Two winners, one loser in Auto Bild Sportscars’ 2017 winter tyre test

Thursday 12th October 2017 | 0 Comments

 
Two winners, one loser in Auto Bild Sportscars’ 2017 winter tyre test
Two winners, one loser in Auto Bild Sportscars’ 2017 winter tyre test

Continental winter tyres have already claimed two test victories this autumn – the WinterContact TS860 took top spot in ADAC and Auto Bild tests, while the WinterContact TS850 P was voted top by Auto Motor und sport. The latter of these has now achieved a second win, in the test that will appear in the issue of Auto Bild Sportscars (11/2017) due to be released tomorrow. The victory was a shared one, however, with the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 named joint winner.

Ten size 225/40 R18 92V winter tyres were fitted to a VW Golf GTI for testing. The two winning tyres were, together with the Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1, gained a rating of ‘exemplary’. The trio were followed by six tyres that were either given a rating of ‘good’ – the Dunlop Winter Sport 5 and Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 – or at least satisfactory – the Hankook Winter I*Cept Evo², Cooper WeatherMaster SA2+, Fulda Kristall Control HP2 and Nokian WR A4. As last-placed tyre of the ten, the Sunny Wintermax A1 NW211 alone had come to terms with being ‘not recommended’.

The Sunny tyre was primarily given this rating due to what the publication describes as “limited wet suitability with little lateral control and far too lengthy braking distance on wet road surfaces” in combination with steering response in dry conditions that is described as spongy. As positives, the Wintermax A1 NW211 was seen to perform well in the snow and had low rolling resistance.

The Nokian and Fulda tyres delivered better performance in the wet than the Sunny, but even then they couldn’t keep pace with top performers in the comparative evaluation. The WR A4 was marked down for delayed steering response on snow covered and wet surfaces as well as for its just modest safety reserves when aquaplaning, while the Kristall Control HP2 bugbears were delayed steering response and understeer in the wet along with lengthy wet and dry braking distances. On the other hand, the Nokian tyre displayed well-balanced dry handling and low rolling resistance, and the Fulda balanced, safe characteristics in the snow, good safety reserves when aquaplaning, as well as a comparatively low purchase price. The Cooper WeatherMaster SA2+ was considered better in the wet than the Fulda and Nokian tyres, however it had more weaknesses on snow.

In addition to “safe aquaplaning qualities, convincing wet handling characteristics and quiet tyre roll noise,” Auto Bild Sportscars judged the Cooper tyre to have “just satisfactory performance and little grip in winder conditions” as well as a long braking distance in the dry. The sum of these performance characteristics earned it joint seventh place together with the Kristall Control HP2, while the I*Cept Evo²“, although gaining the same ‘satisfactory’ rating, finished the test a notch above. The Hankook tyre benefitted from stable and safe driving behaviour in all weather conditions and an affordable purchase price, despite only displaying an “average level of grip on wet surfaces” and an “extended braking distance on wet and dry road surfaces.”

The Pirelli and Dunlop tyres thus rolled past the I*Cept Evo² to achieve a rating of ‘good’. The Winter Sottozero 3 in particular was described as a balance tyre with “sporty, dynamic handling and stable lateral control on snow, good steering precision and a short dry braking distance.” The Winter Sport 5 was credited with convincingly good performance on snow and ice, exemplary aquaplaning reserves and dynamic, sporty wet handling.

The pair were held back from finishing further up the table due to modest levels of grip on dry surfaces and elevated tyre/road noise (Pirelli), and average levels of drip in the dry (Dunlop). The latter criticism was also levelled against the first generation UltraGrip Performance, albeit to a lesser extent that allowed the Goodyear tyre to still obtain an overall rating of ‘exemplary’. It was described as a balanced tyre with convincing winter qualities as well as “sporty, direct handling in the snow and wet, precise turn-in behaviour,” combined with good ride comfort.

The solitary criticism against the two test winners is their “high price,” with every other box ticked by the Auto Bild Sportscars testers. The Continental tyre was admired for its “balanced, good performance at a high level, dynamic handling qualities, precise turn-in behaviour and short breaking distance in every weather condition. The Michelin tyre was crowned the “undisputed snow king” thanks to its “excellent performance on snow and ice” along with its convincing and balanced performance on wet and dry road surfaces.

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Category: Product News

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