2021 Tyre Reviews UHP Summer Tyre Test

Update 21st May 2021: Amended the rolling resistance data to be more accurate.

We've taken 14 of the best ultra high performance summer tyres in the very popular 225/40 R18 tyre size, and we've tested the dry and wet handling, the dry and wet braking ability, aquaplaning resistance, the noise levels and the rolling resistance of these tyres, to work out exactly what tyre is best at what!

On test are some of the very best tyres on market, and where possible we've included both the UHP and UUHP segment. This means we have the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 AND Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 AND the F1 SuperSport, plus it's the first time we're is testing the Pirelli P Zero PZ4, and, amongst all the other tyres on test, the brand new Bridgestone Potenza Sport.

The test vehicle is a trusty VW Golf GTI, which while is a little generic, is a really good platform to run this program on.

Dry

The only tyres in the 97 seconds range were the as Altenzo and Avon. Both these tyres felt fine on the warm up laps, but as the tyres got warm the grip dropped off quite quickly which resulted in a lot of understeer. Neither felt particularly sporty, but neither had bad handling, just a lack of grip.

Next up in the 96 second range were GT Radial, Nokian and Hankook. The GT Radial was an enjoyable tyre to drive, it felt rounded and had the best steering of the three, it just didn't have the grip, where as the Nokian and Hankook both felt a little vague through the front of the car, gave you understeer, and didn't enjoy being hot.

The 95s is where it gets really competitive, with Falken, Goodyear, Vredestein and Pirelli all within a second of each other! The Falken was a very pleasant tyre, good steering response and well balanced, just, lacking a bit of feedback through the wheel. 

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 subjectively felt quite sporty, had a stable balance and good braking and turning, however it did feel a little traction limited out of the slower corners, robbing it of a few precious tenths.

The Vredestein was another tyre to have direct precise steering with good grip, and felt sporty right up until the limit where it would leave you wanting a bit more information.  It was one of the most stable tyres in the test in terms of heat, and while track wear doesn't really correlate with road wear, it was also one of the freshest looking tyres when it came off the car at the end of the test.

The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 was a fast, direct steering, well weighted, and felt really good when cornering. It did seem to struggle with the heat a little more than some, but it was a really impressive handling tyre.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 and Continental PremiumContact 6 placed fourth and third. There was no denying the Michelins grip, but it felt a little numb compared to the Goodyear, Pirelli and Continental, however it was stable in it's lap time and gave you lots of confidence to push on.

The Continental was the fastest of the UHP tyres, and exceptionally sporty feeling, it also had a stellar first lap pace, but then seemed to struggle with the heat a little more than others so laps two and three were slower.

The top three tyres in dry handling were the UUHP tyres, and while it was so exceptionally close between the Bridgestone and Michelin in time, there were some subjective differences worth noting. The Michelin wasn't quite as direct as the other two UUHP rivals to steer, but still very direct and enjoyable to drive. The Bridgestone felt meatier and more like a track tyre than a road tyre, and once hot it was very good laterally, feeling more like a track compound.

As for the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport, it was tyre that was hard to fault in the dry. It's steering speed and feel was up there with the Bridgestone, and while it didn't quite feel as precise on centre, it was still exceptional, AND it seemed to cope with the heat the best of the three, with very little drop in time.

Wet

Like in the dry the Altenzo was the slowest tyre on test, just with a bigger margin in the wet. Again, there wasn't anything particularly terrible about the balance of the tyre, it just lacked grip in all directions, but as the cheapest tyre here that's not unexpected, as wet grip is the main area cheap tyres struggle with.

The next two tyres in the 66's were the Avon and Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport, and while they had similar times they had very different driving qualities. The Avon was a well mannered tyre with gentle understeer, just limited grip especially on the brakes, where as the F1 SuperSport had direct steering and great feedback, but struggled a little with aquaplaning, especially on the rear which led to oversteer.

The rest of the tyres were extremely close in terms of lap time.

The Nokian and Vredestein were pretty much tied, with both tyres lacking a bit of grip and feedback through the wheel, though the Vredestein suffered with understeer and the Nokian slightly oversteer.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S was the nicest of the three uuhp tyres in terms of balance, but like all the UUHP tyres it aquaplaned more than the UHP tyres on the lap making an ultimate lap time difficult, but the grip was good.

The Continental PremiumContact 6 once again felt sporty and direct with good levels of grip, and on a similar lap time was the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3, which dominated in the wet braking test, but felt weaker laterally and like in the dry, had an understeer balance.

The new GT Radial was more impressive in wet handling than it was wet braking, having no issues with the deeper water on the wet handling lap which certainly helped it's overall lap time.

The Falken and Asymmetric 5 were opposing styles on a similar time. The Falken felt more sporty than when tested in other sizes, with quick direction changes on the front axle, but the rear couldn't keep up so you were fighting oversteer, whereas the Asymmetric 5 was a very well balanced tyre, giving you good grip and predictable handling in all directions.. 

Like in the dry, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 was a joy to drive in the wet. Good traction, sharp on the front, the only negative point was on this Golf it liked to oversteer more than understeer.

Second place was taken by the new Bridgestone Potenza Sport, the fastest of the UUHP tyres and almost the fastest of all the tyres. The compound on this tyre feels a bit like a track day tyre, it needed a few laps to get some heat into it, and it struggled with aquaplaning more than any other tyre, but when it was in contact with the surface it had excellent levels of grip.

And finally, with a similar time but delivering it in a totally opposite way, was the Michelin Pilot Sport 4. This tyre didn't feel that sporty, but what it did was deliver a safe, understeer primary balance that gave you a lot of confidence to drive quickly and safely.

Hankook really did have this much of an advantage during wet braking, it was tested three times to be sure!

The GT Radial had an impressive pair of aquaplaning results.

Environment

The lower cost tyres had the lowest external noise, with the Pirelli managing to combine sporty handling with low noise levels better than any other tyre.

The cheapest tyre on test, the Altenzo, had the lowest rolling resistance, with the UUHP tyres unable to match the best of the UHP tyres.

Unsurprisingly we find the best tyres on test also being some of the most expensive, with only Goodyear bucking the trend with the great value Asymmetric 5.

Results

Please note: For the final results, the UHP tyres are separated from the UUHP tyres (see video), however due to website limitations, they are all included in the same results below. Please keep this in mind when viewing the final results.

1st: Michelin Pilot Sport 4

Michelin Pilot Sport 4
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/B/71
  • Weight: 9.58kgs
  • Tread: 7.5mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking5th+0.75 M97.79%
Dry Handling5th+0.95 s99%
Wet Braking6th+4.41 M87.43%
Wet Handling1st100%
Straight Aqua5th-4.2 Km/H94.81%
Curved Aquaplaning3rd-0.17 m/sec292.92%
Noise4th+1.3 dB98.16%
Price12th+42.28 52.23%
Rolling Resistance5th+1.51 kg / t82.36%
Excellent rounded tyre with almost no weakness, excellent grip in the dry and wet, short braking distances and safe balance.
Not the most sporty feeling of the UHP tyres.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 is a tyre with almost no weaknesses, it has excellent grip in all conditions, good aquaplaning resistance, and a low noise. The only negative is that it's not the most responsive of tyres during the dry handling test.

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1st: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/71
  • Weight: 9.44kgs
  • Tread: 7.9mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking7th+1.09 M96.82%
Dry Handling8th+1.95 s97.97%
Wet Braking2nd+3.04 M90.98%
Wet Handling5th+0.74 s98.87%
Straight Aqua4th-3.5 Km/H95.67%
Curved Aquaplaning4th-0.2 m/sec291.67%
Noise6th+1.6 dB97.75%
Price7th+29.48 61.06%
Rolling Resistance9th+2.26 kg / t75.73%
Excellent rounded tyre with almost no weakness, sporty handling in the dry and wet, very short wet braking, very high aquaplaning resistance.
Average external noise.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 is a tyre with almost no weaknesses, it has excellent grip in the dry and wet, sporty handling, excellent aquaplaning resistance and low rolling resistance.

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1st: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S

Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/72
  • Weight: 9.76kgs
  • Tread: 7.62mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking1st100%
Dry Handling3rd+0.5 s99.47%
Wet Braking7th+4.85 M86.35%
Wet Handling7th+0.77 s98.82%
Straight Aqua2nd-2.4 Km/H97.03%
Curved Aquaplaning6th-0.22 m/sec290.83%
Noise12th+2.7 dB96.26%
Price13th+49.28 48.4%
Rolling Resistance13th+2.62 kg / t72.91%
Extremely rounded UUHP tyre with the shortest dry braking distances, excellent aquaplaning resistance, good levels of comfort and lowest rolling resistance of the UUHP tyres.
Not as dynamic handling as the other two UUHP tyres in this test.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is an extremely rounded UUHP tyre, offering the most complete blend of qualities. The trade off for all these qualities seems to be in dry handling, where it doesn't feel the most sporty of tyres.

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2nd: Bridgestone Potenza Sport

Bridgestone Potenza Sport
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/72
  • Weight: 9.98kgs
  • Tread: 6.8mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking3rd+0.22 M99.34%
Dry Handling2nd+0.42 s99.55%
Wet Braking4th+4.12 M88.16%
Wet Handling2nd+0.07 s99.89%
Straight Aqua10th-7.5 Km/H90.73%
Curved Aquaplaning10th-0.47 m/sec280.42%
Noise11th+2.2 dB96.93%
Price8th+31.98 59.1%
Rolling Resistance11th+2.42 kg / t74.45%
Sporty handling tyre with excellent steering response and feedback, very quick in the dry and wet with short braking distances.
Low aquaplaning resistance, oversteer balance in wet handling.
The new Bridgestone Potenza Sport at times feels like a track tyre for the road. The grip levels are extremely high and when the tyre is warm, the grip incredible. The low starting tread depth makes it difficult in the wet due to high levels of aquaplaning, however the grip is impressive when in contact with the road.

Read Reviews    Buy from £77.80

3rd: Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/72
  • Weight: 9.80kgs
  • Tread: 7.38mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking6th+0.99 M97.1%
Dry Handling1st100%
Wet Braking10th+5.93 M83.8%
Wet Handling12th+1.74 s97.37%
Straight Aqua8th-6.8 Km/H91.59%
Curved Aquaplaning8th-0.33 m/sec286.25%
Noise13th+2.8 dB96.13%
Price11th+36.48 55.89%
Rolling Resistance14th+2.63 kg / t72.83%
Truly a road tyre you can use on track, excellent dynamic steering with quick reactions and good feedback, and very good heat resistance for a road tyre.
Oversteer wet handling balance, long wet braking distances, high external pass by noise, high rolling resistance.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport was the master of the dry handling lap, offering the best steering response and good feedback. Unfortunately in this 18" size, the F1SS didn't has as much wet performance as tested in other sizes.

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3rd: Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3

Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: C/A/72
  • Weight: 9.61kgs
  • Tread: 7.8mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking4th+0.39 M98.84%
Dry Handling10th+2.12 s97.79%
Wet Braking1st100%
Wet Handling7th+0.77 s98.82%
Straight Aqua9th-6.9 Km/H91.47%
Curved Aquaplaning11th-0.5 m/sec279.17%
Noise10th+2 dB97.2%
Price6th+26.48 63.58%
Rolling Resistance3rd+1.43 kg / t83.14%
Shortest wet braking distance, very short dry braking, safe wet handling balance, low rolling resistance.
Understeer balance in the dry, average aquaplaning performance.
The new specification Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3 is the wet braking master, stopping the car significantly shorter than any other tyre on test. This braking advantage does seem to have come at the slight expense of handling, with the tyre slower to react and understeer balance in the dry and wet.

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4th: Pirelli P Zero PZ4

Pirelli P Zero PZ4
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/72
  • Weight: 9.37kgs
  • Tread: 7.63mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking2nd+0.16 M99.52%
Dry Handling6th+1.25 s98.69%
Wet Braking3rd+3.62 M89.44%
Wet Handling3rd+0.38 s99.41%
Straight Aqua11th-8.6 Km/H89.37%
Curved Aquaplaning9th-0.4 m/sec283.33%
Noise3rd+1 dB98.58%
Price10th+34.88 56.99%
Rolling Resistance10th+2.39 kg / t74.68%
Dynamic handling with an excellent performance in the dry and wet, low levels of noise.
Average aquaplaning performance.
The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 is a rare tyre that seems to blend good grip in the dry and wet, sporty handling, low rolling resistance and good levels of comfort. IF this tyre had slightly better aquaplaning resistance it would have been in the top group.

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5th: Continental Premium Contact 6

Continental Premium Contact 6
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: C/A/72
  • Weight: 9.18kgs
  • Tread: 7.8mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking7th+1.09 M96.82%
Dry Handling4th+0.91 s99.04%
Wet Braking8th+5.19 M85.53%
Wet Handling9th+0.84 s98.71%
Straight Aqua3rd-3 Km/H96.29%
Curved Aquaplaning2nd-0.1 m/sec295.83%
Noise14th+4 dB94.56%
Price9th+33.48 57.99%
Rolling Resistance7th+1.79 kg / t79.75%
Sporty dry handling with the fastest dry lap time, short dry braking, excellent aquaplaning resistance.
Highest pass by noise on test, average wet handling lap time.
The Continental PremiumContact 6 further cements the theory that it should have been named the SportContact 6, with the fastest dry handling lap, best in category steering response and precision, and short dry braking. Sadly, this comes at the expense of NVH.

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6th: Falken Azenis FK510

Falken Azenis FK510
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/69
  • Weight: 10.18kgs
  • Tread: 7.7mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking10th+1.51 M95.65%
Dry Handling9th+1.99 s97.93%
Wet Braking5th+4.15 M88.08%
Wet Handling4th+0.71 s98.91%
Straight Aqua6th-5.1 Km/H93.7%
Curved Aquaplaning4th-0.2 m/sec291.67%
Noise8th+1.8 dB97.48%
Price4th+22.18 67.57%
Rolling Resistance8th+2.05 kg / t77.47%
Sporty dry and wet handling, short wet braking distances, good aquaplaning resistance, good value.
Average dry braking, high pass by noise.
In this 18" size, the FK510 is a sporty tyre with good dry and wet handling, short wet braking and good aquaplaning resistance.

Read Reviews    Buy from £69.40

7th: GT Radial SportActive 2

GT-Radial SportActive 2
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/A/69
  • Weight: 9.6kgs
  • Tread: 7.91mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking11th+3.55 M90.33%
Dry Handling12th+2.27 s97.64%
Wet Braking13th+7.64 M80.06%
Wet Handling5th+0.74 s98.87%
Straight Aqua1st100%
Curved Aquaplaning1st100%
Noise1st100%
Price2nd+17.77 72.23%
Rolling Resistance4th+1.5 kg / t82.46%
Best straight and curved aquaplaning, lowest noise on test, stable wet handling with good levels of grip, sporty handling in the dry, low rolling resistance.
Long wet braking, average grip in the dry.
The new GT Radial SportActive 2 is a good improvement over the SportActive, with very high aquaplaning resistance, very low noise, and good handling in the dry and wet. Unfortunately the tyre has extended wet braking distances.

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8th: Nokian PowerProof

Nokian PowerProof
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: C/A/69
  • Weight: 10.14kgs
  • Tread: 7.42mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking9th+1.44 M95.84%
Dry Handling11th+2.25 s97.66%
Wet Braking11th+6.37 M82.8%
Wet Handling11th+1.17 s98.22%
Straight Aqua12th-8.8 Km/H89.12%
Curved Aquaplaning11th-0.5 m/sec279.17%
Noise8th+1.8 dB97.48%
Price5th+23.18 66.6%
Rolling Resistance2nd+1.39 kg / t83.53%
Good levels of comfort, low rolling resistance.
Long wet braking distances, poor aquaplaning resistance.
The Nokian PowerProof had a refined ride, but didn't perform up to expectations in the grip tests.

Read Reviews    Buy from £63.40

9th: Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+

Vredestein Ultrac Vorti Plus
  • 225/40 R18 92Y
  • EU Label: E/B/70
  • Weight: 11.09kgs
  • Tread: 7.8mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking12th+3.63 M90.14%
Dry Handling7th+1.6 s98.32%
Wet Braking12th+7.42 M80.52%
Wet Handling10th+1.13 s98.28%
Straight Aqua7th-5.9 Km/H92.71%
Curved Aquaplaning7th-0.3 m/sec287.5%
Noise7th+1.7 dB97.61%
Price7th-46.22 0%
Rolling Resistance12th+2.57 kg / t73.28%
Stable dry handling with good steering feel and low wear on track.
Long wet braking distances, low grip in wet handling, highest rolling resistance on test.
The new Vredestein Ultrac Vorti+ had extremely stable dry handling times with good steering and very good heat resistance. Sadly that seemed to hamper it in the wet, where it couldn't match the best on test.

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10th: Avon ZV7

Avon ZV7
  • 225/40 R18 92W
  • EU Label: C/A/70
  • Weight: 9.30kgs
  • Tread: 8.3mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking13th+3.75 M89.85%
Dry Handling13th+3.69 s96.22%
Wet Braking9th+5.46 M84.89%
Wet Handling12th+1.74 s97.37%
Straight Aqua13th-10.3 Km/H87.27%
Curved Aquaplaning11th-0.5 m/sec279.17%
Noise4th+1.3 dB98.16%
Price3rd+20.98 68.78%
Rolling Resistance6th+1.61 kg / t81.41%
Low rolling resistance, quiet external noise, well priced.
Long wet and dry braking, low grip in the handling tests.
The Avon ZV7 is a well priced tyre with low noise levels, however it couldn't match the group in the grip tests.

Read Reviews    Buy from £69.17

11th: Altenzo Sports Comforter +

Altenzo Sports Comforter +
  • 225/40 R18 92W
  • EU Label: C/B/72
  • Weight: 9.04kgs
  • Tread: 7.67mm
Test#Difference%
Dry Braking14th+5.9 M84.9%
Dry Handling14th+4.05 s95.87%
Wet Braking14th+10.39 M74.7%
Wet Handling14th+4.54 s93.42%
Straight Aqua14th-12.2 Km/H84.92%
Curved Aquaplaning14th-0.7 m/sec270.83%
Noise2nd+0.7 dB99%
Price1st100%
Rolling Resistance1st100%
Lowest rolling resistance on test, quiet pass by noise, low purchase price.
Extremely long wet and dry braking, lowest grip in handling tests with understeer balance, weak aquaplaning resistance.
The Altenzo SportComforter+ is the first time we've seen Altenzo in a test which should be commended. It is by far the cheapest tyre on test, and while it couldn't match the rest of the tyres in the grip test, it gives Altenzo a base of very low fuel use and low noise to build on and improve in the future.

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