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.
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.
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.
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.
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: