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SYFY WIRE Back to the Future

15 of the Coolest Sci-fi Cars We'd Love to Drive

Everyone has that one fictional car they've always wished was real.

By Matthew Jackson
Fast X Trailer

Watch enough TV and movies, and you'll eventually have the thought, "Man, I wish that car was real so I could drive it around." It's just what happens after years of seeing cool cars passing by in pop culture. Now, there's a show that's making a version of that dream into a reality.

On NBC's Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challengecontestants compete to make the cars of their dreams into dazzling realities, working to take a wild Hot Wheels concept from toy to real driving machine, and giving the audience some of the most extraordinary cars they've ever seen along the way. 

RELATED: Could You Really Launch a Car Into Space?

It's a fun idea for a series, and it got us thinking: If we could go back through our long history of watching cool concept cars in movies and TV, which ones would we make real? Here are 15 of our favorites, from blockbuster films to one-off jokes in cartoons.

Check out our list of the coolest sci-fi cars ever

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5

Agent 007 has had a number of awesome spy cars over the years, including some sporting gear much more futuristic than what's inside this particular model. But in this case, the original really is the best. Debuting all the way back in Goldfinger, Bond's Aston Martin DB5 is still the standard by which all other spy cars are measured, and its arsenal of gadgets ranging from machine guns to retractable bullet shields to ejector seats is still fun to dream about, decades after its debut.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder

Speeders are the cars of the Star Wars world, and over the years we've seen the creators of a galaxy far, far away play with many, many variations of the original design. Still, there's something about the battered old speeder that Luke pilots across Tatooine that just grabs us in ways those more sophisticated models don't. It's a farm boy's work car, but that design makes it feel like a cool cruiser on any planet.

The Mach 5

Whether you're looking at its original animated form or the live-action version delivered by the Wachowskis, the Mach 5 from Speed Racer is both instantly iconic and endlessly cool. From the red M on the hood to the numerous special features it deploys in episode after episode, it looks like the kind of car you'd see cruising down the interstate on a Saturday, but also like the kind of car only a super racer could drive.

Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T.)

On a very basic level, K.I.T.T. is a Trans Am that was introduced to pop culture in the heyday of Trans Ams, so even if it didn't have all the extra bells and whistles, we were bound to want to get behind that Firebird's wheel. Throw in the intelligence behind the car that talks to you while you drive and just might become your new best friend, and it's a must-have.

The Spinner

Whether you're talking about the version in Blade Runner or the updated model in Blade Runner 2049, the flying car known as a Spinner is a beautifully designed future machine. It's a flying car that looks like it could plausibly exist in a version of our own future, its functional enough to be considered an everyday workhorse, yet the right model can make you feel like you're cruising in sci-fi luxury.


Listen, we know we could have picked a lot of different Transformers to make this list, but if we have to narrow it down to just one, and we're keeping the parameters to "cars," Bumblebee is our winner. Whether he's in his original Volkswagen Beetle form or we're getting the movie version built on American muscle car power, he's a robot in disguise with personality and style to spare.

The DeLorean

You knew this was coming. DeLoreans already looked like the cars of the future when they started rolling out, so of course when you add a time machine into an already futuristic car and take it to the future (or the past), things are bound to be memorable. At this point, the Back to the Future DeLorean is such an iconic part of pop culture that it's easy to forget these were actual cars people could drive, time machine not included.

The Batmobile

Just as everyone has their favorite Batman, everyone has their favorite Batmobile. Some prefer the classic convertible from the Batman '66 days, others the Tumbler from the Dark Knight Trilogy, and still others the expressionistic machine from Tim Burton's Batman films. Me personally, I'm a big fan of the Batman: The Animated Series model, which takes parts of Burton's version and adds a certain art deco restraint that makes it especially cool. 


OK, so Christine isn't really a car of the future. She doesn't have tech-heavy special features or an artificial intelligence managing her system. What she does have is a thirst for blood, a jealous streak, and a whole lot of classic American car style. Just getting your hands on a mint 1958 Plymouth Fury without the haunting would be prize enough, but for the right owner, Christine's ability to put herself back together again and protect you at all costs would be a dream.

The Men in Black Crown Victoria

Giving the Men in Black — shadowy government agents who work to keep a low-profile even while they take on the most high-profile threats to humanity — a car that just screams "standard law enforcement issue" is a stroke of genius on the part of that film's production design team. We've all seen dozens of Crown Vics in our lives, and most of the time someone representing some aspect of the law has been behind the wheel. But most of the Crown Vics you've seen definitely didn't drive upside-down, so this one wins.

Korben Dallas' Taxi

On some level, it's true that Korben Dallas' taxi cab in The Fifth Element is just one flying car on an entire planet full of flying cars, so why is this one special? Well, it all comes down to personality. Thanks to Korben's own gruff way of getting through his life, and the way the cab functions as an extension of director Luc Besson's kinetic filmmaking style, it's an unforgettable sci-fi car, and it genuinely looks fun to drive.

The Ford Thundercougarfalconbird

Futurama is packed with futuristic vehicles, but this one sticks in our heads because of its pure simplicity. It's just a joke car, appearing in one scene for one gag that allows a character to say the word "Thundercougarfalconbird" over and over again, but its over-the-top design and its place as a satirical dart in the direction of overcompensating with a car means that we really want to know more about what's under the hood.

The Lexus 2054

When Steven Spielberg requests a futuristic Lexus for his sci-fi movie, you build one, and you make sure it's a car people want to drive. The Lexus 2054 initially appears in Minority Report in a factory sequence, as Tom Cruise basically has a car built around him, then takes to the streets for more memorable appearances. It's made that much cooler by its appearance in a Spielberg film, but even beyond the way the director shoots it, this car just looks like something you'd want to drive.

The Blood Drive Racers

Remember Blood Drive? The wild grindhouse horror series about cars that run on human blood competing in a race across America? Well, we remember, and we also remember how wild it was to watch cars literally open up their engines like jaws to receive human bodies that would rev them up for the road. As for which car we're talking about here, just pick your favorite model and watch your hands when you check under the hood.

The Rocket Car

It took years of memes, jokes, and discussions, but in F9, members of the Toretto crew finally went to space in a Rocket Car, and it's as wild and memorable as you might think. The car itself doesn't exactly function as a car anymore, since the wheels were pulled off to make the flight work, and you've got to launch from a plane in order to get it into orbit. But still. It's a car you can drive in space, and that means we'll never forget it.

Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC, and streams the next day on Peacock.