From exemplary to not recommended: Auto Bild Sportscars tyre test
Tyres are black and round, but a shared shape and colour doesn’t mean all tyres perform the same. This truth was readily apparent in this year’s summer tyre test from Auto Bild Sportscars. The German magazine for sport and performance car fans evaluated nine size 235/35 R19 tyres. One of its aims in doing so was to reveal “dangerous beguilers” amongst the many models on the market today. What it found amongst the tested tyres was performance ranging from ‘exemplary’ to ‘not recommended’.
First place went to the Continental SportContact 6, a tyre the Auto Bild Sportscars testers considered virtually free from shortcomings. The only complaint regarding the SportContact 6, which demonstrated good handling characteristics and safety reserves, was the detection of a “light weakness when measuring rolling resistance.” The Continental tyre was rated ‘exemplary’.
Two further tyres delivered sufficient performance to warrant an ‘exemplary’ rating. These are the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo² and the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3. Once again, very little in the way of weaknesses were found in these tyres – the Hankook rubber showed a “tendency to understeer” while the Goodyear tyre displayed “light understeer in the wet.” Apart from these foibles, the pair were well-balanced performers, with the Ventus S1 Evo² doing slightly better in the dry than the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3.
A good performance was also delivered by the Falken Azenis FK510, the only tyre to receive a ‘recommended’ rating. Although the Auto Bild Sportscars testers drew attention to a slight delay in steering response and mediocre ride comfort, they described the Falken tyre as a “balanced sport talent with a short stopping distance on wet surfaces” and balanced wet handling characteristics, dynamic dry handling together with precise, responsive cornering performance and, last but not least, an affordable purchase price.
A trio of tyres – the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2, Pirelli P Zero and Kumho Ecsta PS91 – were rated ‘satisfactory’. The Dunlop tyre left the competition in its wake in the wet, however it was held back from a better result by “delayed steering response and limited levels of grip on dry surfaces.” The Pirelli rubber’s biggest shortcoming, on the other hand, was its wet performance; the testers noted that stopping distances were a little longer than wished for and the tyre’s aquaplaning performance was only average. As for the Kumho tyre, Auto Bild Sportscars reported “weak lateral control and strong understeer on wet road surfaces, mediocre levels of grip and delayed steering response on dry surfaces, and elevated levels of rolling resistance.” On the plus side, the Ecsta PS91 performed well in the aquaplaning test, stopped within a short distance in the dry and is affordable to buy.
Two of the nine tyres ended the test with a ‘not recommended’ rating. These are the Firestone Firehawk SZ90µ and the Rotalla Setula S Race RU01, and they were rated poorly mainly for their unconvincing performance on wet surfaces. The Firestone tyre was pulled up for its “weak lateral control, strong understeer and long stopping distance on wet road surfaces, mediocre levels of grip, delayed steering response and unbalanced handling on dry surfaces.” The greatest criticism, however, was reserved for the Rotalla model. Auto Bild Sportscars described the Setula S Race RU01 as a “hydrophobic Chinese tyre with dangerously long wet braking distances, a strongly understeering and unbalanced wet handling performance, mediocre grip and lightly spongey handling on dry surfaces.” Both tyres, however, also displayed some positive characteristics, such as (Rotalla) low rolling resistance, low price and (Firestone) low rolling noise and good safety reserves during aquaplaning.
Category: Product News