2012 Auto Zeitung Winter Tyre Test

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.

A Past Champion Reborn

This year Continental have replaced the dominant Continental ContiWinterContact TS 830 with their latest offering, the Winter Contact TS 850, and it once again finds itself in the top spot. No matter what the surface, the TS850 offers a remarkable level of grip, precision and safety, while still managing to score strongly on the new EU tyre label.

The best performance on snow came from the Finnish experts, Nokian, while Pirelli took the top honours in the slush test.

The Results

Continental WinterContact TS 8501st: Continental WinterContact TS 850
  1. Total: 388
  2. Dry: 125
  3. Wet: 129
  4. Snow: 134
Dry: Safe, fast and effecient. Overall the most balance and best tyre on dry roads
Wet: Precise handling and excellent results in both aquaplaning tests
Snow: Best traction, short stopping distances. Average in the slush
Overall: The new TS 850 from Continental is balance and extremely safe to drive on

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Nokian WR D32nd: Nokian WR D3
  1. Total: 370
  2. Dry: 115
  3. Wet: 114
  4. Snow: 141
Dry: Strong slalom result but not as strong in high speed bends. Very quiet
Wet: Prononced understeer in the wet, but excellent braking performance
Snow: The Nokian WR D3 is the snow expert. Enormous amounts of grip in braking, traction and turning
Overall: With the top snow performance, the Nokian secures second overall

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Goodyear UltraGrip 83rd: Goodyear UltraGrip 8
  1. Total: 361
  2. Dry: 110
  3. Wet: 123
  4. Snow: 128
Dry: Excellent braking in the dry, but fairly noisy
Wet: The UG8 shines in the wet with good steering response
Snow: Strong traction, good handling, strong braking
Overall: With a strong result in all 3 tests, the Goodyears excellent balance results in 3rd place

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Dunlop SP WinterSport 4D4th: Dunlop SP WinterSport 4D
  1. Total: 360
  2. Dry: 114
  3. Wet: 117
  4. Snow: 129
Dry: Average rolling resistance, but sporty handling and good braking make up for that
Wet: Mid pack aquaplaning results, but a strong wet handling with good steering precision
Snow: The Dunlop is agile and safe, quck turning, predictable on the brakes and good traction in the snow
Overall: A sporty agile tyre with excellent resuilts in all tests, bar aquaplaning

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Michelin Alpin A45th: Michelin Alpin A4
  1. Total: 352
  2. Dry: 115
  3. Wet: 115
  4. Snow: 122
Dry: The Michelin has a quick dry time, but is slow to steer and average in the slalom
Wet: Good aquaplaning resistance, but average handling and braking in the wet
Snow: Good traction and braking, but slightly imbalanced on quick load changes
Overall: The Michelin Alpin A4 is a good all rounder with predictable handling

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Pirelli Winter Snow Control Series 36th: Pirelli Winter Snow Control Series 3
  1. Total: 348
  2. Dry: 108
  3. Wet: 122
  4. Snow: 118
Dry: Longest stopping distance in the dry, but quick in the slalom and a high level of dry grip when turning
Wet: Weak aquaplaning result, but safe and precise steering to the limit of wet grip. Short wet braking
Snow: Moderate snow traction, poor understeer when turning but good underbraking and on slush
Overall: The Pirelli Snow Control Series 3 is strong in the wet and good on slush

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Vredestein Snowtrac 37th: Vredestein Snowtrac 3
  1. Total: 342
  2. Dry: 109
  3. Wet: 113
  4. Snow: 120
Dry: Another quick time in the dry, but a lack of precision and balance meant you worked very hard to achieve it
Wet: Good aquaplaning result but poor wet braking
Snow: Average snow braking, and while the lap times are reasonable on the clock, you need an increased use of driving skills
Overall: The Vredestein Snow Trac 3 is stronger in the snow than it is in the dry or wet

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Bridgestone Blizzak LM328th: Bridgestone Blizzak LM32
  1. Total: 323
  2. Dry: 107
  3. Wet: 111
  4. Snow: 105
Dry: Poor rolling resistance but strong dry braking and very quiet. Sluggish in the handling tests
Wet: Long braking distances and sluggish handling characterise the Bridgestone in the wet. Tends to understeer. Excellent aquaplaning result
Snow: The Blizzak doesn't offer much grip on the snow, but is much better in the slush
Overall: Excellent in standing water and slush, the Bridgestone is comparatively poor in the dry and the wet

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