2012 EVO Max Performance Tyre Test

2012 has started with a bang with EVO, the UKs leading high performance car magazine, publishing its 2012 summer tyre test.

Unlike some of the European tyre tests which concentrate on the data, EVO rate the driving experience equal to the out right performance, meaning subjective scoring is very detailed. This is key, as when the top 5 tyres are separated by just a few seconds over a lap, how the tyre feels is the primary difference between brands.

The Test

Also refreshing was EVOs choice of location - a mix of the UK MIRA testing circuit, and their home track Bedford Autodrome. This effectively removes any "home advantage" tyre manufacturers gain when they host the tyre tests at their development circuits.

EVO selected 10 tyres in 235/40 R18 to test on a 261bhp Audi S3. Each of the 6 premium brands were represented, with Hankook, Kumho and Vredestein from the mid range sector and Accelera from the budget end rounding out the group.

All the tests, including the road handling test were carried out on the various specialist circuits at MIRA, other than the dry lap time which was done at Bedford Autodrome.

Subjective feel

With the top 4 tyres separated by less than a second a lap in the wet, and just 0.4 seconds in the dry, subjectivity has never been more critical amongst the top runners.

Of the pack leaders Continental fared best, winning the wet test and scoring a joint first position with Hankook in the dry, who could only manage 4th place in the wet. The Continentals were particularly praised in the wet, where they felt extremely sure footed, barely registering puddles which upset its rivals and offering supreme traction.

Goodyear finished a close 2nd overall, scoring two 3rd places only let down by a fraction of under steer on the limit in the wet. It’s dry performance was also excellent on the limit, with "grainy, grippy feedback" and the highest lateral G reading.

While Bridgestone could only manage the 7th fastest wet lap, it rated very well subjectively finishing just behind the Continental. As we’ve found with Bridgestone tyres, it’s dry performance was many times better than the wet, scoring the fastest lap and finishing just behind the Goodyear subjectively.

Hankook rounded out the top 4 with the 5th fastest wet lap but an excellent subject 4th place, and the 3rd fastest dry lap with the subjective rating equalling that of Continental for the win. Another strong performer for Hankook, who are quickly edging towards premium status.

"In many respects, wet handling is the most cricial test of a tyre. Good performance in the dry is much easier to achieve."
John Barker - EVO
Some what disappointingly, the online favourites Vredestein and Kumho finished 8th and 9th in the wet, with Vredestein edging out Kumho, and could only manage 8th and 10th in the dry, this time with Kumho ahead of Vredestein. Disappointing results for 2 brands often recommended online, however it demonstrates the old adage “you get what you pay for” still largely rings true in the world of tyres.

The Results

As always our coverage doesn’t do the test justice, so make sure you pick up EVO issue 166 for the full write up and the detailed results breakdown.

1st: Continental Sport Contact 3

Continental Sport Contact 3
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 669.9
  2. Dry: 197.6
  3. Wet: 200
  4. Subjective: 200
  5. Rolling Resistance: 72.3
The ContiSportContact 3s only weakness was a little subjective feel on the road. It dominated the wet tests and was extremely strong in the dry. EVO commented as "an impressively complete performance". The Sport Contact 3 has now been replaced by the Sport Contact 5, which should be an even more impressive tyre.

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2nd: Hankook Ventus S1 evo

Hankook Ventus S1 evo
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 666.4
  2. Dry: 196.4
  3. Wet: 194.5
  4. Subjective: 190.4
  5. Rolling Resistance: 85.1
Although the Hankook S1 Evo only managed a single top place (its subjective feel on the dry track) the rest of its results were strong enough to give it a close second behind the Conti and a whisker ahead of the Goodyear.

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3rd: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 674.8
  2. Dry: 199.4
  3. Wet: 196.2
  4. Subjective: 187.9
  5. Rolling Resistance: 91.3
Outstanding in the dry, pulling the highest lateral G and shortest dry braking. Also very good in the wet just 0.8% slower than the Conti. Highly rated subjectively, a great all round tyre.

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4th: Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3

Michelin Pilot Sport 3 PS3
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 649.1
  2. Dry: 193
  3. Wet: 194.4
  4. Subjective: 179.5
  5. Rolling Resistance: 82.2
The new Pilot Sport 3 scored well objectively in all tests. Slightly let down by its subjective feel, EVO still recommend it as a great all round tyre, having the best blend of comfort and precision on the road.

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5th: Pirelli P Zero

Pirelli P Zero
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 641.8
  2. Dry: 195.4
  3. Wet: 197.7
  4. Subjective: 178.1
  5. Rolling Resistance: 70.6
Slightly ahead of the Bridgestone, the Pirelli P Zero offered a good all round performance - not the best in any test but usually in the top half in every test.

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6th: Bridgestone Potenza S001

Bridgestone Potenza S001
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 644.2
  2. Dry: 197.9
  3. Wet: 195.4
  4. Subjective: 180.3
  5. Rolling Resistance: 70.6
Unlike when we tested the S001 and found it a little numb, this version of the new Bridgestone echoes Bridgestones of old. Good dry grip with excellent feedback, average grip the wet but the excellent subjective scores make the tyre uncomfortable and bumpy on the road.

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7th: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 648.4
  2. Dry: 197.7
  3. Wet: 196.4
  4. Subjective: 176.6
  5. Rolling Resistance: 77.7
Echoing our own long term test findings, while the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT offers excellent grip in the wet and dry, it's somewhat let down by the average steering feel it provides.

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8th: Vredestein Ultrac Cento

Vredestein Ultrac Cento
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 620.2
  2. Dry: 190.4
  3. Wet: 189.9
  4. Subjective: 161.6
  5. Rolling Resistance: 78.3
Slowest tyre in the dry with a poor subjective score to boot, and almost as poor in the wet. The Ultrac Cento might just be starting to show its age.

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9th: Kumho Ecsta KU39

Kumho Ecsta KU39
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 594
  2. Dry: 192.6
  3. Wet: 174.4
  4. Subjective: 140.3
  5. Rolling Resistance: 86.7
A very average performance from the Kumho KU39 left Kumhos flagship tyre in 9th. Like the Accelera in 10th, the Kumho was ok in the dry, but struggled in the wet.

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10th: Accelera PHI

Accelera PHI
  • 235/40 R18
  • 3PMSF: no
  1. Total: 584.8
  2. Dry: 194.6
  3. Wet: 165.7
  4. Subjective: 124.5
  5. Rolling Resistance: 100
Finishing bottom of the table in nearly every test secured the Accelera its last place, however EVO noted it wasn't as bad as some of the other budgets tested in previous years. As is the norm with budget tyres, it was capable in the dry but lacked grip, composure and safety when the surface changed to wet.

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