2011 Auto Express Ultra High Performance Tyre Test

It's always nice to have British magazines covering tyre tests, and no magazine does a more thorough job than Auto Express. This years "total tyre guide" covers 10 tyres across 10 disciplines giving a total of 100 data points to absorb!

Perhaps the most interesting findings in this years tyre test is just how good tyres are now. While there were clear winners and losers in each tyre test, overall the worst tyre finished just 3.5% behind the best tyre proving just how tough it is at the top.

As always, if you want the full result check out issue 1182 of Auto Express or follow the link at the bottom of the article, but here's the breakdown with the data summarised. All tests were performed in the popular 225/45 R17 side on a VW Golf.

View Results as a single table and adjust the score weighting

1st: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2
  • 225/45 R17
Proving that user reviews get it right, the current top rated TyreReviews tyre also won this test with an excellent all round performance. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 scored highly in almost every discipline, and gave the test drivers a strong sharp turn in with grip that hung on well. The Goodyear Eagle F1 range is always a strong wet performer, but the real surprise was its ability in the dry finishing right behind the leading Bridgestone.

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2nd: Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3

Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3
  • 225/45 R17
The new Michelin Pilot Sport 3 scored well, matching last years second place with a strong performance. Perhaps indicating the scoring weighting was a little bit too towards aquaplaning (where it finished 1st and 2nd) the Michelin scored 9th in wet corning and 10th in dry braking but pulled back some points with a 3rd in wet handling and 4th in wet braking.

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3rd: Pirelli P Zero

Pirelli P Zero
  • 225/45 R17
The Pirelli P Zero just missed out on the top spot due to a high rolling resistance and average dry lap pace - however the P Zero was the clear winner in the wet tests, half a second quicker than the next closest tyre and stopping a meter shorter than any other tyre in the wet braking. A strong construction made the tyre dynamically stable and a joy to drive on.

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4th: Vredestein Ultrac Cento

Vredestein Ultrac Cento
  • 225/45 R17
As the only directional tyre on test, the Vredestein Ultrac Cento was always going to have a strong performance in the wet, and it delivered by finishing second only to the Pirelli. Unfortunately the now-dated directional design struggled in the dry finishing ninth on the handling circuit where it lacked grip and balance.

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5th: Nokian Z G2

Nokian Z G2
  • 225/45 R17
Nokian placed a solid 5th with the Nokian Z G2. While the Nokian only excelled in the noise test, it performed strongly in the wet handling and cornering which insured it a good over result. Slightly let down by the dry handling, the Nokian might not be the best tyre for the ultimate performance driver, but it is a solid all rounder.

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6th: Continental Sport Contact 3

Continental Sport Contact 3
  • 225/45 R17
Last years test king, and the now super-seeded Continental Sport Contact 3 had its joint worst result ever finishing in 6th. Like the Bridgestone it was extremely strong in the dry tests with excellent dry braking and a sharp turn in during the handling lap, but was let down by it’s wet performance finishing last during wet cornering. The new Conti Sport Contact 5 should reverse this trend when featured in tyre tests next year.

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7th: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT
  • 225/45 R17
The now dated Dunlop Sport Maxx TT had a “middle of the road” performance, not excelling in any area but not failing in any area other than rolling resistance. The replacement to the Dunlop Sport Maxx TT should be an exciting tyre.

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8th: Bridgestone Potenza S001

Bridgestone Potenza S001
  • 225/45 R17
Bridgestone wont be happy their new flagship tyre, the Potenza S001, finished 8th on their own test track. The Bridgestone had a strong result in the dry handling test and finished 3rd in the cabin noise, but performed poorly in the wet almost finishing last in the straight line aquaplaning test.

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9th: Apollo Aspire 4

Apollo Aspire 4
  • 225/45 R17
The new budget brand Apollo (who also now own Vredestein) must be happy not to finish in last place, as the Aspire 4 is the cheapest tyre on test by a considerable amount. The Aspire 4 somehow won the wet cornering test, but didn’t score so well in the handling tests where it needed more steering lock and offer less feel than other tyres.

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10th: Hankook Ventus S1 evo

Hankook Ventus S1 evo
  • 225/45 R17
It was a disappointing and somewhat unusual result for the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo finishing in 10th position, behind the budget Apollo brand. The S1 Evo aced the rolling resistance test, finishing 1st but went on to fail miserably during aquaplaning tests finishing last. In previous tests the S1 Evo has been called “the best wet weather tyre”, so this either indicates the S1 Evo doesn’t work well in this size, the aquaplaning tests used a new level of water which the tyre couldn’t cope with, or something has changed recently. The S1 Evo2 is due out in the next few months.

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Check out Auto Express for the full results

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