Bridgestone Wins Run-Flat Tyre Test
The UK’s first independent magazine run-flat tyre test has named the Bridgestone Turanza ER300 RFT as “Best Buy 2006.” The extremely close results placed Continental’s PremiumContact SSR second, with Michelin’s Primacy HP ZP third overall. All three tyres were V-rated 205/55 R16 sidewall reinforced style run-flats. The test car was a BMW 320i. Auto Express carried out the assessment as part of its annual tyre test, with experts assessing some of the biggest names in run-flats in a variety of disciplines including wet handling, rolling resistance, and dry handling.
Naming the ER300 RFT as its “Best Buy 2006,” Auto Express said the tyre was “the best performer in the wet and matched its rivals elsewhere”. The tyre finished top in half of the 10 tests, beating the Continental and Michelin run-flats in straight aquaplaning, curved aquaplaning and wet cornering. The Turanza was also named the top performer in rolling resistance and was the cheapest tyre tested.
The Continental tyre also performed well, winning tests for wet braking, wet handling, dry braking and interior noise. The PremiumContact performed particular well in the dry braking test, stopping 3.4 metres ahead of Bridgestone and about two metres earlier than the Michelin tyre. And with interior noise measured at 67.3 decibels the Premium Contact was found to be about 10 per cent quieter than the next best Michelin tyre.
Michelin scored well in noise (5 per cent quieter than Bridgestone) and wet braking, but failed to win a single test in the Auto Express report. Following on from a 15th place result in Auto Express’ standard tyre test, Michelin managers must be disappointed. On this subject a Michelin spokesman told Tyres & Accessories that the company did not believe the Auto Express run-flat results were consistent with other independent research. According to Michelin research conducted at MIRA, and by the TUV in both Germany and the Czech Republic contradicts Auto Express findings.
“We’re obviously delighted to have been given the top rating,” said Andy Lane, marketing manager with Bridgestone UK. “We have worked hard for many years to develop a run-flat tyre that offers consumers the best in performance, safety and comfort, and this test shows that we’re the best at doing just that.”
To reinforce its commitment to the technology, Bridgestone UK – which won the NTDA’s Product Innovation Award for its run-flats last year – has increased the level of investment in its RFT training programme throughout 2006.
Looking forward, Andy Lane believes this infrastructure is vital, if dealers are to cope with the number of run-flat tyres already on the market – estimated to be 750,000 by Auto Express.
“As a result,” said Lane, “dealers will have to ensure that their fitters are fully trained to replace the tyres. The technology has already evolved in the last few years, to the extent that our RFT tyres are now fitted as standard on several vehicles.”