Launched in 2007, the P Zero has gone through a number of lifecycle updates, but the tread has always remained the distinctive P Zero pattern.
Not wanting to make things simple, the new P Zero has been launched in not one, but two new tread patterns, one designed for luxury saloons, and one for sports cars. As you would expect, the sports car version of the tyre targets prestigious OE manufacturers such as Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini and BMW //M division, and the luxury saloon version regular high end marques, such as Audi and BMW.
The sports car version of the tyre has larger tread blocks on the outer shoulder to offer improved dry handling and lateral stability, while the outer shoulder of the luxury saloon version is designed in a way to improve comfort, reduce noise and offer better lateral aquaplaning resistance.
Only the sports car version of the P Zero will be available to buy without any OE mark, the luxury saloon version of the tyre will all be vehicle specific.
The new P Zero improves the outgoing tyre in several key areas. The old P Zero was already an excellent maximum performance road tyre which gave excellent handling and grip,but sometimes wasn't the most comfortable, economical, or best wearing tyre in its class.
The new P Zero specifically targets noise, rolling resistance, weight and wet braking improvements to ensure performance and driving pleasure is improved in all areas.
With the new P Zero, Pirelli are investing a lot of time customising the tyre for different OE requirements, to ensure the new P Zero performs flawlessly on every OE fitment they have. At launch, the new P Zero has over 60 homologations with Pirelli looking to increase the number quickly over the next year.
The new P Zero has several new technologies. New underlayer compounds are designed to improve handling and rolling resistance, innovative polymers with "advanced mechanical properties" help with wet and dry grip, and the new tread pattern has deeper longitudinal grooves to help improve aquaplaning resistance.
To improve driving feel and enjoyment, Pirelli have included F1 bead technology derived from lessons learnt in Formula 1. This is a particularly rigid compound the bead area that allows the tyre to transmit steering forces more directly to the road, offering improved steering response and feel.
The new tyre also boasts an 80% silica compound, which helps with wet grip, wear, and lowers the rolling resistance by of the new P Zero by 15%
To launch the P Zero to the UK, Pirelli invited TyreReviews to Silverstone to try the new product on a range of fast Audis.
On the day we had the opportunity to test the new P Zero on the Audi RS3, TTS and R8 V10+.
On each car, the new P Zero performed flawlessly, offering excellent grip, a good balance, communicative steering, and when pushed past the limit, a controllable progressive slide, without the tyre overheating.
The new P Zero might have the same name as the outgoing tyre, but it has been improved in almost every way. We'll be very interested to see how the new tyre performs in magazine group tests, as it should be able to give the likes of Continental, Goodyear and Michelin a real push for the top spot.