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With the sun due to appear somewhere over the British isles sometime soon, and the German tyre test season in full swing, now is the perfect time to review the options for summer 2013.
While the maximum performance market hasn't had many new launches in the past twelve months, the premium touring segment has had a shake up with the introduction of two new tyres from Goodyear and Dunlop.
235/35 R19. 305/30 R19. A 997 911 Carrera S and 5 sets of the newest track day tyres designed to give you the ultimate driving pleasure. It sounds like our dream test, so quite how we missed its publication last year we'll never know.
"Beyond the label" was the theme for the launch of the Goodyear EfficientGrip replacement, the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance, but instead of just talking about the 3/15/50 message, we actually got to test two different brands of B/A labelled tyres back to back in wet handling and curved aquaplaning.
We don't usually analyse the European tyre test, carried out by the excellent German ADAC organisation, but this one was too good to ignore.
Not only is it the first year they've used a tyre larger than 16", there's several new tyres involved in the 225/45 R17 tyre test. It's the first time we've seen the new replacement for the Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta in a group test, along side some of it's new mid range stable mates, the Toyo T1 Sport and the Falken FK453, and its the first time we've seen the Continental Sport Contact 5 beat the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. Interesting!
The new Yokohama Advan V105 has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, the Yokohama Advan V103, was launched in 2004 and has proven to be an extremely popular and capable tyre, winning numerous OE fitments including the Porsche 911 and Cayenne, the Bentley Continental GT, a number of AMG vehicles and many VAG fitments.
Perhaps one of the worst cars on snow, an automatic (SMG) BMW M3 with 255/35 R19 rear tyres in a "race" against various other vehicles.
The first one to the top of the small, snow covered incline wins. Traction control turned off in the M3 and always started in 1st gear. Oh, and the M3 has Michelin Pilot Alpin 4 UHP winter tyres.
In order of "race" appearance:
1) M3 vs BMW 118d Manual. Drive wheels are new 245/35 R18 Nankang NS20 summer tyres
2) M3 vs Ford KA. Drive wheels are 165/35 R13 budget summer tyres
3) M3 vs BMW 118d with extra weight over the rear wheels
4) M3 vs VW Passat Manual with an extra runup. Drive wheels are new 205/55 R16 Dunlop SP Sport summer tyres
125 years after the first patent of the inflatable tyre, and to mark Dunlops 125th Birthday, Dunlop is releasing a new breed of tyre – the high performance eco touring tyre.
The new Dunlop Sport BluResponse is derived from Dunlops work in motorsport, where the desire for low fuel consumption and good wear properties are starting to become as important as the raw grip of the tyre.
Just because your car runs wide, low profile wheels and tyres, it doesn't mean it shouldn't work in the snow. Modern winter tyres are now made in extremely wide sizes, and can totally transform RWD cars such as a BMW 3 Series from an unusable drive way ordainment, to king of the roads in poor conditions.
Continuing on from the 42 tyre winter tyres shootout, Auto Bild carried the top 15 tyres across to the more in-depth group tests. Qualifying for this ultimate winter shoot out were tyres from each of the six premium manufacturers, along with eight midrange brands and one brand we consider a high end budget (Maxxis).
With the winter tyre market starting to develop in the UK, a lot of people have been discussing all season tyres. UK winters are characterised by long, cold wet spells, and when the snow falls our road systems grind to a halt due to 99% of the cars in use are running summer tyres.
Read on to see how the stack up against a summer and a winter tyre, in all conditions.
A modern all season tyres can offer 95% of the snow ability of a dedicated winter tyre, but with the promise to be able to run it year round. They could be the perfect tyre for the UK climate, but which tyre works best? To answer this question, Auto Bild have tested ten all season tyres in 175/65 R14, and included a winter and summer tyre in the group for comparison purposes.
Winter tyres shouldn't mean limited performance, and many modern winter tyres are rated up to V which means they're safe to run at 149mph for extended periods.
To test nine of the best, Auto Bild equipped a Golf GTI with the recommended 225/45 R17 winter tyre size in V rating, and subjected them to handling, braking and comfort tests in the dry, wet and snowy conditions.
The 2012 winter tyre test season is upon us, and the usually excellent Auto Zeitung have just realised their latest winter tyre test.
Focusing on the popular 205/55 R16 tyre size, Auto Zeitung have tested 8 tyres - one from each of the six premium manufacturers, and a tyre each from the two brands known best for their excellent winter offerings, Nokian and Vredestein.
By their very nature, cold weather, or winter tyres have more of a compromise built in than another other type of tyre on the market, due to the wide range of conditions they need to perform in.
Developing a tyre to perform well in snow conditions is actually relative easy for the tyre manufacturers. Lots of edges, a nice wide tread pattern and you have a reasonable snow performance. It's the balance between snow and wet performance which is extremely important to a lot of European countries, where the cold wet conditions far out weigh the snowy or icy driving conditions, and where a lot of cheaper winter tyres fail.
With winter around the corner, Goodyear have just launched their latest ultra high performance winter tyre, the Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance.
Replacing the Goodyear Ultragrip Performance 2, the new UltraGrip 8 Performance brings a number of new technologies to the winter tyre, while also bringing the Goodyear winter tyre range naming nicely into line with it’s none-performance brother, the UltraGrip 8.
This years Auto Express summer tyre test is probably the closest test we've seen, and with all 8 tyres within 2% of each other overall even a slight change in the weighting of the test categories would dramatically change the overall result!
As usual, Auto Express have focused on the more popular size of 205/55 R16 91H, with this years test vehicle being FWD Skoda Octavia. The test was conducted at Bridgestones test facility in the south of Italy, and covered the usual thorough array of tests, including 5 wet tests, 2 dry tests plus noise and rolling resistance tests.
While German tyre tests are great at putting raw figures together, they often miss out on some of the subjective feel of the tyre. This is where the Russian magazine Auto Review comes into its own, combining great data along with the subjective feel felt when driving on each tyre.
In 2012 Auto Review have tested 9 touring tyres on an Audi A3 in 205/55 R16 91V. Auto Review selected the newest breed of touring tyres, specifically designed to save fuel without sacrificing performance in any other areas, such as wet grip.
With petrol prices forever on the increase, and the demand for better MPG and lower emissions on vehicle manufacturers higher than it has ever ever been, it's no surprise all the premium tyre manufacturers are working constantly to reduce the rolling resistance of their tyres, without sacrificing over performance such as wet grip, overall tread life and noise. A tyre contributes 20% of the overall rolling resistance to a vehicle, meaning one fuel tank in 5 is used purely moving the tyres.
Michelin first started developing low rolling resistance tyres over 20 years ago with the Michelin Energy MXT in 1992, and their latest tyre, the Michelin Energy Saver+ is the 5th generation of low rolling resistance tyres to come from Michelin.
Dunlop have been on a role recently with their motorcycle tyres. The GP Racer range has been going from strength to strength, the SportSmart tyre has been winning awards and we've tested the new RoadSmart 2 against the best from Michelin and Bridgestone and crowned the Dunlop the winner.
To extend that run of form, Dunlop have taken all the lessons learnt in the current generation of bike tyres and applied them to a scooter tyre, the Dunlop ScootSmart.
Ever wondered what it was like to live with a set of the new Dunlop RoadSmart II tyres? How about trying to convert a die hard Michelin fan? We've done exactly that by providing a set to Jaime, a hardcore 24/7 biker and devoted Michelin fan, letting him live with them for nearly 10,000 miles and getting his feedback.
Read on for what is a very interesting experience!
With every new generation of cars being fitted with larger wheels, tyres are having to follow suit. While 20 inch wheels and tyre were unheard of a few years ago, they are now becoming commonplace enough for the excellent German publication Auto Bild Sports Cars to investigate the options.
While some tyre tests end up testing a seemingly random selection of both new and old tyres, Sport Auto seem to have hit the sweet spot with their latest summer ultra high performance tyre test.
Using a VW Golf GTI, and testing 235/35 R19 tyres Sport Auto took a no-nonsense approach and tested 9 of the newest, and greatest tyres on the market, only omitting the brand new Dunlop Sport Maxx RT in favour of its higher performance brother, the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT.
Traditionally, German based Auto Bild put together some of the best tyre tests in the world, and in 2012 they've set a new benchmark.
Not content with picking 15 of the top tyres to test, Auto Bild started with 50 of the leading tyres in 225/45 R17, and subjected them to wet and dry braking, only putting through the top 15 to this test to ensure the tyres on test really are the best of the best.
Subjecting just the top 15 tyres from the braking tests to the usual array of handling tests have left the results closer than ever, but with some surprise tyres included. Of course, with only 15 of 50 going through there's some surprise ommisions, with the Falken FK453, Yokohama Advan Sport, Vredestein Ultra Cento and Avon ZV5 not even making it to the top 25 of the knockout test.
It's not often you get the chance to test different tyres on identical vehicles, and even rarer that the tyres in question are two of the newest, most exciting max performance summer tyres on the market, but this is exactly what we found ourselves presented with recently at Ascari race circuit.
The tyres in question are the latest offerings from Continental and Dunlop, with each of the four cars being fitted with a set of Continental Sport Contact 5s, and a set of the brand new Dunlop SportMaxx RT, all in 245/40 R18. Two of the vehicles comprised of the high performance coupe from Audi, the TT S, and the other two were the the high powered Audi S4 saloon.
Touring tyres, designed for family cars and vehicles which spend most of their time on the motorway might not be the most exciting of tyres, but they do make up a large percentage of tyres sold in the UK.
ACE have started the year off with their annual touring tyre test, covering 15 tyres in the popular 205/55 R16 size. The test covers a wide range of tyres, including a yet unreleased tyre and a number of budget options.
When Dunlop, a brand primarily associated with motorsport, launch a new tyre it's always worth sitting up and taking note. Dunlop tyres are engineered to offer the highest levels of sporty performance and road holding for those who love driving.
With all this new interest comes a lot of confusion, and there are a few basic questions that come up fairly frequently. "Should I put trackday tyres on my car?", "How much faster is a semi slick over a road tyre", "Will I crash on a trackday tyre at the first sign of rain?". All good questions, but no one seems to have answered them particularly well.
To answer the above we got ourselves a set of road tyres, a set of semi slicks and decided to head to Donington Park on a warm summers morning.
Budget tyres are controversial topic. UK is known to Europe as the "dumping ground" for cheap tyres, and we have a higher percentage of budget tyres fitted to our cars than anywhere else on the Continent.
What does fitting a budget tyre actually mean for you car? Read on for the full article!
It's not often you get the opportunity to try different tyres on identical cars one after the other, so when we were presented with 3 Audi A7's wearing 3 different max performance summer tyres in 255/35 19 there was only one thing on our mind - a subjective handling shootout!