2012 Auto Bild Sports Winter Tyre Test

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.

To test this, Auto Bild took six of the sportiest winter tyres in 225/40 R18 and put them through the usual selection of tough tests. On test were three tyres we recommended in this years winter tyre buying guide, two of which had yet to be tested at the time of writing, so we're relived to see them finishing in the top three positions!

The Results

The new performance winter tyre from Goodyear, the Goodyear Ultragrip 8 Performance (which replaced the Goodyear Ultragrip Performance 2) narrowly beat the new Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 for the top spot thanks to a broader all round performance, with the mid ranged Nokian WR A3 following closely in third, slightly behind the Michelin on the snow and comfort scores, but with a very strong dry weather performance.

Dunlop lost out slightly, ending in fourth place with the WinterSport 4D. This way largely thanks to slightly weaker wet braking than the top three, while Pirelli finished in fifth place due to an average performance in both the dry and wet.

The budget Nankang Snow SV2 was the only tyre to be not recommended. While it performed reasonably in the dry, its wet performance suffered with imbalanced handling and a lack of grip, especially during wet braking and the snow tests.

Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance1st: Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance
Total: 42 / Dry: 7 / Wet: 6 / Snow: 8 / Comfort: 5 / Rolling Resistance: 7 / Noise: 9
Positive: Winter tires of the highest class with the best grip and excellent traction on snow-covered slopes, balanced safe handling qualities in all weather conditions, good directional stability and steering response, low road noise
Negative: None
Overall: Exemplary

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Michelin Pilot Alpin 42nd: Michelin Pilot Alpin 4
Total: 41 / Dry: 6 / Wet: 6 / Snow: 9 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 7 / Noise: 6
Positive: Wwinter tire with excellent performance on snow, stable handling qualities in both wet and dry conditions, precise steering response and good feedback, short wet braking distances, good ride comfort
Negative: None
Overall: Exemplary

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Nokian WR A33rd: Nokian WR A3
Total: 40 / Dry: 7 / Wet: 6 / Snow: 8 / Comfort: 4 / Rolling Resistance: 9 / Noise: 6
Positive: Good handling on snowy, wet and dry roads, stable cornering and precise steering response, short wet and dry braking distances , low fuel consumption
Negative: Average comfort
Overall: Exemplary

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Dunlop SP WinterSport 4D4th: Dunlop SP WinterSport 4D
Total: 42 / Dry: 6 / Wet: 6 / Snow: 7 / Comfort: 7 / Rolling Resistance: 7 / Noise: 9
Positive: Short stopping distances and stable running on snow, high safety reserves with aquaplaning, dynamic wet handling, low road noise
Negative: Slightly prolonged wet and dry braking distances
Overall: Satisfactory

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Pirelli Sottozero Serie II5th: Pirelli Sottozero Serie II
Total: 34 / Dry: 5 / Wet: 5 / Snow: 8 / Comfort: 5 / Rolling Resistance: 5 / Noise: 6
Positive: Winter professional with impressive driving on snowy path, good aquaplaning properties
Negative: Slightly prolonged wet and dry braking distances, tendency to understeer on wet track, increased rolling resistance
Overall: Satisfactory

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Nankang SV26th: Nankang SV2
Total: 30 / Dry: 6 / Wet: 3 / Snow: 4 / Comfort: 3 / Rolling Resistance: 6 / Noise: 8
Positive: Stable handling in dry conditions, quiet pass-by noise
Negative: Poor understeering handling on wet and snow-covered track, dangerously extended braking distances on wet roads, poor comfort
Overall: Not recommended

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