while driving a
Volkswagen Golf GTI
(225/45 R17) on
mostly country roads
This year I took the plunge and bought a set of WR A4s despite the lack of online reviews. I was attracted by its assymetrical design and overall inclination towards wet&dry conditions, as Romania only has snow for about two-three weeks a year. After driving a few hundred miles with them on my Mk5 GTI, I have to say they match the character of the car very well.
I have to start by saying these didn't give me the impression of an expensive premium tyre without drawbacks, but I think they are a good choice for people who drive fast and/or have "sporty" cars.
In terms of grip there is nothing bad to say about them, I've driven on both dry and wet roads (no ice/snow yet) and they had no problems coping with some very spirited driving. I enjoyed my car both in high-speed driving on mountain roads and under heavy rain with these tires. The best thing about them is that they made the balance of the car very pleasant, as it has moved from heavy, eeek, horrible, hateful understeer to a small amount of safe FWD understeer which can be easily overcome if you know what you're doing. Back to the Nokians: as they are winter tyres, they are very soft when compared to a summer tyre (local temperatures are at about 5-10 degrees Celsius) and this results in the chassis having a lot of small movements from the tyre flex. At first you think this isn't a good thing for a sporty car, but it turned out to be a lot of fun without affecting stability or road feeback. Of course, this softness also increases the roll in corners, but it also makes the car become very progressive. I'd say in the dry and wet they are very good indeed for a winter tyre.
Except the extra tyre flex, the only drawback so far is the extra noise compared to my summer tyres (Dunlop Sport Maxx RT). This might be or might not be related to my wheel alignment; I'm saying this because I didn't hear as much tyre drone at constant speed, as I heard a high-pitch sound when applying torque (accelerating) to the tyres at speed. This also varies with the surface you're driving on, but overall these are definitely not the least "vocal" winter tyres out there.
Overall I am very satisfied with the performances of these tires. They aren't the most silent and they are quite soft at higher temperatures. However, having good road feedback and grip, allowing some little movements of the chassis thus making the car more playful and having a good balance between understeer and oversteer, make me recommend these tyres to anyone passionate about spirited driving.
These might be one of the best choices for spirited driving in countries with changing weather, except the expensive premium options (of which there is a complete lack in this size). The WR A4s are fun and they give you confidence, the most important two things for a hot hatch like a GTI. I'm waiting for the snow to hit Romania to see how they handle the white stuff.
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while driving a
BMW 535d M Sport
(225/55 R17 V) on
a combination of roads
Car BMW F10, 520 and 535. Have had various winter tyres on BM's over 10 years, used in the Scottish Highlands and Europe, and daily winter) in the midland. Previous tyres before settling on these: Continental 810, 830, GoodYear UG 2, UG Gen1 and Nokian A3. The worst of them by far, that resulted in tests by Garages and BMW were the GY Gen 1 - I strongly suggest you do Not buy these for a BMW 5 series, GY techical 'support' were absolutely no use, other than saying by BMW '*', the nokians aren't '*' are are 100% fine. The GY UG2 were a good tyre for cold and wet but no where near as good as the Nokians in real winter/snow conditions.
The only draw back is the 535 can wear them a little quickly, but out of all the aforementioned tyres for real wintery weather, cold, snow, slush, wet they are a very good tyre, so much so I will be replacing with the same tyres for next winter.
Fitted these Nokian to suit my driving style as well as the harsh conditions in winter. I was amazed by the dry grip to start with, no spin even on full throttle, which is handy when the weather is around 10°C and not really winterish. Very stable at speed, so quiet that you could fall asleep. No increase in fuel consumption. In the wet, it is about the same, good handling, stopping distance and acceleration. Snow handling is just the best. Having a FWD, good tyres are required. What I really liked was that when the roads are not maintained, you don't have a puncture each time you drive over a pothole which was the case with my previous winter tyres as they were too soft. The price is a bit on the heavy side, but if I had to drive a lot in winter, I would not hesitate once to invest. But that will be in 5yrs+ now for me, and I'm sure Nokian will have figured how to design an even greater tyre in the meantime.
Trying to pick the very best winter tyre? Watch this!
while driving a
(215/45 R17 V) on
mostly country roads
I first bought half a set of WR A4s in late 2016 as the original Goodyear I got with the car were a bit worn and slidy. Being on my second RWD car I knew that good tires are a must if you don't want to slide into a ditch boot first at the first sight of adverse weather.
On my old Supra I had older Michelin Alpin tires for the winter, but having a few friends running their RWD coupes ont the old WR A3 I went for Nokian, even though I don't usually get much snow.
After a first test where I had to cross a mountain with the old Goodyears at the front and the new Nokians at the back in fresh snow at 1 in the morning, I decided that a full set was necessary.
I've been running a full set of WR A4s since 2017.
The result has been overwhelimingly positive.
As general information : the car is an old Lexus IS200 sedan, RWD manual, no LSD, about 1400kg. Summer tires are a set of Michelin PS4 in 225/18"
Dry grip isn't as good as with the summer tires, but when changing my wheels when the temperature drops, I can feel right away that I'm getting some grip and control back (in temps under 7°c).
Wet grip is good, and I'd say better than with classic symetric patterns. Lateral grip is great in the wet, which stops your rear tires slipping around when going up and down hills and mountains.
Snow grip is perfect. I've driven in snow deep enough that my bumpers scraped the top, and with just the help of snow mode and a light touch on the throttle, the car just chugged along up and down hills at 6 in the morning before the snowplow could get there. Never had to park the car at the bottom of the road like my neighbours.
Ice I haven't crossed yet.
Of course comfort is upgraded by switching from 18" in the summer to 17 in the winter.
They don't wear too fast, and the mileage on my car doesn't change much between them and the Pilot Sports.
The asymetric pattern makes them easy to rotate to even the wear, which means they will wear more slowly in western Europe where roundabouts are everywhere.
The asymetric pattern also makes them look pretty sexy compared to the run-of-the-mill symetric winter tire.
The price is also usually pretty low for a performance winter tire.
The main downside I have found with owning them over multiple years is that they don't like warmth at all, and require a pressure check even before you fit them back in autumn. Mine tend to deflate during the summer months while they're in storage. But once filled back up, they don't require more pressure checks than your average winter tire.
In conclusion, I can't talk to those tires on a FWD car, but if you own a RWD coupé or sports sedan, they are absolutely worth the (little) money you'll pay.
(225/50 R17) on
I had Michelin A4 & A5 before for winter tyres but this ones outperform them.
This year we had a lot of snow and not for even one moment they let me down! It's nice when you pass with a smile by smaller SUV who is "struggling" in the snow.
From now only Nokian for a winter tyres.
Having gone from a summer UHP tyre of the same size exactly i feel this review would be most helpful to those people doing the same as most people I have spoken to have a different size wheel and tyre combination during summer to those fitted in winter.
I purposely looked for a winter tyre I could fit to the exact same wheel size with the exact same ratios. The Nokian was the only available tyre, the tyre had a tad less grip on all surfaces for the first few hundred miles that I have put down to any oils and compounds used to separate the tyres from the moulds when initially made, however after time this has passed and the tyre behaves and stops well and so far I have very little complaints, I'm sure if driven hard in either wet or cold conditions the tyre would reach limits quicker than the summer tyre normally fitted would, however in the very cold the tyre does seem to grip well with very little wheel spin on acceleration.
It could be all in my head, but i do feel as if the behaviour of the tyres also improves with colder weather, an example been that traction and road holding on cambered roads and rounder-bouts seems better when the temperature is bellow 7 degrees than it would be approaching 10 degrees. I would like to think that come snow I should be in a better position commuting on these tyres than I would be on the Bridgestone S001 summer tyres usually fitted and so far have yet to see any characteristics of this tyre that come across as unsafe, unpredictable or scary.
That's not to say I would necessarily drive this car with these tyres on winter roads the same way I would with UHP tyres in good summer weather.