Bond villains have always been interesting characters: sophisticated, intelligent and supremely well-equipped with futuristic and cutting-edge toys.
Aptly, the new official car of evil, a Jaguar C-X75 driven by henchman Mr Hinx in the latest Bond movie Spectre, is as advanced as it gets.
A 850-horsepower hybrid with four electric engines and diesel-fuelled micro turbines, it can reach a top speed of more than 200mph. The prototype was too costly to go into full production but has been dusted off specially for the movie. It can cover the first 60km of any journey in purely electric mode, and only ever emits 89g of carbon dioxide per kilometre – comparable to the emissions of even the greenest petrol-powered family hatchback.
On the other side of this is James Bond, who need only load up a conventionally-powered Aston Martin or Bentley with Q’s best clandestine technology in order to vanquish evil. And in Spectre, Bond’s back driving a silver Aston Martin with an unashamedly petrol V8 engine.
Internally combusted, not stirred. Angelo Carconi / EPA
It is called the DB10 – and you won’t find it in any show rooms as it was designed specifically for the film. Why would this kind of car be all it takes for Bond when the bad guys are clearly choosing their wheels with higher ideals in mind? The underlying message of this is perhaps supposed to be that “British values will stand” – but are the makers of the film missing something important?
Which Side Are You On, Mr Bond?
The Jaguar C-X75, notwithstanding its sinister driver, is actually a “green car” – while Bond’s is anything but. Perhaps henchman Hinx is really a kind-hearted environmentalist who lovingly maintains extensive hydroponic hobby gardens and supports the cause of the African rhino when not murderously chasing protagonists down the streets of Rome? I haven’t seen the film yet, but I already like Mr Hinx a little more than Bond when I imagine this. Alas, I don’t think we are supposed to side with the henchman.
Instead, the fact that fast electric vehicles are being used by the ultimate baddies shows we are ready to take them seriously. As recently as 2008, when Quantum of Solace was filmed, the only electric sports car was the friendly-looking Tesla Roadster, which was quick, but not menacing enough to stir James Bond and his audience. The grunt of the C-X75 is taking electric capability and street cred to a whole new level.
No, Mr Bond, I expect you to drive a Tesla. Rebecca Cook/Reuters
A slightly different question might be why off-the-shelf cars no longer seem to be good enough for the transport needs of good and evil now. Both Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 and Hinx’s Jaguar C-X75 are bespoke vehicles. As an old Bond veteran, this rubs me up slightly the wrong way, as these films historically always used to showcase the cutting edge at its most dramatic and advanced, but always seemed to say: “this technology is coming your way, folks. One day, you will be using stuff like this yourselves.”
But it doesn’t seem that way now. You may like the Aston Martin DB10, and you may like the Jaguar C-X75, but they can never be yours. They are cars for the demi-gods of good and evil now.
But clearly the future is electric. Though you might never get to drive that eco-Jaguar, a Tesla is still realistic enough. So, when are we going to see James Bond electrified?
The coming film will raise questions as to why henchmen should get a fancy hi-tech hybrid-turbine, while Bond still makes do with a Victorian steam engine that does nothing for the survival of those rhino. If Bond wants to hold the continued respect of his audience, a conversation with Q will be required to stuff some batteries into the DB11.
But that’s still one movie away.