Size tested: 245/45 R 17 | Vehicle: Mercedes E-Class
In the past few years budget and mid range brands have taken the tyre market by storm. Tyres like the Falken FK452, Toyo T1R and Uniroyal Rainsport 2 have proven to be excellent performing and cost effective compared to some of the premium offerings. This year however, it seems the premium manufacturers have stepped up a notch and all released excellent updates to their ranges. The 2009 Auto Motor und Sport [AMS] tyre tests was dominated by premium brand tyres and AMS believe premium cars, like the Mercedes E-Class used in this tyre test, should be run with premium tyres.
Most tyre innovations come from the big 6 manufacturers and patents are quickly awarded stopping the budget manufacturers replicating their discoveries. Due to this, AMS decided to test tyres from what it considers to be the "top 10" premium manufacturers. The big 6 are Goodyear, Pirelli, Continental, Dunlop, Bridgestone and Michelin and also included in the test is Uniroyal who are part of Continental, Vredestein which have been recently been bought by the Indian giant Apollo Tires, Nokian who are an independent manufacturer from Finland and Hankook, a Korean "mid range" brand who are quickly moving into the premium sector.
To conduct these tyres AMS used the excellent facility from Goodyear, situated in the south of France. As usual, they tested every aspect of the tyres dry and wet performance across a number of tests, with the data being averaged out over a number of runs.
The results? AMS declare "Hankook sets the new benchmark". It groups with the Pirelli, Dunlop and Continental to win the dry handling tests, while the Michelin, Goodyear, and Uniroyal are in the second group due to a little more understeer with the Bridgestone, Nokian and Vredestein finishing in the 3rd group due to being a little less predictable on the limit. The Hankook also excels in the wet, setting just 47.9 meters to stop from 62mph in the wet, beating the second placed Continental at 50.5 meters.
Here are the full results along with the test comments. To see the full breakdown of scores, please visit the Auto Motor und Sport website linked at the bottom of the page.
Hankook Ventus S1 Evo
Positive: Very good handling and braking on wet and dry, low road noise.
Negative: Relatively high rolling resistance, average aquaplaning behavior.
Total score: 174 out of 200 (Dry 86 / Wet 88)
Goodyear Efficient Grip
Positive: good handling and braking on wet and dry, good ride comfort, low rolling resistance.
Negative: Wet understeer.
Total score: 161 of 200 points (Dry 85 / Wet 76)
Pirelli P7 Cinturato
Positive: Very sporty tires with high steering precision, good handling, low rolling resistance
Negative: Only average braking in wet, moderate aquaplaning properties
Total score: 152 by 200 points (Dry 79 / Wet 73)
Continental Sport Contact 3
Positive: Very good-natured handling on wet and dry, very stable when changing lanes, good wet brake behavior.
Negative: Relatively long stopping distances on dry roads.
Total score: 150 out of 200 points (Dry 71 / Dry 79)
Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT
Positive: Good manageable, sporty handling on wet and dry, high steering precision.
Negative: Braking in wet and dry conditions are not optimal, relatively high rolling resistance.
Total score: 142 by 200 points (Dry 69 / Wet 73)
Nokian Z G2 test result
Positive: Very good-natured temperament and satisfying braking on dry roads, low rolling noise.
Negative: Strong load change reactions in the wet, moderate in aquaplaning.
Total score: 142 by 200 points (Dry 75 / Wet 62)
Michelin Pilot Sport 3
Positive: good-natured handling on wet and dry roads, good aquaplaning properties.
Negative: Poor wet traction, braking only average.
Total score: 137 out of 200 points (Dry 73 / Wet 64)
Uniroyal Rain Sport 2
Positive: good handling on wet roads, excellent aquaplaning properties.
Negative: Wet understeer, only average braking.
Total score: None given
Vredestein Ultrac Sessenta
Positive: good-natured handling on dry roads, less road noise, good aquaplaning properties.
Negative: Strong load change reactions in the wet, average braking.
Total score: 127 by 200 points (Dry 68 / Wet 59)
Bridgestone Potenza RE 050 A
Positive: good-natured, only slightly understeer handling in dry conditions.
Negative: unsatisfactory braking and nervous driving in the wet, relatively high rolling resistance.
Total score: 111 by 200 points (Dry 63 / Wet 48)