The results of this year’s Auto Bild winter tyre test are now out, and although the usual suspects have topped the table, the final scores offered a surprise or two. One tyre maker – Apollo Vredestein – has particular reason to be happy with this year’s results: Two of its products achieved the publication’s top ‘exemplary’ rating.
No prizes for guessing the winner of the ADAC 14-inch winter tyre test. It’s the same tyre that won this year’s ADAC 16-inch test. And the Auto Express winter test. And this year’s winter tyre comparos from GTÜ and auto motor und sport. Not to mention close runner-up in the Auto Bild winter test. We are of course talking about the WinterContact TS 860. This time round, the Continental overachiever shared its victory with the Dunlop Winter Response 2. Special mention should also be made of ADAC’s runner-up tyre, the Firestone Winterhawk 3 – a product offering the attractive combination of good performance and low purchase price.
Continental has commented on its victory in the Auto Express winter tyre test, which represented a third in the three years since the WinterContact TS 860’s launch. The manufacturer said that summer and winter tyre test victories in 2018 are “an excellent endorsement for Continental’s continued ambition to improve driver safety as part of our VisionZero initiative.”
Debuting in 1946 and featuring US army runabout the Jeep in its first issue, auto motor und sport (ams to abbreviation-happy Germans) has grown into one of Germany’s leading motoring publications and a regular feature in the tyre testing landscape. After publishing its 2018 all-season test in the first half of September, ams has turned its attention to winter tyres.
Continental’s WinterContact TS 860 has won its third consecutive Auto Express winter tyre test. The tyre beat strong competition from major manufacturers, most notably Hankook, whose Winter i*cept RS2 received a “commended” rating in second place, in a test tweaked this year “to better reflect UK driving conditions”. Outside the winter tyre competition, Auto Express also commented that the all-season control tyre, the Michelin CrossClimate+, not only finished close to the top in dry and wet tests, but was also only behind Hankook’s star performer in the snow – a result Auto Express described as “remarkable”.
September has been packed with tyre tests, with Auto Express, Auto Bild, GTÜ and auto, motor und sport all publishing comparative evaluations of winter and/or all-season tyres. German motoring association ADAC has come to the party with not one, but two winter tyre tests.
It’s been a fine start to life for the Continental WinterContact TS 860. In addition to receiving high praise from widely-read German car magazine Auto Bild, which described the winner of its test of 50 winter products as “an exemplary tyre without faults or flaws,” the new Continental winter tyre finished top of the class in its UK tyre test debut. Awarding first place to the WinterContact TS 860, Auto Express declared it a tyre that “delivers a winning blend of wet and dry grip plus fuel efficiency.”
Speaking at the end of a presentation at Continental’s annual ContiTechnikForum, Prof Dr Burkhard Wies, Conti’s head of Tire Line development worldwide commented on the development of the winter and all-season tyres as a sector. This is nothing new. Wies has, of course, tracked the market for some time and has commented on this subject before. What’s different now is that, during the course of 2015, the sector broadened from three segments (winter, all-season and summer tyres) to something more like four (winter, all-season concept I, all-season concept II and summer tyres).
What a difference 15 years makes. Perhaps the most interesting example Continental offered was its “Evolution of Winter Tire Performance” demonstration at this year’s ContiTechnikForum in Finland. In short Continental invited journalists and tyre testers to experience the performance gap between the ContiWinterContact TS 790 V’s turn of the millennium technology and what the new WinterContact TS 860 has to offer. The twist was that – in order to emphasise the difference – the old tyre was fitted to a new BMW 1-series and the new tyre was fitted to a 15-year old 3-series. Not having the benefit of the latest braking and on-board electronics technology, this gave the advantage to the old tyre and put the new tyre at a theoretical disadvantage.
Continental AG has launched the WinterContact TS 860 winter tyre, which the company describes as “a new winter specialist for compact and mid-range models”. The TS860 builds on the reputation of the multi-award winning ContiWinterContact TS 850, which has won tyre tests through-out its product life, including in 47 comparative tests run by the European trade press, automobile clubs and consumer organisations.