Various versions of the Porsche Cayenne advertise acceleration and top speed, but the SUV’s torque figures rarely get much time in the spotlight aside from those rare occasions when (European) owners use them to tow trailers. Or double-decker airliners.
Porsche put the low-end torque performance of the Cayenne to the test recently by towing the largest passenger aircraft in service today — the Airbus A380 — out of its 60,000 square foot hangar, in the process setting a new Guinness world record for the Heaviest Aircraft Pull by a Production Car.
Which version of the Cayenne did Porsche use? The Cayenne S Diesel of course, which is also the version of the Cayenne we’d recommend for towing an airliner if you find yourself in such a situation. The 385 hp is certainly useful in this scenario, but it’s the 627 lb-ft of torque that comes in handy when towing something like the 314-ton, 516-seat Airbus.
The Cayenne bested the previous record by 115 tons — almost half the weight of the plane itself — towing it a distance of 137 feet. The previous record, in case you’re wondering, was set by a Nissan Patrol back in 2013: The SUV pulled a 170.9-ton Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane a distance of 164 feet (50 meters) at Sharjah International Airport in the UAE. Further back, the record was held by a VW Touareg, which pulled a 155-ton Boeing 747.
“We don’t usually go this far to test the limits of our cars, but I think today we got pretty close,” said Porsche technician Richard Payne, who drove the Cayenne. “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.”
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How did the Cayenne even get traction? The towing arm connected to the front wheels of the A380, which attached to a stock towing hitch on the Cayenne, helped keep all four wheels firmly planted. Still, in the video, you can see that the nose of the Cayenne lifted up a bit at “takeoff.”
Are there bigger planes out there with which to set records, or is this pretty much the end of these types of feats of strength? The Antonov-225 Mriya is certainly larger than an A380, but it’s a transport plane, so it’s mostly empty inside. The Antonov weighs 275 tons empty, but if it could be filled up with a couple of dozen Cayennes stacked on top of each other in special containers … a perfect next pull record for Porsche to attempt.