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Thanks to recent harsh winters, the best tyre for the UK roads is a hot topic, and with 2013 predicted to be the harshest winter of recent times, now is the time to be swapping tyres.
UK winter tyres need a different blend of abilities to northern Europe winter tyres, with priority being placed on cold wet driving, rather than all out snow and ice grip. We have no need for nordic “full winters”, or studded tyres, and on balance they’d perform worse in our climate.
After testing 50 different winter tyres in wet and snow braking tests, Auto Bild have taken the top 15 performers through to a final shootout. In this super test, they've examined 16 aspects of the tyres performance, including all aspects of their snow performance, wet and dry capabilities and various other tests, such as wear and rolling resistance in 195/65 R15 on a VW Golf.
With the line between all season and winter tyres becoming increasingly blurred, its good that one magazine places all three tyres of tyres in the same test.
This years Auto Bild all season tyre test includes a summer, a winter, and the nine newest all season tyres, and tests them on dry, wet and snowy roads. Using a 195/65 R15 H tyre size, the tyres were tested on the now de facto tyre test car, the Golf 7.
It's been over 10 years since the Uniroyal Rainsport 2 was launched with the firm goal of being the "best in wet". 10 years later and the Rainsport 2 is still putting on a good show in group tests, and getting excellent reviews about the wet weather performance it provides, but its age is starting to show and it's getting slightly bested by modern rivals.
Vredestein have a loyal following in the UK. The Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta is loved by the ultra high performance market, and their Wintrac range of winter tyres are extremely well regarded.
This year they've replaced the Wintrac Xtreme with the Wintrac Xtreme S. Available in all common sizes between 16 and 20 inches, this is certainly a tyre worth checking out if you want to keep your high performance vehicle mobile in ALL conditions.
As usual, the UK magazine Auto Express have waited until October to publish their summer tyre test. While the timing of such an article is a little curious, the test itself is excellent.
Auto Express have tested ten different patterns in the extremely popular tyre size 225/45 R17. Using a VW Golf 7, Auto Express put the tyres through the usual range of wet, dry, noise and fuel tests, and for the first time in over a decade returned to to Goodyears test track in the south of France.
A few years ago, testing a 255/55 R18 tyre on a Porsche Cayenne would have been classed as a niche, but with the rise of the "Chelsea tractors" using larger and larger tyre sizes, 255/55 R18 is now a common size.
As this is a Finnish test, the main parameter during this 2013 test of summer tires wet traction, which is useful for those of us in the UK. The stopping distance on wet roads gives a fairly good idea of how well the manufacturer has tuned the rubber composition, design, construction and tread pattern.
The newly released Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002 takes Bridgestone in a new direction. Previously Bridgestone tyres have been designed with OE fitment in mind, where grip, steering feel and wear have been compromised by OE requirements such as rolling resistance, noise and comfort. The new Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002 hasn't been aimed at OE fitment, it's a purely aftermarket tyre designed for driving enthusiasts.
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
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.
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.
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.