About a year ago, the Porsche Cayenne officially entered the Guinness Book of World Records. How? By towing an Airbus A380 over a distance of 42 meters (137 feet) at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The 285-ton, 73-meter airplane was pulled by a Cayenne S Diesel fitted with a biturbo 4.1-liter V8 engine rated at 385 horsepower (283 kilowatts) and a monstrous 627 pound-feet (850 Newton-meters) of torque. Behind the wheel was Porsche GB technician Richard Payne, who repeated the exercise using a gasoline-powered 570-hp Cayenne Turbo S.
VW Touareg V10 TDI tows Boeing 747
It was 2006 when the Touareg V10 TDI made history after towing a 155-ton decommissioned Boeing 747. VW’s lightly modified SUV received the 4.56 axle from the V8 model and also got a whopping 4.3 tons of ballast weight. Uew Krieghoff drove the vehicle, which also had a special tow adapter to pair the two vehicles.
The Touareg – which had a total weight of about 7,030 kg (15,500 pounds) - was able to tow the jet for 150 meters (492 feet) at 5 mph before slowing itself down to a full stop using the standard brakes. Its 5.0-liter V10 engine did not go through any changes, meaning that it had the stock 309 horsepower and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters) of torque.
Land Rover Discovery tows road train
The Land Rover Discovery has been assigned a dangerous mission: to pull a convoy measuring 100 meters (328 feet) and weighing 110 tons (220,000 pounds) in the Australian outback. The road train had seven trailers and a 12-ton tractor unit and Land Rover had to get a special permit in order to legally tow the behemoth.
It was all possible thanks to the Discovery’s six-cylinder, 3.0-liter Td6 engine producing 254 horsepower and 600 Newton-meters (443 pound-feet) of torque. The SUV from Land Rover wasn’t modified in any way and was linked to the road train through a factory-fitted tow bar attachment.
Land Rover Discovery Sport tows three luxury train carriages
Another feat achieved by Land Rover, this time around with the Discovery Sport. As a nod to the year 1989 when the original Discovery powered by the then-new 200TDi diesel engine pulled several carriages, the latest Disco also demonstrated its towing capabilities a couple of years ago. Armed with the 2.0-liter Ingenium diesel engine, it managed to pull three luxury train carriages weighing more than 100 tons (200,000 lbs).
The demonstration was organized on a 10-km journey through the Rhine region of northern Switzerland and the Discovery Sport had to pull approximately 60 times its own weight. Aside from the rail wheels, Land Rover’s SUV did not go through any other changes, so it had the same nine-speed automatic transmission lacking a low-range mode that would’ve made the task a lot easier to accomplish.
Range Rover tows Airstream trailer
In this case, it’s not the weight the Range Rover managed to pull that impresses, but the distance the luxury SUV was able to cover. Towing an Airstream 684 Series 2 aluminum travel trailer, the posh SUV in the high-spec Autobiography trim and powered by the 339-hp V8 4.4-liter diesel engine traveled 3,676 miles (5,916 kilometers) in 11 days.
The 5,289-lbs (2,399-kg) trailer towed by the Land Rover luxury SUV made the journey from Airstream's European home in the English Lake District to the top of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and back.
GMC 2500HD tows Carson Kalispell
Once again, we’re putting the weight aside to focus not on the distance covered by the convoy, but on speed. Diesel Power's Jason Sands took a GMC 2500HD to try and take down the Guinness World Record for the fastest speed towing a trailer. The attempt took place at El Mirage Dry Lake in California on August 23, 2012 when the GMC towing a Carson Kalispell managed to reach 141.998 mph (228.523 kph).
Nissan Patrol tows Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane
Back in 2013, a completely stock Nissan Patrol (Armada / Infiniti QX56 in the U.S.) was tasked to pull a cargo plane at the Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. The attempt was successful as the hardcore off-road SUV pulled the 170-ton (340,000-pound) airplane over a distance of 50 meters (164 feet) to set a new world record.
As mentioned, Nissan’s reputable SUV with its 5.6-liter V8 engine did not go through any modifications, but it did need a special hitch in order to tow the massive Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane and take down the record for the “heaviest aircraft pulled by a production vehicle.”
Toyota Tundra tows space shuttle Endeavour
In 2012, the space shuttle Endeavour embarked upon its final 19-km (12-mile) journey from Los Angeles Airport to the California Science Center to serve as its last home. A standard 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4 was used to tow the space shuttle from point A to point B and it was all possible thanks to the vehicle’s 5.7-liter V8 engine packing 381 horsepower.
While that version of the Tundra is officially rated to tow 10,000 pounds, the shuttle weighed a massive 150,000 lbs, with the necessary tow equipment adding a further 120,000 lbs to the total payload. The half-ton pickup from Toyota managed to accomplish the task by successfully pulling a combined weight of nearly 300,000 lbs (136 tons) across the Manchester Bridge.
Only a couple of months later, Ford improved that record with its F-450 Super Duty pulling a 45-by-92 foot American flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 1.5-mile track.
Tesla Model X P100D tows Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
The latest achievement comes from Tesla and its Model X P100D, an all-electric SUV that managed to tow a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Qantas. By pulling 143 tons, the Model X - which has a 5,000-pound towing capacity - is billed by the Australian airline company as being the new record holder for the heaviest tow accomplished by a production electric passenger vehicle. The record-breaking attempt took place at the Melbourne airport in Australia.
What is the heaviest thing a vehicle can tow? You have probably asked yourself this question a few times. To give you an answer, we have prepared a list of several SUVs that pulled a great variety of things, including a train and even a space shuttle.
The load may exceed 100 tons, but it’s not a problem for these protagonists.