liter V10 TDI Diesel
15,499 lbs (with added weight)
lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
hp @ 3750 rpm
lbs per hp
hp per liter
Press Release) Record-breaking: Touareg tows Boeing 747
TDI power: A Touareg V10 TDI takes a 155-ton jet along for a ride
Wolfsburg, November 24, 2006. “Wanna bet that a Touareg V10 TDI can
tow a Boeing 747?” “A 155-ton jet?” “Never!” “Sure it can!” This
verbal exchange by two Volkswagen employees had consequences: A few
months later, on Thursday this week, a Volkswagen crew did indeed
hook up a new generation Touareg V10 TDI to a 747. The certified
result: The SUV pulled it off easily. However, the receipt of orders
from airport operators wanting to replace their tow vehicles
weighing up to 70 tons with the significantly more economical
Touareg could not be confirmed.
The “Touareg tows a Boeing 747” event took place at the Dunsfold
Aerodrome in England, located 40 miles from the gates of London.
From the very start the question, entirely seriously meant, was
posed about how powerful a modern, top range SUV with engine,
four-wheel drive and chassis is.
The Touareg is innately the ideal towing vehicle: Maximum load
capacities are 3,500 kilos for trailers and 1,640 kilos for the rear
axle. But when instead of a 3.5 ton boat trailer a jet weighing over
155 tons – consisting of 511 m2 of wing surface, 4 engines, 450
seats and a fuselage the size of a block of houses – is attached to
the hitch, things look quite a bit different. Careful preparations
must be made.
In order for the Touareg V10 TDI to be able to tow the big bird, the
weight of the Volkswagen had to first be increased. This sounds
paradoxical but is absolutely necessary so that the power of the
engine can be converted into propelling force. For this purpose
steel balls and steel plates were distributed in the SUV. Extra
weight: 4,345 kilos! Total weight of the Touareg: 7,030 kilos.
Weight distribution: 2,755 kilos in front, 4,275 kilos in back.
The other modifications were kept to a minimum. For the front axle
drive the shorter transmission of the Touareg V8 was integrated in
place of the V10 TDI transmission. The crew increased air pressure
in the standard Michelin tires to 4.5 bar. And finally, the maximum
speed was limited – not out of fear that the unusual harnessed
system would become airborne, but to protect the tires. Everything
else, from the engine to the shock suspension system and four-wheel
drive corresponded exactly to the series production version.
An extra device was then used to hook up the Boeing 747 to the
Touareg’s standard trailer hitch. The experiment could begin. Based
on the maximum torque of the V10 TDI (750 Nm) and the transmission
ratio, the engineers had previously calculated that the Touareg
would be able to put approx. 200 tons into motion. But who would
trust his calculations if a 1.7 meter high, 4.75 meter long car was
suddenly attached to a 19.4 meter high jet over 70 meters long?
Nobody would. Especially not when typical English weather with heavy
rain and headwinds were lashing across the car and jet as if there
was no tomorrow.
But the Touareg did the job. Volkswagen technician Uwe Krieghoff
took the wheel. He started the engine. Using the four-wheel drive
control on the middle console he selected the “LOW” setting for
reduced off-road speed. 50 percent of driving force was now
distributed to the front axle and 50 percent to the back. Krieghoff
manually selected the second gear of the automatic transmission,
accelerated slowly and reflected on getting the 18 head-height
wheels of the 155 ton 747 rolling from a standing position. The
greatest power was required in these few seconds. As soon as this
harnessed system got moving, it would move. But the only thing that
budged at first was the engine speed. Krieghoff continued to push
down the gas pedal to about the halfway position. And with not a
hint of traction problems the Touareg and the jumbo jet started
moving. After a distance of 150 meters Krieghoff slowed the
harnessed system to a stop.
A post check-up of the Touareg did not find any evidence of damage
to the car. Everything was A-OK.
Incidentally, the new generation of the Touareg is now available for
order. The SUV comes standard equipped with ESP plus trailer
stabilization. It is extremely effective at preventing trailers from
dangerously fishtailing when improperly loaded or traveling at
excessively high speed. The system didn’t kick in during the test
with the 747 – the speed was only eight km/h.