Auto Express has given the WinterContact TS 860 its first UK test win
It’s been a fine start to life for the Continental WinterContact TS 860. In addition to receiving high praise from widely-read German car magazine Auto Bild, which described the winner of its test of 50 winter products as “an exemplary tyre without faults or flaws,” the new Continental winter tyre finished top of the class in its UK tyre test debut. Awarding first place to the WinterContact TS 860, Auto Express declared it a tyre that “delivers a winning blend of wet and dry grip plus fuel efficiency.”
Tyre tester Kim Adams wrote that the victor in its test of eight size 205/55 R16 winter tyres (which were tested together with a summer and an all-season tyre) “will keep you safe on snow, and then it will excel in the wet and on dry roads – exactly the conditions UK drivers will face for much of the winter.”
Continental is understandably thrilled with the result, and comments that this endorsement from Auto Express offers “motoring enthusiasts confidence when looking for their next product purchase.” Scott Benbow, product marketing manager at Continental, comments: “Over the past four years, the ContiWinterContact TS 850 has proved best-in-test in no fewer than 47 comparative tests run by the European trade press, automobile clubs and consumer organisations, making it the most successful Continental winter tyre to date. As Germany’s most experienced winter specialist, this win for the latest Continental WinterContact TS860 is an excellent endorsement for our product range, and commitment to constantly improving performance of our winter tyres.”
Compared with the predecessor tyre, the WinterContact TS 860 is said to display a five per cent improvement when braking on wet wintry roads, and braking distances are four per cent shorter on ice. Continental also reports improvements in snow handling, grip on snow and ride quality. Mileage and rolling resistance are on a par with the TS 850.
These advances, shares Continental, were made possible by combining a new tread compound with a newly-developed tread design. The Cool Chili compound contains a high proportion of silica that reduces braking distances on wet roads due to its special damping characteristics. “The highly flexible polymer matrix brings a noticeable improvement in traction properties on all wintry road surfaces, providing extra grip,” the tyre maker explains. Also new are special high-performance resins that “maintain the flexibility of the compound even at low winter temperatures, leading to shorter braking distances on cold, wet, icy and snow-covered surfaces.”
To enable effective braking even on icy roads, the tyre development engineers at Continental have come up with what they call Liquid Layer Drainage. When braking on ice, a film of water is created under the tread that significantly reduces the tyre’s contact patch with the road. The new technology, incorporating an additional drainage channel moulded into the tread block, allows the water to drain away faster than was previously possible, effectively cutting braking distances on icy roads.
Also new in the directional V-shaped tread is SnowCurve technology with its high-grip 3D groove wall structure. Continental explains the technology as follows: “With an additional groove in the wall of the tread blocks, it increases the meshing effect with the snow compressed in the tread groove to offer greater grip and provide better traction on snow-covered roads.”
Continental’s WinterContact TS 860 is available in retail outlets from autumn 2016. The launch range covers 36 articles in 21 sizes for 14 to 17 inch rims. The tyre scores a C rating in the EU tyre label for rolling resistance and a B rating for wet grip.