terms of performance. A top speed of 90mph and acceleration of 0 to 60 speed of 15 seconds make it the slowest here – although it’s worth noting that it isn’t falling too far behind the 27-years younger Sunbeam Alpine in this area.

The strengths of the Bentley lie in the increase in value it has seen over its life time. The car today is worth 7933% more than it was when driven out of the showroom in 1935. Surprisingly, the Bentley also scores well for fuel efficiency (at least amongst these cars), achieving 23 mpg.

 

How We Did It

We started our research by finding Bond’s five most iconic cars, which are those appearing in the top 10 James Bond films as rated by IMDB. Once we had our short list of vehicles we came up with data points that could be relied upon to give an accurate image of the cars’ value and performance. After scoping was carried out these were decided as:

  1. Original price
  2. Increase in value
  3. Top speed
  4. 0 to 60mph time
  5. Brake horsepower
  6. Miles per gallon

Research was carried out to find these data points which were pulled together from a number of sources, including manufacturers pages and car sites (a full list of source sites is available).

Once all data was gathered, each car was given a score for each data point from one to five. Five was awarded to the best performing car in the area, and one to the worst. The scores for each data point were added together to create our definitive ranking of each car.

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