Long term test - Bridgestone RE040

Data - 06 350z
  • Tyre Size: 225/45 18 front. 245/45 18 rear.
  • Miles Driven: 15,000 all conditions
  • Final Status: Rears near limit, fronts 5mm
Data - 06 Civic Type R (ep3)
  • Tyre Size: 205/45 17
  • Miles Driven: 7,000
  • Final Status: Fronts replaced, rears 7mm.

Introduction

Welcome to tyrereviews.co.uks first long term test - the Bridgestone RE040.

We chose to start with the RE040 for a number of reasons. The first, it's the OEM tyre for a large number of vehicles meaning many readers will be interested in how it performs comparatively to other brands come time of replacement. Secondly, it's designed to be a good all round tyre, not specific to track use or snow which gives us a good starting point for the site and finally, and most importantly, it was already fitted to two of our test mules (the Nissan 350z and the Honda Civic Tyre R) as we were in the planning stages of 12 months ago.

This being our first long term review expect to see the format revised and polished in the coming months, we certainly don't expect to get it right the first time! Any suggestions for this type of review can be sent to the usual address.

Tyre Profile:

The RE040 is a mid range all season high performance tyre from the Japanese manufacturer Bridgestone. As part of the Potenza range it is aimed at "high powered sports cars" and an OEM tyre for a huge number of vehicles. Above it in the range is the RE050 and the S03 and below it is the touring and comfort line Turanza.

Technologies:

The RE040 has a unidirectional jointless construction and is designed with what Bridgestone call "super slant technology". If we dig through the marketing speak this simply means there are clear water paths from the centre of the tyre to the outside of the tread (as with most tyres) offering improved standing water dispersion.

Review

Where do we start? One type of tyre, two different cars and we've ended up with an interesting review. We've found some very close resemblances to the behaviour between the two vehicles and also some areas that differ more than we'd expected.

For daily driving the dry weather grip is near faultless. The real beauty of the RE040 isn't the outright grip of the tyre, there are tyres with far better road holding, it's how it lets you access the available grip. In both cars the RE040 gave superb steering feedback thanks largely to its stiff sidewalls which allows you to feel exactly how hard the front tyres are working as they feedback their dance to the steering wheel and onto your hands. They turn sharp and turn hard with minimal delay as the blocks deform from your first input to full slip angle being obtained. Should you happen to go over the limit, which you often end up doing in cars like the 350z or Civic Type R, the tyres break away gradually and progressively. If the front decides to push wide you feel it instantly as a slight lift in the resistance to the wheel but even as they slide you instinctively know when and where the grip is so can adjust your steering and throttle control to counter. The Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres we bolted to the Civic after these, an excellent tyre in itself with more outright grip in both the dry and wet felt comparatively numb and weren't as confidence inspiring.

Wet weather performance is another matter. We can't quite understand how these tyres suffer so much as they lift water and resist aquaplaning admirably. They just refuse to build up any temperature, especially if the road is cold and damp and when the rubber is cold the compound really doesn't want to work with the tarmac. This results in a tyre that breaks away from under you extremely easily and quickly, quite often when you're not really expecting it and left us with a very snappy (albeit entertaining) Civic Type R that snapped from power understeer to lift off oversteer. Fortunately the same feedback and progressive slide once traction is broken is still a feature but on the open roads we really don't want to be sliding in the first place. The 350z pretty much lived on traction control if you tried to push on over winter and if you dared to turn it off you spent more time being afraid to power on around a bend than actually driving.

Now, that's the similarities, onto the differences. Number one is wear. Had we just tested the tyre on one car as originally planned we'd have come up with two totally different conclusions depending on which vehicle we used.

In the Civic Type R, which we admit has a bit of a reputation for eating it's tyres, the two fronts were on the legal limit 6900 miles from new with no trackdays done. In the 350z we expected the same to happen to our rear tyres as it's a much heavier car with another 100bhp on the Civic but come 15,000 miles the rears still weren't on the blocks even with the odd impromptu drift session! On both cars the non driven wheels (rears on the Civic and fronts on the Z) were still in good condition once the driven end was finished.

Being a little confused by this we headed off to the respective owners clubs and found a similar situation, people moaning how quickly the fronts wear out on the Type R and other impressed with the RE040s life on the 350z. After a bit more digging we've come to the conclusion the ep3 Civic Type R really is a tyre eater and the RE040's durability is actually good. This also falls in line with the harder compound means longer life rational.

Conclusion

The Bridgestone RE040 is a strong dry performer letdown by it's inability to warm up in cold wet conditions. It provides excellent feedback through the steering and is extremely progressive once the limit of traction has been reached.

While not the most comfortable tyre in it's segment it was designed with comfort in mind and quieter than some other sports tyres. The tyre wears excellently if driven with respect and we have seen reports of over 40,000 miles to a set.

Dry Grip:
+ Quickly warmup, lots of feedback, very progressive when limit of grip passed
- Not as much outright grip as some tyres

Wet Grip:
+ Progressive sides, aquaplane resistant.
- Very low levels of grip, especially in greasy conditions where you can't get any heat into the tyres

Comfort:
- Moderate noise, stiff sidewalls resulting in hard ride

Cost:
- Better tyres on the market for the cost
  • 7
  • 4
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6

Read user reviews of the Bridgestone RE040




Discussion:

comments powered by Disqus

Comments:

I've used these tyres on 2 Ford Mondeos, one using 225/45 17 tyres on a Titanium Hatch Back and the 235/40 18 tyres on a Titanium X Saloon.
The 17 diameter tyres lasted 32K miles on the FRONT axle - nearly all motorway driving - (say 80%) and the rear tyres had about 10K left after 38K miles.

On the 18 diameter tyres the front one lasted 20K admittedly only 50% driving on motorways and the rest in town / A/B roads. The rears are approximately half worn at 20K miles.

Grip on cold roads is not good at +2deg C to -2deg C - drive in straight lines only. Below that they grip fine and above that range they also grip fine. They tend to 'wander' over white lines and uneven surfaces which can be scary at times, especially when temperatures are between +2deg C and -2deg C. They hate snow, and not very good at dispersing rain water at motorway speeds - again scary if you need to stop abruptly. I'm dowing these tyres but they probably are quite good in comparison to others, which I've not yet tried.
Posted at 2010-03-06 00:31:13 | Was this comment helpful? Please login to vote
Have these on a 231 RX8 and the fronts have done 27k and the rears 16k, which i think is very good mileage. Very good grip in the wet when they are warm but useless when cold and especially poor when the tread has worn down. I have gone over to sessanta's and found then excellent in the wet
Posted at 2009-01-28 21:45:21 | Was this comment helpful? Please login to vote
We have these on our RX8 PZ The OE rears lasted 11,000 the second set 10,500. The fronts are about half worn.
Posted at 2008-12-15 15:46:01 | Was this comment helpful? Please login to vote
Advertisement