The latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, has finally been released, after a long, Covid-related hiatus. However, it’s finally here and the reviews are quite good. We can’t wait to see it. BMW isn’t featured in this one (unless you count the E46 M3-powered Aston Martin DB5-replica stunt car used for filming) but it did get us thinking about the few BMW Bond cars throughout history.
BMW is in a very small, exclusive group of automakers that have been James Bond cars. While many brands from Ford to Jaguar have been featured in Bond films (there was a Ford Edge in Quantum of Solace, not exactly sexy car-casting), there haven’t been many brands that have been used as Bond’s official car of choice. Most notably, there’s been Aston Martin, Lotus, and BMW (among a few others that were used very briefly). So let’s remember all of the Bavarian Bond vehicles.
There have really only been three Bond BMWs, driven by Pierce Brosnan’s Bond. In Goldeneye, Brosnan’s first Bond film, he briefly drives a BMW Z3. While the Z3 is a cool car and it was supposedly outfitted with guns and fancy gadgets, barely any of them are ever used and the car is only on screen for around two minutes. So the Z3 is among the least exciting Bond cars of all time.
In the following movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond drives a BMW 750iL. At face value, the 750iL isn’t exactly a good Bond car. The E38 7 Series was a brilliant luxury car and among the best looking luxury sedans ever made but, for Bond-duty, it’s pretty boring. However, Bond’s was fitted with a very cool remote control driving system, which he used in the movie, from the back seat, to drive away from baddies in a parking garage. It’s a very fun scene and one that semi-redeems the relatively boring choice to use a luxury sedan as a Bond car. While the scene is great, we still wouldn’t rank the 7er high on the Bond list.
However, one such Bond car that should rank high, despite its relatively short screen time, was the BMW Z8 featured in The World is Not Enough. The BMW Z8 should have been utilized more as a Bond car because it’s perfect for that role. It’s a two-door roadster with jaw-dropping looks, a kick-ass V8 under its hood, and a manual gearbox. It definitely ranks among the all-time great Bond cars, even though its biggest claim to fame was getting cut in half by a helicopter-mounted circular saw (Bond films in the ’00s were nuts).
To be honest, the BMW Bond cars were never really featured players in any of the films. They were never really used in excited car chases, like many Astons were, and they never really got a lot of screen time. However, BMW is still one of the lucky brands that was used as James Bond’s official MI6 vehicle and that’s a pretty cool part of the brand’s history.