Summer tire test 2017 (245/45 R18) the best tires for the middle class
Ten summer tires in the 245/45 R 18 Y format put to the test. After testing compact and SUV tires, it’s now the turn of the midsize segment. Driving safety, rolling resistance and comfort are what count here. Which tires make the race?
The tire world is reorganizing. Young brands have joined the ranks, caught up with the well-known premium manufacturers and are preparing to shake up the field of the old forerunners. This test will show how the field is currently reorganizing itself, for example in the area of premium sports tires for the upper mid-range.
Milan, november 2016, drizzle, 16° C. A BMW 5 Series touring is already warming up before the barrier to the wet handling course. The road has not yet been cleared for traffic, and the sweeper is still brushing and spraying autumnal, but slippery leaves from the asphalt. Stacks of tires pile up in the assembly hall next door. Ten products to be compared in wet handling today. They are still fresh, the tread has just been run in on a precisely defined 100 km lap. This is necessary so that possible release agent residues from production do not falsify the measurement results.
Premium brands with new models
Included are the new continental premiumcontact 6, the equally new michelin pilot sport 4, the recently launched pirelli P zero, vredestein’s new top product ultrac satin, the affordable maxxis premitra HP5, the falken azenis FK510 and the toyo proxes sport. The newcomers have to measure themselves against last year’s winner, the goodyear eagle F1 asymmetric 3, as well as the slightly revised hankook ventus S1 evo² and the dunlop sport maxx RT 2.
Now the barrier is open, and in the evenly watered area of nasty curves the candidates have to show what they can do. First the goodyear. As last year’s winner, it has the honor of competing three times as a reference tire in each test: at the beginning, in the middle and also at the end of each series of measurements. This way, possible changes due to temperature or road surface can be taken into account and the lap times driven provide information about how precisely and reproducibly the tester works at the volant.
Decision in wet handling
After its brilliant performance last year on the front-wheel drive opel mokka, the goodyear in 245/45 R 18 on the rear-wheel drive BMW 5 series does not really deliver a brilliant performance. It remains harmonious and safe to drive, but can no longer keep up with the leaders in grip level. He also seems to have had a bad day with wet braking. With an average braking distance of 33.5 meters – determined from more than 30 individual braking operations – the goodyear takes almost five meters longer to come to a standstill than the top-ranked tire.
This alone eliminates the prospect of one of the front test places. The dunlop sport maxx RT 2 from the same company suffers the same fate; here, too, the braking distances are too long with proper balance. the maxxis premitra has a similarly low level of wet grip, which also slides over the front axle with too much understeer in handling and is therefore only conditionally recommendable in the wet. with good wet braking performance, toyo and vredestein also have deficits in cornering grip, while falken, hankook and pirelli do well here.
Conti’s new premiumcontact 6 is also worthy of recommendation in the wet: with a clear tendency to understeer and soft steering behavior, it hardly lets itself get out of control, only buckling somewhat in lateral control and aquaplaning. Is that the price for its exemplary low rolling resistance?? Up to now, the conti has often guaranteed the best wet grip. But now the new michelin pilot sport 4 takes the lead with shortest braking distances, safe lateral guidance and superior handling. Only in cornering aquaplaning does early flotation lead to a loss of points.
Dry tests on the racetrack
Drizzle also the next day, but we need dry tracks. There will be no more of that around milan at least this week – so move. The circuito tazio nuvolari, a private circuit near genoa, reports suitable temperatures and dry asphalt. The truck is loaded with the wheel sets in the evening, and the test vehicle sets off southward in the night. At eight o’clock in the morning, the small but selective racetrack is absolutely quiet. Last shreds of fog disappear. The track is still too cold, but first the measuring points have to be defined and the pit equipped anyway. The traffic light turns green: the 5-series rolls out of the pit lane for the first time. Its mission: to analyze driving behavior and determine lap times. Even in the dry, there are huge differences between the tires, which are revealed less by the laptimer than by the driving impression of the experienced test driver. Outstanding: the new pirelli P zero, which sets the pace with direct steering response, best precision, high driving stability and ultimately also fast lap times.
The michelin PS 4 is only slightly less direct and slightly less comfortable, and is always in control even on fast terrain. No one can get past these two in a hurry on a dry track. With dynamic, balanced handling, the obviously dry-optimized goodyear follows with almost one note in the midfield, then the well-behaved and balanced conti, the harmonious hankook, the spontaneous dunlop and the active and exact toyo.
vredestein, falken, and maxxis don’t give a damn either in the safety-relevant dry disciplines. Ultimately, it is dynamic aspects such as steering or steering precision, but also the weaker rolling comfort and higher interior noise that lead to the deduction of points here. Thus, for example, a well audible, speed-dependent deep howling can be heard when the maxxis-tired BMW rolls off the tire. That should not be so, and so there are for him in rolling comfort/interior noise significantly fewer points.
Test aborted during continuous rain
Rolling noise, wet braking, aqua-planing, wet handling and the handling are finally in the box, only the braking tests on dry asphalt are missing. The nuvolari course offers no opportunity to do this. Milan? Rain! And no prospect of any improvement in the weather. A weekend in italy is not an option. So back to stuttgart, where there is plenty of work to be done. But already in the following week the piedmontese weather gods mean it again well with us. The track conditions are top, and after eight hours of selective leg training on the brake pedal, the results of this last discipline have also been determined. Right at the front with 34.2, 34.6 and 34.8 meters: michelin ahead of goodyear and pirelli. Then in the midfield between 35 and 35.7 meters: conti, hankook, dunlop and maxxis, then falken with 36.4; lastly vredestein and toyo with 36.9 and 37.2 meters. With the exception of the latter, these are quite respectable values.
And the overall result? The new michelin PS 4 is the clear winner. Very well-balanced wet and dry properties on a high level, combined with short braking distances and best driving safety – this can’t be topped. The french have probably given something of their proverbial longevity to it. In second place: pirelli’s new P zero, which impresses above all with its dynamism and precision in dry corners. In wet braking and aquaplaning, it buckles a bit and loses important meters in the process.
And conti? The premiumcontact 6, designed to replace the sporty sportcontact 5 in this class, shows that compromises also apply to the hanoverians. According to conti, the tire’s increased mileage, the higher level of comfort compared to the sportcontact 5, and especially the very low rolling resistance require concessions in terms of wet performance and dynamics. hankook and falken don’t care about smooth running and low fuel consumption, positioning themselves even ahead of last year’s winner goodyear, which ultimately suffered from deficiencies in wet braking. still recommendable are also toyo, vredestein and dunlop, only the low-priced maxxis will only conditionally be able to meet the justifiably high demands of drivers of upper mid-range models.