During one of the largest tests ever conducted by the German publication Auto Zeitung, the experts compared the performance of 20 225/50 R17 tire sets by 13 criteria. The test involved both premium-class models priced at 500 Euros plus per set, and inexpensive tires from Chinese brands priced at 200–300 Euros for one set of tires.
List of summer models tested:
- Yokohama BluEarth-A AE-50
- Westlake SA37
- Vredestein Ultrac Satin
- Star Performer UHP 3
- Rotalla Setula S-Pace RU01
- Pirelli Cinturato P7 Blue
- Nankang Sportnex NS-20
- Michelin Primacy 4
- Maxxis Premitra HP5
- LingLong Green-Max
- Hankook Ventus Prime3 K125
- Goodride SA37
- Giti GitiPremium H1
- Firestone Roadhawk
- Falken Ziex ZE914 Ecorun
- Dunlop Sport BluResponse
- Continental PremiumContact 6
- Bridgestone Turanza T005
- Apollo Aspire XP
- Achilles ATR Sport 2
Modern vehicles are essentially high-performance computers on wheels, which not only ensure a high level of safety thanks to the electronic systems, such as ESP and ABS, but also track the vehicle’s motion with cameras and ultrasonic and radar sensors, taking steps in accordance with the traffic situation.
However, even the most advanced protective equipment with the smartest electronics in the world is powerless without the right tires. Because the torque that a car can transmit on the road always depends on the tires grip! And there is a huge selection of tires with extremely diverse characteristics available on the market.
The current version of the European tire label (to be updated in 2021) gives the consumer information about the tires fuel efficiency, wet grip, and noise emission. However, all these parameters are only superficially indicated, and they cannot give exhaustive information about the real performance of this or that model. The Auto Zeitung test experts, who gathered together twenty sets of high-performance summer tires tried to use the test to visualize the differences between the tires in meters, seconds, and speed figures.
The Results of AZ Summer Tire Test 2020
Hardly anyone will be surprised by the fact that the victory in the summer tire test was scored by a comparatively expensive premium-class model. The Continental PremiumContact 6, priced at about 470 Euros per set, demonstrated outstanding performance on wet pavement, along with an incredibly high safety margin. In addition, the PremiumContact 6 ensures efficient dry braking, which was demonstrated by the test BMW during maneuvering.
Still more expensive than the Continental model, the Michelin Primacy 4 (540 Euros) shared the second place with the Bridgestone Turanza T005 (450 Euros). Ultimately, both scored an equal number of points, showing slightly different biases in the test disciplines. The «French» were extremely convincing with their traction (particularly on wet pavement), while the «Japanese» performed at their absolute best on dry pavement.
Also, the Auto Zeitung test experts recommend to use tires Maxxis Premitra 5 and Hankook Ventus Prime3 that occupied the fourth and the fifth positions in the final standings of the tire ranking 2020.
The Maxxis tires demonstrated only average braking efficiency on wet pavement; in all the respects, however, their performance was quite convincing. The fact that the Maxxis Premitra 5 is relatively less expensively priced than its neighbors in the tournament bracket (about 340 Euro) ensured a good price/quality ratio, and the experts bestowed the «recommended» verdict on this model without hesitation.
A slightly more expensive set of Hankook tires (390 Euro) explored its full potential where it showed the minimum stopping distance against the background of well-balanced performance and predictable road behavior.
The Vredestein Ultrac Satin model, with a similar price of 370 Euro per set, scored fewer points than the Hankook and Maxxis models, yet was still able to convince the experts with its great hydroplaning resistance, comfortable ride, and low noise emission. It scored the experts’ recommendations, just as the Falken Ziex ZE914 Ecorun model (400 Euro), which delivered good results on wet pavement. In addition, since 2020, the «green» Falken tire is manufactured in its upgraded version with lower rolling resistance and improved handling response.
The Dunlop Sport BluResponse (410 Euros for one set) scored the same number of points as the Falken tire, yet its weak traction on wet pavement cost it the «recommended» verdict. The low rolling resistance demonstrated by the Sport Blu Response was due to its lightweight construction.
Another tire that turned out to be even more fuel-efficient than the Dunlop model was Pirelli Cinturato P7 Blue (440 Euros). This was the only tire on the Auto Zeitung test to be able to reach the highest «A» class in terms of rolling resistance and wet traction by the standards of the EU tire label. Nevertheless, poor lateral stability and average wet braking could not pass unnoticed: Pirelli scored the 13th place, even falling behind the cheaper Giti GitiPremium H1 (360 Euro, 9th place), Apollo Aspire XP (350 Euro, 10th place), Yokohama BluEarth-A AE-50 (420 Euro, 11th place), and Firestone Roadhawk (400 Euros, 12th place).
The Linglong GreenMax tire, priced at 250 Euro per set, again proved that sometimes there is a large gap between objective results and subjective evaluation from the test pilots. Thi model delivered quite convincing wet braking, but its lateral stability during a sudden change of direction is insufficient.
The «clone» models Westlake SA37 (240 Euro) and Goodride SA37 (230 Euro) have in common not only the typical «Sport» name and the M+S (mud plus snow) label, but also the tread design! But then again, there are grave doubts as to whether these tires are fit to be used on winter roads. In terms of operational characteristics, Westlake was recognized as being slightly better. For some reason.
The tires Star Performer UHP 3 (240 Euro), Nankang Sportnex NS-20 (280 Euro), and Achilles ATR Sport 2 (240 Euro), were the ones that the Auto Zeitung experts named as the most unsafe summer tires 2020. On wet pavement, the Achilles tires were only able to score 50 points out of the possible 150! The only tires whose wet braking was still worse were Nankang (their stopping distance being 14.4 meters longer than that of the leader in that discipline), which can lead to deplorable consequences in an emergency situation.
Priced the same as the Nankang Sportnex NS-20, the Rotalla Setula S-Pace RU01 scored a place three lines higher in the final standings: good lateral stability and acceptable handling response on wet pavement did the trick, even though the model was also nothing special on wet pavement.
Besides the Auto Zeitung tests, there are plenty of tests performed by other industry publications available on our website: all summer tire tests.