If you know about tyres, you will be a fan of Nokian Tyres. The Finnish company are almost a cult classic in the UK, thanks to an extremely strong all season and winter tyre range. With the new Nokian PowerProof and WetProof, Nokian hopes to extend that performance to its summer tyre range.
Around five years ago Nokian Tyres released the Line touring tyre, and zLine UHP tyre which took the battle to premium manufacturers such as Michelin, Goodyear and Continental. The Line range was comprised of capable, rounded summer tyres which delivered excellent wet grip and handling. Sadly, over the past five years, the competition has moved on and the Nokian summer range hadn't. Until now.
The two latest tyres the company has just released, the Nokian WetProof in the premium touring segment, and the Nokian PowerProof in the ultra-high performance / maximum performance segment, promise to take that fight back to the current market leaders, such as the Michelin Pilot Sport 4.
In order to develop these completely new tyres, Nokian have been back to the drawing board. First, they surveyed a wide range of tyre shoppers across Europe to find the key qualities for the new tyre, and found that wet and dry grip, stability, low wear and low noise were the highest priority for the majority of drivers.
The new tyres have been in development for four years, and after countless hours of computer simulations, over 130 prototype patterns and over one million miles of road testing, Nokian Tyres are confident the new WetProof and PowerProof will once again be class leading.
To achieve the targets set, both new tyres have what Nokian call the “dual zone safety concept”. This splits the tread into an outer “power zone” which offers excellent grip and stiffness for cornering, with the inner part of the tyre the “wet safety zone”, keeping the tyre in contact with the road and gripping well, in all conditions.
The power zone includes a new shoulder profile, firm tread blocks and sloped grooved design ensure the tyre delivers excellent grip and steering precision, while the inner wet safety zone has a new tread design and polished grooves to allow for rapid water clearance.
To test the new WetProof and PowerProof, Tyre Reviews was invited to South Portugal, to the incredible Portimao circuit. Unfortunately, during the day there wasn't a comparison tyre available, so driving impressions of the two new tyre patterns are limited, but the PowerProof proved to have an excellent blend of quietness, comfort and steering precision when driven on a varied road route using a Mercedes E Class, all while offering excellent steering response and grip when pushed hard on track, using a heavy, powerful Audi RS5.
Both new tyres have also been independently tested by TUV SUD. The PowerProof was tested against the Continental Sport Contact 5, Dunlop SportMaxx RT2, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 and Pirelli P Zero PZ4 SC, and the WetProof tested against Continental Premiumcontact 5, Dunlop Sp Fast Response, Goodyear Efficientgrip Performance, Michelin Primacy 4, Pirelli Cinturato P7. Both tyres beat the average of the competitors in dry and wet braking, subjective dry and wet handling, and interior noise (TUV report 713135118 for full details)
All in all, this is a much needed, and exciting update for the Nokian summer tyre range, and the two new tyres have huge potential. Tyre Reviews will be performing a 19" tyre test next year, and the new Nokian PowerProof will almost certainly be included!
The Nokian PowerProof will be initially available in 51 sizes from 17 to 20 inches, and the smaller WetProof 46 sizes covering 14 to 20 inches. Both tyres will be available in the UK in Spring 2019.