Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 is Auto Express Best Buy
The annual Auto Express tyre test, published yesterday (8 September, 2011), awarded Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 top place and a “Best Buy 2011” endorsement. Michelin’s Pilot Sport 3 also received a “Recommended” rating, coming in second and scoring very highly all round. The magazine tested ten tyres from top-selling manufacturers, using the popular 225/45R17 size fitted to Volkswagen Golf GTIs. Ten tyres were supplied by each manufacturer, while Auto Express also bought two sets at random, to ensure fair testing. The tests, including wet and dry characteristics, cabin noise and rolling resistance, were completed at Bridgestone’s cutting edge testing facility in Aprilia, Italy.
The tyres tested by Auto Express, in addition to the models from Goodyear and Michelin were:
• Apollo’s Aspire 4G
• Bridgestone’s Potenza S001
• Continental’s ContiSportContact 3
• Dunlop’s SP Sport Maxx TT
• Hankook’s Ventus S1 Evo
• Nokian’s Z G2
• Pirelli’s P Zero
• Vredestein’s Ultrac Cento.
Despite home advantage, Bridgestone’s Potenza S001 was ranked lowest of the premium brands tested – a result described as “a bit of a mystery” by Auto Express product test editor Kim Adams. The tyre performed better than almost every other tyre in the dry, picking up first place in dry handling and second only to Conti’s tyre in dry braking, 0.5 per cent behind. Yet in the wet, the Potenza S001 failed to finish in the top five in any of the five tests, coming as low as ninth in the straight aquaplaning test. It was relatively strong in terms of cabin noise, finishing third behind Conti and Nokian.
Another manufacturer that has reason to be disappointed with its ranking is Hankook, whose Ventus S1 Evo was ranked lower than the debuting Apollo budget brand in tenth place. Auto Express’s verdict on Hankook’s tyre was that the manufacturer had focused too much on fuel efficiency – an understandable point of view, given that rolling resistance is one of only three characteristics that will be ranked on the tyre label when it is implemented next year. The tyre was the best in test for rolling resistence, but struggled particularly in the wet. It was placed in the bottom two in five tests, including four of the five wet tests, and failed to make the top half in anything but rolling resistance, leading Auto Express to suggest that the tyre “delivers on efficiency at the expense of grip elsewhere.”
Contrastingly, Apollo will be heartened by the way it was “far from disgraced” in Auto Express’s words, finishing ninth. Somewhat oddly, the tyre suffered in wet braking and wet handling, finishing last by a distance in both categories, yet it was ranked first in the wet cornering test. The cheapest tyre on the test performed reasonably well, though it was noisier than all but the Michelin tyre.
Goodyear “thrilled” with test performance
Returning to the top end of the table, Goodyear brand manager Michelle Fisher said: “We are thrilled to receive the Auto Express ‘Best Buy 2011’ award, ranking in first place. We launched the new Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 earlier in the year and focused the tyre on increasing road contact during braking, delivering significantly shorter braking distances on both dry and wet roads. This really came out in the test, particularly in the dry weather performance criteria. This is yet another win for Goodyear’s portfolio this year after winning original equipment fitment on the exclusive high performance Mercedes-Benz CLS four-door coupe with the new tyre.”
Goodyear says the tyre is designed to address what the company believes are “the most pressing needs of consumers of ultra high performance tyres”, with its ActiveBraking Technology. Auto Express said the tyre gave “wet road confidence backed up by podiums for braking and cornering.”
The magazine, seeking a well-rounded tyre was most impressed with the Eagle F1 A2’s ability in the dry weather conditions: “while we expect Goodyear to do well in the wet, its ability in the dry was a surprise. It turns in sharply and hangs on well.” The overall verdict was that the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 was an “Impressive all-rounder that is an excellent choice for any conditions.”
The remainder of the positions, from third to seventh, were filled respectively by Vredestein’s Ultrac Cento – noted for its top-two finishes in four out of five wet tests – in third; Pirelli’s P Zero – best in wet braking and handling – in fourth; Nokian’s Z G2 noted for its quiet running in fifth; and disappointing finishes for Conti’s ContiSportContact 3 and Dunlop’s Sport Maxx TT in sixth and seventh respectively. Conti’s tyre proved excellent in the dry and the quietest of all tyres tested with good rolling resistance too, but finished in the bottom half in four out of five wet tests, including last place in wet cornering. Dunlop’s SP Sport Maxx TT was more consistent, but was, according to the magazine “showing its age”, with a ninth-place finish in rolling resistance.