Supercars come in all different shapes and sizes, and they can have horsepower ratings in the quadruple figures. With top speeds exceeding 200 mph, and massive amounts of power, it’s no wonder that many people ask whether or not supercars can be used to tow.
Supercars can be used to tow, but they probably shouldn’t. Supercars are built with fine tolerances in mind, covering things like gearing ratios, torque and weight distribution. Towing anything even slightly heavy could wear or break key components of a supercar, so it’s generally not advised.
To understand why you shouldn’t use your supercar to tow anything, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of the key components of supercars in general. Read on to learn more about towing with supercars, and find out which ones can tow without issue.
What Does Towing Involve?
When a vehicle tows anything, be it a trailer or another vehicle, there are several forces at play. To move the car forward, you must accelerate. Doing so moves the mass of your car forward, and the total force involved is equal to the mass of the car times the rate of acceleration. When you hit the brakes, that same force works in the opposite direction, slowing you down.
If you tow something, you increase the mass you need to accelerate. Let’s say you add a trailer that weighs the same amount as the car. You therefore double your total mass. To accelerate at the same rate as you would with your car alone, the force involved also doubles. This is important, and it also means the force under braking is doubled too.
Larger Forces Involved
Acceleration is the rate at which your speed increases, so the way you (somewhat) counteract this doubling of forces is to accelerate slower, even if you eventually reach the same speed as in the car without anything towing behind it. However, there are still larger forces involved, and these can be dangerous if they get too big.
For a large road car or truck, these forces, while still large, are built into the tolerances of the car. Essentially, everyday cars that come with tow bars are built to handle the kind of forces that a trailer or second vehicle would put on the car. It’s not just the tow bar that takes the strain after all.
The chassis of the car, to which the tow bar is attached, also has to deal with the extra forces pulling on it under acceleration and pushing on it under braking. This leads us onto the important aspect of supercars in particular.
Other Components Affected By Towing
It’s not just the tow bar itself or the chassis that is affected by towing. Many might think that, as supercars can have massive amounts of horsepower and reach high speeds, they must be good at towing things. However, power isn’t everything. In fact, more important in this case is torque.
Torque, put very simply, is a measure of how fast a car’s power can be applied. While supercars might have high torque ratings, torque can also work on your car as a result of external forces. This is exactly what can happens when you tow something heavy like a trailer and accelerate or decelerate.
Too Much Torque
Too much torque can be applied to your axle, for example, under heavy acceleration, which could cause simple wear and tear or even damage it beyond repair. As there are such large forces involved (as a result of the increased total mass of your car plus the mass of whatever it is you’re towing) even small accelerations can involve large forces.
The suspension systems of modern supercars can be very impressive, but they’re built for speed, agility, and sometimes a little bit of comfort too. However, when they’re put under the strain of a towed trailer, sometimes weighing half the car’s weight or more, the suspension simply cannot put up with it for long periods of time.
Lift At The Front
The weight on the coupling point between your car and the trailer is called the tongue weight. This can exceed hundreds of pounds, and if it’s heavy enough it can cause the front of the car to lift slightly. This reduces your grip at the front tires and therefore impacts braking and steering, which is dangerous in itself.
Speaking of tires, most high-end supercars come with and require high-spec tires to run properly and efficiently. These tires aren’t built to withstand the extra weight of heavy tows and their pressures can be affected too, in turn affecting grip. But other components are affected as well.
The transmission and gear ratios in supercars aren’t designed around extra weight, so some very lightweight cars would probably just spin their wheels under the extra forces. But because of the gear ratios, you might cause significant damage to your transmission if you were to tow a heavy trailer for even a short time.
Brakes are another thing to consider. While supercars often come with very high-spec brakes, they’re once again designed to be lightweight and offer high-performance, not to withstand heavy weight. You could burn them out completely if you put them under too much strain, such as when braking down a long hill with a heavy trailer on the back.
Just Not Built To Tow
While some supercars could undoubtedly tow a small trailer, they may have the horsepower but not the right torque or gearing to do so in the long term without risking much damage or an unsafe driving experience. While there are some modifications that might help, such as a torque convertor or transmission cooler, most supercars are just not built to tow!
If you’re in doubt about towing anything with your supercar, just check your owner’s manual or speak with your car dealer. Finally, your supercar might just not come with a towing point! If this is the case, you’re never going to be able to tow anything. But some supercar SUVs do come with towing points.
Can Supercar SUVs Tow?
Supercar SUVs may be few and far between when compared with regular supercars, but they are very popular nonetheless. Some models, like the Lamborghini Urus, are definitely classed as supercars. It in particular offers more than 600 HP, via its twin-turbo 4L V8 engine, boasting a top speed of just under 190 mph.
But one remarkable feature of this car is that it can come fitted with a tow hitch. The 2020 model has a tow capacity of 7000 lbs, while other super SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne and the Bentley Bentayga can each tow around 7700 lbs.
Why Are Supercars Not Built To Tow?
One final question to ask concerns why supercars aren’t built to tow even small trailers. The main reason is that the market simply doesn’t exist on a large enough scale for it to be profitable for supercar manufacturers. They could build their supercars to tow small trailers, but there would be very little reason to.
Most supercar buyers purchase their car to drive fast and enjoy the ride. Most aren’t looking for an expensive way to take their trailer from A to B. There’s already a market for that, usually in the form of pickup trucks, and supercars are built for speed and performance.
Plus, supercars would need to be tested and rated in order to be fit to tow things, and not only does this cost money, but it also opens up the door for legal disputes. Not offering tow points with supercars just makes it much easier to avoid unnecessary expenses and lawsuits when someone inevitably crashes and sues the manufacturer saying it’s unsafe for towing.
Supercars can be used to tow, but they shouldn’t be used to do so in most cases. Supercars aren’t built to withstand heavy loads, and instead are built for speed and performance. However, there are some supercar SUVs on the market that can tow, but it’s usually best to tow with a different vehicle.