Just when you think Jonathan Benson at Tire Reviews can't go deeper on a tire test, he finds a way to make it happen. His latest comparison brings the current crop of ultra-high-performance tires from major brands to a track for wet and dry testing. Only now, longevity and environmental impacts are factors in the overall scoring.
The six contenders for this test include the Michelin Pilot Sport 5, Bridgestone Potenza, Continental PremiumContact 7, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6, Yokohama Advan Sport V107, and the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3. The test vehicle is a lovely VW Golf GTI hot hatchback, and the venue is an undisclosed location in France where it's supposed to be sunny. Apparently, Benson dealt with a lot of rain during a week of testing, but there were enough dry stretches to capture good data. Also, Benson's test didn't include Pirelli because of time/space constraints, and the fact that a new P Zero is coming out soon.
As per usual, his exhaustive test routine samples each tire in a variety of conditions. Going beyond merely wet and dry, Benson notes specific temperatures of the tires, the track, and the water in making his evaluations. The overview is that there really isn't a loser in the group; Benson was impressed with each tire. But that said, some do perform better than others.
By the numbers, five seconds separated the quickest (Bridgestone) from the slowest (Michelin) in wet conditions, but Benson notes the Bridgestone as being rather snappy and prone to oversteer. For wet braking, Continental holds a marked advantage over the others. In dry conditions, there was only a two percent difference from the best-performing tire (Goodyear) to the worst (Yokohama), and lap times were barely 1.5 seconds apart with the Yoko coming out on top.
Special to this evaluation is a wear test. For that, Benson turned to Euro-based Dekra, known for comprehensive product testing. All tires were used in real-world conditions and installed on a fleet of cars driven in a convoy over a specific route. Tires were rotated between cars to account for possible variations in vehicle setup, and drivers switched between the cars as well. Using a laser scanner, Michelin recorded the best wear characteristics but this time, there was a considerable gap between worst and first. Yokohama and Bridgestone ranked last, with a 33-percent difference compared to the Pilot Sport 5.
Another new test for this review included environmental impact. In short, this measures how much rubber particulates a tire will release in average driving conditions. On that front, Michelin again scored the best with 65.7 milligrams per 1 kilometer traveled, or 0.00014 pounds every six-tenths of a mile. Of course, that number will go way up should you decide to enjoy a smoky burnout.
With the numbers from each evaluation factored in, the Continental PremiumContact 7 scored the highest. That said, Benson also offers subjective opinions on other brands, depending on specific driving styles. The video at the top of the article spells this out, or you can take an even deeper dive at tire-reviews.com.