The selection of the summer tire market is so wide that it can be sometimes confusing for the unprepared consumer. Premium-brand tires can be displayed next to the medium-price segment and budget models; in addition, there are also retreaded tires available retail.
Dealing with such a variety, it is very important to know exactly what specific characteristics you expect from your tires, and what amount of money you are ready to spend on your new set. And it is very important to be aware that if you opt for cheaper tires, you are likely to pay for this with your safety in the future.
Those, who are still in doubt and feel like they lost their bearings in the world of tires, can get help from the experts of Germany’s Auto Bild publication, who conducted a large summer tire test 2020 in size 245/45 R18. The sheer scale of the event is quite impressive: the Auto Build test involved 50 models of different price brackets. When selecting the contestants, the experts were particularly interested in tires of subsidiary brands (the second and third lines) of the world-renowned tire makers.
According to Auto Bild, the tires for the test were bought retail, including the new model 2020 — the Laufenn S Fit EQ+ from Hankook. The test car was a BMW 5 series.
QualificationIn the qualification round, which was covered in our February article, 30 models were screened out that failed to pass the so-called «safety tests», essentially based on braking performance on dry and wet surfaces (with 100 km/h and 80 km/h, respectively).
Safety tests (qualification round).
|Place||Brand and Model||Wet Braking (from 80 km/h),m||Dry Braking (from 100 km/h),m||Braking
|41||Dayton Touring 2||37,2||36,4||73,6|
|42||Barum Bravuris 5 НМ||36,1||37,7||73,8|
|43||Seiberling Touring 2||37,0||37,0||74,0|
|45||Federal Evoluzion ST-1||39,4||35,3||74,7|
|45||Nankang Ultra Sport NS-2||38,2||36,5||74,7|
|47||GT Radial SportActive||39,1||36,8||75,9|
|48||Imperial Ecosport 2||38,7||37,3||76,0|
|50||King Meiler Sport 3||43,2||41,0||84,2|
|Place||Brand and Model||Wet Braking (from 80 km/h),m||Dry Braking (from 100 km/h),m||Braking
|22||Giti GitiSport S1||32,9||35,5||68,4|
|22||Semperit Speed-Life 2||32,2||36,2||68,4|
|24||Debica Presto UHP 2||32,8||36,1||68,9|
|25||Pirelli P Zero 2007||34,6||34,8||69,4|
|26||Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105||34,7||35,3||70,0|
|27||Mabor Sport-Jet 3||34,3||35,9||70,2|
|27||Sava Intensa UHP 2||35,5||34,7||70,2|
|29||Cooper Zeon Sport||34,5||36,0||70,5|
|32||Saetta Touring 2||34,9||36,8||71,7|
|32||Matador MP47 Hectorra 3||35,7||36,0||71,7|
|34||General Altimax One S||35,4||36,4||71,8|
|34||Radar Dimax R8||36,7||35,1||71,8|
|36||Viking ProTech HP||34,8||37,3||72,1|
|37||Tracmax X-Privilo TX3||35,4||37,0||72,4|
|38||Minerva Radial F 205||36,0||36,9||72,9|
|38||Rotalla Setula S-Race RU01||35,7||37,2||72,9|
|40||Tristar Sportpower 2||37||36,5||73,5|
The list of tires that did not make it into the top twenty includes the UHP tires Yokohama Advan Sport V105 and Pirelli P Zero (in the 2007 version, still available retail). What also came as a unpleasant surprise was the Barum Bravuris 5 HM model showing an extremely poor result in the qualification round. Below is the list of models that were shortlisted for the final round:
- Apollo Aspire XP
- Bridgestone Potenza S001
- Continental PremiumContact 6
- Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2
- Falken Azenis FK510
- Firestone Roadhawk
- Fulda SportControl 2
- Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5
- Hankook Ventus S1 evo³ (K127)
- Kleber Dynaxer UHP
- Kumho Ecsta PS71
- Laufenn S Fit EQ+
- Maxxis Victra Sport 5
- Michelin Pilot Sport 4
- Nexen N’Fera Sport
- Nokian Powerproof
- Toyo Proxes Sport
- Uniroyal RainSport 3
- Vredestein Ultrac Vorti
- Zeetex HP 2000 vfm
The dry and wet braking tests performed for each of the candidates allowed the experts to effectively separate the grain from the chaff. Against the background of the expensive premium-class tires, a lot of democratically priced models made it into the final round. For the first time, the final round of the Auto Bild test 2020 involved new summer tires from Laufenn and Zeetex.
Results of the final round of the large Auto Bild test
Unlike in the qualification round, the braking performance was being recorded from a speed of 100 km/h. The difference between the best (Bridgestone) and the worst (Maxxis) results in this discipline is 7.3 meters.
The level of straight hydroplaning resistance demonstrated by all of the tires is rather high — their results start from 90 km/h and higher. The water layer on the test track was 8mm deep. The Fulda and Zeetex models lose grip on the road surface earlier than the others
On the water-sprinkled circular track, the best lateral stability was demonstrated by the Bridgestone tires. Positioned as a «rain» model, the Uniroyal tires do not quite perform either up to the manufacturer’s statements or up to their name.
On the wet handling track, the Bridgestone tires got ahead once again. The performance by the Maxxis and Kumho tires, who came the fourth and the fifth respectively, also satisfied the expert team.
Only a few years ago such short braking distances were thought to be impossible. The highest safety margin was recorded from the Michelin tires. The Zeetex tires, which seemed to make it into the final round by a stroke of wild luck, surprisingly also offered quite decent performance.
The most accurate steering response and great handling capabilities are offered by Vredestein, Continental, and Michelin. The Zeetex model had little to brag about this time around.
In addition to the traditional disciplines, the Auto Bild test 2020, of course, involved the tires’ environmental performance and expected mileage. For example, the expected mileage offered by Continental is almost 45000 km, while Toyo, Maxxis, Zeetex, and Kumho tires will serve you with good faith and fidelity for a significantly shorter period of time, their expected mileage being half of that figure.
If we are to take a look at the price tags of these tires and compare them to their expected mileage, the least attractive ratio will be delivered by the Bridgestone and the Michelin models.
Rolling resistance directly affects the fuel consumption by the vehicle. The results recorded in this discipline demonstrate with certainty that the fuel consumption by the Fulda tires is five percent smaller than that of the Bridgestone model.
The verdicts by the Auto Bild testers.
The winners of the Auto Bild summer tire test 2020 are the Continental PremiumContact 6 and Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, which, most likely, was due to the absence of any significant difference in the sum total of their scores. Both models are characterized by efficient braking performance, crisp steering response, and high resistance to wear. The PremiumContact 6 is a little bit stronger on dry pavement, while the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 is more convincing in the wet.
- This tire replaced Continental / ContiPremiumContact 5
- Available Sizes in Line: 154
Original Equipment (OE) tires
- Year Released: 2016
- Regions for sale: Northern America, Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Oceania
The winners of the test got high scores for the price/mileage ratio, but, nevertheless, only the Continental tire got the title «Eco-Master 2020», whatever this might mean.
The third place was scored by the leader in braking efficiency during the qualification round, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4. In the final round, in addition to the shortest braking distance, this model demonstrated crisp steering response and excellent handling capabilities. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 lost its chance to make a clean sweep of the competition because of its high price and insufficiently competitive treadwear.
The Apollo Vredestein group is continuing to win the hearts of the German test experts, which is something that it began doing last year — its products scored the fourth and fifth places in the Auto Bild test 2020.
The sixth place in the overall ranking was scored by the debutant in the comparative tests — the Nexen N’Fera Sport model. This tire became available retail in the summer of 2019, yet it finally made it to the Auto Bild test only in 2020.
The Nexen N’Fera Sport fully demonstrated its strong sides on dry pavement, but it was also quite convincing in the wet. In addition, the test experts appreciated its smooth ride and low noise emission. It only weak side was increased rolling resistance.
The Falken Azenis FK510 model, which scored the seventh place, got an «Exemplary» verdict, just as all of the above-mentioned models. When testing the Falken tires, the experts did not elicit any significant drawbacks. The list of their doubtless strong sides includes: well-balanced performance both in the wet and in the dry, consistent handling response, short braking distance on wet pavement, low noise emission, high treadwear, and compelling price.
The leader of the trio with a «Good» verdict, Nokian Powerproof, scored only the eighth place. Crisp steering response, consistent handling feedback, and efficient braking on wet and dry pavements — everything was spoiled by low resistance to wear.
Firestone Roadhawk (which scored the 18th place last year) and Fulda SportControl 2 shared the ninth place. The Firestone tires yield better results on wet pavement, while the Fulda model showed itself to the best advantage in the dry. The expected mileage of these models also did not satisfy the Auto Bild experts.
The Auto Bild summer tire test 2020 became the place for a curious duel between two brands, which in fact belong to one Japanese corporation — Bridgestone and Falken. The model of the flagship brand lost it: Bridgestone Potenza S001 occupied the eleventh line of the tournament bracket. The reasons for that were quite trivial: high rolling resistance and low treadwear.
- Year Released: 2010
- Regions for sale: Asia, Americas, Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Africa, Oceania
The next two lines in the Auto Bild ranking of summer tires 2020 were occupied by tire models from one and the same manufacturer. The twelfth place was scored by the Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 with its good hydroplaning resistance but limited treadlife, which were just a little bit better than the new model of the season, the budget Laufenn S Fit EQ+ (the thirteenth place) with low rolling resistance and insufficient handling response on wet pavement.
The tires Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 (short braking distance on dry pavement, the fourteenth place), Kleber Dyxnaxer UHP (high treadwear, the fifteenth place), and Uniroyal RainSport 3 (fuel-efficient rolling resistance, the sixteenths place), also got a «Satisfactory» verdict from the test experts. All the three models were stopped from scoring higher lines in the tournament bracket by their substandard wet handling response.
The four bottom lines in the final standings were occupied by the «promising candidates», who, regrettably, all demonstrated low treadwear, which devalued their total scores. The Kumho Ecsta PS71, which occupied the seventeenth place in the final standings, nonetheless demonstrated good traction on wet pavement and excellent hydroplaning resistance.
The Maxxis Victra Sport 5 model distinguished itself with dynamic handling, good hydroplaning resistance, and efficient braking performance. In two other tests, this tire scored the third place — Motor (2019, 235/35 ZR19) and ADAC (2020, 225/40 R18). Here, however, it only took the eighteenth place.
Incidentally, in 2020, Taiwan’s Cheng Shin Rubber extended its range with the summer model Maxxis Victra Sport 5 SUV, specially engineered to meet the needs of heavy SUVs.
The nineteenth place in the final standings of the Auto Bild summer tire test 2020 was occupied by the Toyo Proxes Sport, which delivered rather balanced performance in the wet and in the dry (for the exception of the braking test).
The last twentieth place was scored by the Zeetex HP2000 vfm. Getting shortlisted for the top twenty by a sheer stroke of luck, this model could not get any higher in the tournament bracket. As it turned out, its low price and low rolling resistance still did not outweigh the understeer on wet and dry pavements, as well as limited treadlife.
Tires worthy of «Exemplary» verdict do not necessarily have to be expensive. Five of the seven models of the test that got such high critical acclaim are available retail at a fair price (by the «fair price» term the German experts mean the ratio of the tire’s performance, including expected mileage, and the suggested retail price).
Besides the Auto Bild tests, there are plenty of tests performed by other industry publications available on our website.