Automotive

Porsche tows Airbus A380 into the record books

An Air France A380 being pulled by a Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
An Air France A380 being pulled by a Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
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The Porsche Cayenne pulling an Airbus A380
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The Porsche Cayenne pulling an Airbus A380
Porsche has usurped Nissan with its Guinness World Record run
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Porsche has usurped Nissan with its Guinness World Record run
The size difference between the Cayenne and Airbus is stark
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The size difference between the Cayenne and Airbus is stark
The Cayenne was modified with a heavy-duty towing setup
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The Cayenne was modified with a heavy-duty towing setup
An Air France A380 being pulled by a Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
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An Air France A380 being pulled by a Porsche Cayenne S Diesel
The Cayenne S Diesel is the new record holder
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The Cayenne S Diesel is the new record holder
Porsche teamed up with Airbus and Air France to set up its stunt
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Porsche teamed up with Airbus and Air France to set up its stunt

When you're thinking of tow cars, Porsche probably isn't a name that immediately springs to mind. That could change, because a diesel Cayenne has just broken the Guinness World Record for Heaviest aircraft pull by a production car.

Weighing in at a whopping 285 tonnes (314 tons), the Air France A380 pulled by the Porsche is a not-insignificant 115-tonnes (128-tons) heavier than the previous record holder. It's also significantly heavier than the 100-tonne (110-ton) train that Land Rover used to prove the pull of its four-cylinder diesel Discovery Sport, although the Cayenne is a bigger car.

Aside from a heavier-duty tow bar, the Cayenne S Diesel S used for the pull was unmodified from stock. That means it was making a standard 385 hp (287 kW) of power and 850 Nm (627 lb-ft) of torque, all put to the road through an unchanged all-wheel drive system. As if to show off, the company also repeated the stunt for the cameras in a Cayenne Turbo S after the record attempt was done.

"We don't usually go this far to test the limits of our cars but I think today we got pretty close," Richard Payne, technician at Porsche Great Britain. "I could tell that it was working hard but the Cayenne didn't complain and just got on with it. My mirrors were quite full of Airbus, which was interesting. Our cars can go a bit beyond what our customers might expect – they're designed to be tough. But even so, what the Cayenne did today was remarkable – we drove the car here from London – and I plan to drive it home again, having towed an A380 in between."

You can watch the Cayenne pulling the Air France A380 in the video below.

Source: Porsche

Air France and Porsche: New Guinness World Records title

8 comments
Jason Catterall
What an incredibly useful and relevant test. Will we be seeing an increase in listed max towing capability from 2,500kg to 314,000kg?
Thijmen
Cool video, but when I see these type of videos (Fifth gear also did something similar with a VW Touareg), I'm always wondering what the actual load on the tow bar/car is. Obviously the wheels lower the actual load by a lot. I guess the clutch is seeing most wear as that part is tasked with transferring the forces.
c4jjm
42 meters... the plane did not even make it out of the hangar?! HA! I'm sure they had to stop due to the transmission/engine over heating....That is usually what happens when you put more stress on those systems than they were designed for...especially without significant air flow from moving 1 mile an hour.... an odd stunt...
Brooke
Some decades ago while driving on 101 to S. Calif. I passed a long convey of new HMMWVs. AM General would not sell me one because (1) all their capacity was was going to the current contract and (2) they were not street legal (the military does not need to be legal). Later they offered a street legal version for civilians and to accomplish that the GVW was upped to slightly over 10,000 pounds. I thought that would involve heaver springs and things related to the vertical load, but it turned out the major change was in the drive line. The added torque needed to move the higher weight translated into a much stronger drive line.
Altairtech
I'm pretty sure that they had a temperature sensor installed in the transmission oil circuit, and stopped the pull just before reaching the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke. The rest of the drivetrain can take the torque, no problem.
highlandboy
All that is needed is a torque converter (basically 2 fans spining in oil. the first attached to the engine the second to the transmission). Provided the amount of torque transfered is less then the breaking strain of the driveline the only issue is the heat output from the transmission fluid. If torque is greater than that required to overcome the rolling resistance, the plane moves. What a waste of time. I suppose Porsche had to do something different to items related to normal use of a vehicle since Tesla stole their thunder.
CoachFerg
Let's see, totally level surface, wheels and tires designed to minimize rolling resistance, and (inferred) no significant wind resistance. Any similarly equipped vehicle could achieve the feat. It looks impressive (like the Tundra towing the Space Shuttle), but it really isn't. Heck of a marketing ploy though for those who buy into it.
Nathan Rees
To be fair, I was far more impressed by Kevin Fast pulling a 188 ton Globemaster with nothing more than his leg power - suddenly the Porsche's feat seems insignificant...