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.
Don't forget to visit the Auto Express website, or pick up a copy of issue 1284 for the full results.
|1st: Continental Sport Contact 5|
Overall: The new ContiSportContact 5 scored an overall first place, by a small margin. During wet braking, the Conti was class leading, with the nearest rival requiring on average more than 3 metres to stop, and it repeated its strength in dry braking, winning the test. Scoring only sixth on both the wet and dry handling circuits, the Conti might not be the sportiest tyre on test, but a strong aquaplaning result and third in rolling resistance means a well deserved overall test win for Continental.
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|2nd: Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3|
Overall: Another old pattern on test, the Michelin seems to have fared better than the Pirelli and matched its 2010 and 2011 results, placing second overall. Winning both the aquaplaning tests the Michelin was extremely strong in all wet tests, fast during wet handling with the only criticism aimed towards the front end bite. The PS3 struggled a little in the dry where it lacked sharpness, but it held on well enough for a fifth place. A quiet tyre, the Pilot Sport 3 struggled a little in rolling resistance but overall placed extremely well. A good tyre.
|3rd: Dunlop SportMaxx RT|
Overall: The best rolling resistance on test and the second quietest cabin noise seems at odds with Dunlops "sporty" image, but that's what the new Sport Maxx RT achieved. A second place in dry braking was a strong result, but during dry handling the Dunlop lacked a little sharpness and required a lot of steering lock to get it turned, finished eighth fastest. The Dunlops biggest problem was in the wet. While it finished third and fourth in the aquaplaning tests, the RT lacked front end bite during wet handling and washed out wide on the throttle. An overall third.
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|4th: Hankook Ventus S1 evo2|
Overall: The midrange Korean brands are finally making progress towards the premium, with a strong showing from Hankook with the Ventus S1 evo2. A string of top three results in the wet really shows how well the tyre has been developed, only being let down by wet cornering. Like the Goodyear, the Hankook found it hard to match the best tyres in the dry, giving up grip earlier than the competition, and while it was the quietest tyre on test, it could only place sixth in the rolling resistance tests.
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|4th: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2|
Overall: Joint fourth place may seem like a strong finish, but this is the worst placed finish the aging Asymmetric 2 has ever achieved. The Goodyear is one of the most efficient choices placing a close second in the rolling resistance test and was nice and quiet in the cabin, but it struggled a little on the dry handling circuit with understeer and sharpness. It fared better in wet handling, where the understeer was neutralised and the grip strong under acceleration. Fifth place aquaplaning results leaves the Goodyear fourth overall.
|6th: Yokohama Advan Sport V105|
Overall: It's clear to see Yokos sporty roots with the new Advan V105, it is the handling king, winning wet handling and coming second in dry handling, proving you don't have to trade wet performance for a good dry time. The car felt planted and grippy in both the wet and the dry, and you could get on the power early. Where the the V105 struggled was aquaplaning, noise and rolling resistance, finishing far down the tables in all three tests, leaving the Advan V105 sixth overall.
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|7th: Bridgestone Potenza S001|
Overall: The noisiest tyre on test, and ninth place in wet handling is not what you'd expect from a premium manufacturer like Bridgestone, though they are currently working on new developments to improve these scores. The S001 scored much better in the aquaplaning tests, finishing above average, and in the dry handling tests it felt sharp and grippy with a strong fourth fastest time overall.
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|8th: Vredestein Ultrac Vorti|
Overall: The new Vorti is the dry handling master with the fastest lap time, and a sharp sporty feel and good balance. Unfortunately Vredestein seem to have traded dry performance for wet, as the tyre lacked overall balance on the wet circuit, finishing seventh. More worryingly the new Vorti could only manage ninth in the wet braking test, needing an average of seven meters longer to stop than the test winning Conti. Poor rolling resistance scores for a new tyre and only mid table noise figures leaves the Vorty in eighth position overall.
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|9th: Pirelli P Zero|
Overall: Ninth place for the P Zero, test winner in 2008, shows how quickly the premium tyres develop. The P Zero still felt planted in the wet with no rear movement, and scored well in wet braking and cornering, but finished extremely poorly in the aquaplaning tests, placing ninth and last in curved and straight aquaplaning respectively. In the dry the car felt stable and well balanced, but it was only sixth fastest and finished ninth in dry braking. Noisy and high rolling resistance meant Pirelli could only manage ninth, behind much cheaper rivals.
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|10th: GT Radial Champiro HPY|
Overall: The Chinese GT Radial is the cheapest tyre on test, saving you around £100 over a premium rival. As usual, the savings come at an expense - wet handling, though at around 10% off the best tyre on test this is closer than budget tyres have been in the past. In the dry the GT Radial was a little better, just a second off on the dry handling circuit with a sharp, sporty turn in, but still needed nearly three meters further to stop the car under dry braking.