Conti Trumpets Test Triumph
It’s a rare person that isn’t pleased with a good test result, and German tyre manufacturer Continental is clearly chuffed with the outcome of Autocar magazine’s recent tyre comparison. Indeed, a Conti press release highlights the ‘staggering’ difference in quality between tyres made in Europe and budget segment Asian imports.
Autocar experts travelled to Continental’s Contidrom in Germany and tested five Asian made summer tyres, using the ContiPremiumContact 2 as their reference tyre. As Conti reports, tests revealed that the imports encountered safety problems, mainly in wet driving conditions, but were also outperformed by the European tyre in terms of braking distance on dry asphalt. High-speed tests showed yet more problems, with four out of five of the import tyres failing to make the grade at top speeds.
The British magazine’s test team compared five tyres made by manufacturers GT Radial, Nankang, Wanli, Linglong and Triangle with the ContiPremiumContact 2, Continental’s tyre for compact family cars and medium sized vehicles. According to Continental, huge safety risks were discovered during the test: on wet surfaces at 50 km/h, braking distances differed by up to 8.5 metres; cornering stability on wet roads showed equally wide differences in safety levels. Conti adds that the test car lapped the wet test track about ten per cent more quickly on Continental tyres than on the poorest-performing imports, and handling was clearly better. The imports showed a lack of grip, particularly when quick steering adjustment was required when cornering. In laps driven on the wet circuit, the ultimate test of cornering grip, the worst of the imported tyres’ performance was 28 per cent poorer than that of the European tyre.
But the bad news for the imports doesn’t end there, adds Conti. The Asian made tyres also showed their weak points on dry asphalt: at 100 km/h, the braking distance of the less expensive tyres was up to 5.5 metres longer than that of their European competitor. “Equipped with Linglong tyres, the test car was still doing 20 miles an hour (around 34 km/h) at the point where it had stopped on the Continentals,” commented one of the test team.
Continental comments that Autocar’s test results mirror those of numerous other magazines that have been pointed out the safety downsides of budget Asian tyres over the last year. In October 2008, DEKRA performed a similar comparison at the Contidrom, which exposed the shockingly poor wet braking and wet handling characteristics of imported Asian budget winter tyres. Differences in wet surface braking distances between the ContiWinterContact TS 830 and the ‘Federal WS1’ were around 50 per cent, with safety issues revealed in wet handling conditions.