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Auto Zeitung 2021: UHP Summer Tire Test R18

The comparison summer tire test season 2021 is now officially open! The first to announce their test results for the upcoming summer were the experts of the German motoring publication Auto Zeitung, who tested ten tires in size 225/40 R18.

The test disciplines were carried out in September 2020 at the Bridgestone «European Proving Ground» in Italy at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. All the tires were tested using one type of car, and in duplicable conditions. The test car was a new Seat Leon 1.5 eTSI, with 150PS, and a dual-clutch transmission. The event was officially partnered by the B2C trading platform Saitow AG, which also supplied tires for the test.

Vehicle overview of the dimension 225/40R18
Manufacturer Model series
Alfa Romeo 147, Giulietta, GT
Audi A3 (also Sportback and Sedan)
BMW 1 Series, 2 Series Coupé / Cabrio, 3 Series (E90, 91, 92, 93)
Citroën C4
Fiat Bravo, Tipo
Ford Focus (until 2011)
Honda Civic (until 2017)
Hyundai i30 N, Veloster
Jaguar X-Type
Kia Soul (until 2014), Ceed
Lancia Delta (until 2014)
Lexus IS
Mazda 3 (until 2011), 5 (until 2010)
Mercedes-Benz A / CLA (until 2018), B (until 2018), C (until 2014)
Opel Astra, Zafira (B)
Peugeot 308 (also SW / CC)
Renault Mégane (also Grandtour, Coupé, CC)
Seat Leon, Exeo (each also ST)
Skoda Octavia (also as Combi; until 2020)
Toyota GT 86
Volvo C30, S40, V40, V50, S60, V60
Volkswagen Golf (also as Variant, Cabrio, GTI, R, Plus), Jetta

All the ten tires involved in the test had a «sporty» character and belonged to the Ultra High Performance class.

List of UHP models tested:

Test results

Big difference on wet surface: danger in emergency situations

On the wet surface, particularly impressive was the Pirelli P Zero model — the experts specifically mentioned its reliable handling response, which they explained by the perfect balance between the front and the rear wheels. The testers also liked the maneuverability of this model, which outperformed its rivals in terms of tackling the extreme lateral forces. In addition, as it turned out, the Pirelli PZ4 is virtually insensitive to load increase; the tire also showed the best lap time on the handling course. For the driving safety that it ensures on wet pavement, Auto Zeitung gave the Pirelli model the highest ranking of 1+.

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, the Maxxis Victra Sport 5, and the Nokian Powerproof also demonstrated a rather decent performance in wet disciplines. And, although they all had minor issues, the experts still rated them as extremely safe. Specifically, the Goodyear tire 'sagged' a little due to weaker grip, the Maxxis tire was prone to slight oversteer, and the Nokian tire had minor issues in traction and early engagement of the ESP system.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5

Remarkably, all of the 225/40 R18 summer tires tested by Auto Zeitung have traction grade A, yet huge differences were revealed in the braking test, in which the car was to slow down from 100 km/h to a full stop. The difference between the shortest stopping distance (Goodyear EF1AS5) and the longest one (Hankook K127) totaled almost nine meters!

Compared to the leader in this discipline, the Nokian and the Maxxis tires tend to perform below average. The German testers do not recommend using these tires because this may lead to deplorable consequences in an emergency situation. It’s simple, really: when the car fitted with the Goodyear tires already comes to a standstill, the vehicle fitted with the Nokian tires will still be moving at a speed of 32 km/h, while the car fitted with the Maxxis tires will still be moving at 40 km/h.

Maxxis Victra Sport 5
Maxxis Victra Sport 5

For the same reason, the experts do not recommend using the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 and the Nexen N’Fera Sport tire models.

245/40 R18 summer tire test: The optimum balance between wet and dry performance is not always possible.

Strange as this may sound, on wet pavement the Continental PremiumContact 6 model was even less convincing than its less reputed rivals, yet this tire redeemed itself showing its huge potential in the dry, where it demonstrated highly efficient braking performance, great results on the handling course, and a good balance between the front and the rear wheels.

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, which was so impressive on wet pavement, was also very good in the dry, also demonstrating excellent fuel-saving capabilities. According to Auto Zeitung, this evidences huge efforts in research and development.

Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2
Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2

The Sport Maxx RT2 model form Dunlop just doesn’t seem to be getting it all together — says the technical expert. Despite low rolling resistance and a real master class in combating the hydroplaning effect, it demonstrated the worst dry performance on test. But then again, the difference between the best and the worst result on dry pavement was not as striking as in the wet, totaling mere 1.9m.

The Hankook and the Maxxis tires, which did not perform up to the standard on wet pavement, demonstrated good or very good results on wet pavement with unfailing regularity. Also, a very confident dry performance was demonstrated by the Michelin Pilot Sport 4. The experts appreciated its shortest dry braking distance on test, low rolling resistance, and very safe handling performance.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4
Michelin Pilot Sport 4

The poorest dry performance was shown by the Nexen N’Fera Sport. This tire falls short of its rivals in terms of traction, handling response, and steering precision.

Conclusion: the overall ranking

The victory in the test, and, therefore, recommendation from the Auto Zeitung experts, was scored by the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, which, in addition to its other merits, was recommended to drivers who want to save up on gasoline.

Second place was scored by the Continental PremiumContact 6 with its very confident behavior on dry pavement. The bronze medal of the test was bestowed on the Pirelli P Zero PZ4, despite the fact that it fell short of the leaders in the dry tests.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4, which slightly lacked steering precision while cornering, occupied the fourth line in the final standings. Fifth place was scored by the Falken Azenis FK510, which offers the best price/quality ratio.

Subjective assessments (driving safety)
Brand and Model Wet surface Dry surface Comfort
Continental PremiumContact 6 2- 1+ 1-
Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 2 3+ 1-
Falken Azenis FK510 2+ 2- 2+
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 1- 1 1-
Hankook Ventus S1 evo³ K127 2 2+ 2
Maxxis Victra Sport 5 1- 1 2+
Michelin Pilot Sport 4 2 1 2+
Nexen N’Fera Sport 3 2 1
Nokian Powerproof 1 1- 2+
Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) 1+ 1 2+

The sixth place in the tournament bracket was occupied by the Nokian Powerproof, which ultimately did not get recommended by the experts due to its weak wet braking performance. Seventh place in the final standings, also due to poor braking capabilities on wet pavement, was scored by the Maxxis Victra Sport 5.

Eighth and ninth places scored by the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 and the Hankook K127 Ventus S1 evo3 respectively were also due to a less-than-perfect wet braking performance. It is noted that Hankook Tire has already addressed this issue by optimizing the tread compound. The K127 model with an upgraded tread compound has been put in mass production in the first quarter of 2021.

205/40 R18 UHP Summer Tire Test Results, Auto Zeitung 2021
205/40 R18 UHP Summer Tire Test Results, Auto Zeitung 2021

The last tenth line in the final standings of the 225/40 R18 summer tire test was occupied by the Nexen N’Fera Sport, which had issues both in dry and wet performance. According to the testers, its capabilities fall short of those of the best models available on the market.

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