Here at TyreReviews we often get asked what modifications are made to OE marked homologated tyres, such as * for BMW, N for Porsche, MO for Mercedes and AO for Audi.
While the homologation process can take up to three years and involve numerous tests and changes, usually we have to give the very general answer of "stuff" as the data isn't made publically available. Thanks to Pirelli, we can now offer a simplified insight as to what changes major vehicle manufacturers have requested for the new Pirelli P Zero during the OE homologation approval process.
The new P Zero is available in three version, the P Zero (Luxury Saloon) which is only available as an OE marked tyre, the P Zero (Sports Car) which is both OE approved and in the aftermarket channels, and the P Zero Corsa, which is OE approved for super cars. Full information on the new P Zero can be found in our launch report.
The new P Zero (Luxury Saloon) is aimed at premium family cars, such as the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E Class. As the chart below shows, the new P Zero (Luxury Saloon) has improved on the outgoing tyre in almost every area, with big gains made in aquaplaning, rolling resistance, comfort, nose and wear, while still improving dry and wet handling.
Even with all these improvements, the OE manufacturers demand further changes to the tyre before approving the tyre for OE fitment. Below are some of the major manufacturers' changes to the P Zero Luxury Saloon version of the tyre.
Audi requested improvements in rolling resistance, noise and mileage.
BMW, known to be a more dynamic drive than Audi, asked for improvements in dry handling, wet handling and a further reduction in tyre weight to reduce unsprung mass and improve wheel control.
Mercedes have chosen safety, economy and comfort improvements for their version of the P Zero Luxury Saloon tyre.
The P Zero (Sports Car) is aimed at performance vehicles such as Mercedes C63 AMG, BMW M3 and Porsche 911. The Sports Car version of the tyre improves on the outgoing P Zero with a slightly different balance, as it offers smaller improvements in comfort, mileage and wear when compared to the P Zero (Luxury Saloon) version of the tyre, but has bigger gains in laptime, dry grip, wet grip and braking.
AMG have further tuned this tyre to improve the dry handling, driving consistency and lateral aquaplaning
Were as BMWs ///M Performance Division have focused on laptime, weight, and straight aquaplaning performance.
The unique usability and balance of the 911 has demanded improvements in dry handling, braking and rolling resistance.
The final new tyre in the range is the P Zero Corsa, which is aimed firmly at super car marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren. When compared to the original P Zero, it pushes the game even further in laptime, dry handling, wet handling and braking, but the OE manufacturers still have modification requests.
Ferrari being Ferrari, have demanded even more improvements in laptime, dry handling and consistency when driving hard.
Lamborghini are slightly less concerned with ultimate lap time of the tyre, but have improved the wet handling and rolling resistance.
McLaren, like Ferrari asked for dry handling and laptime improvements, but instead of consistency, they improved the noise levels for their version of the P Zero Corsa.