225/40R18

Tyre Reviews: Winter Tire Test R18

The new TR test involved tires ranging from the cheap Imperial to the premium-class newcomer from Continental.
List of models tested:

In 2021, Tyre Reviews conducted an already traditional test of European winter tires, this time around comparing nine models in size 225/40 R18, designed for such cars as Audi A3 and A4, BMW 1- and 3-Series, Volkswagen Golf R, and similar ones. So far, the British Internet portal has only tested tires designed for mild European winters, but, possibly, next year we will see a test of Scandinavian tires as well.

Dry

The handling test was conducted at a temperature of 2,5–3°C, and the worst results were shown by the Dunlop and Goodyear models, which behaved in a controllable and predictable manner, but, according to the TR experts, both lacked adequate grip. A higher position was occupied by Hankook which demonstrated a fuzzy steering response, and lacked lateral stability, but at the same time had a rather short stopping distance, while the GT Radial model showed good traction when exiting a maneuver but was losing time in the middle of the curve.

Test discipline: dry handling
Test discipline: dry handling

Places from fifth to third were scored by Bridgestone, Continental, and Nokian, which had an approximately identical grip level, but the best results at high speeds were shown by the Nokian model, which demonstrated excellent lateral stability and predictable handling response. The second line in the tournament bracket was occupied by the budget Imperial model, which demonstrated a less-than-perfect braking performance but surpassed almost all of the competitors in terms of side slipping resistance. And, finally, first place was scored by the premium Michelin model, which almost came close to summer tires, demonstrating an excellent grip, both straight and lateral.

Dry Handling

Summer
44.7
Michelin
44.8
Imperial
45.1
Nokian
45.3
Continental
45.5
Bridgestone
45.6
GT Radial
45.7
Hankook
45.8
Dunlop
46.0
Goodyear
46.0

Info! Lap time, sec.


In the braking test, Michelin again proved its leadership, its stopping distance (when braking from 100 to 5 km/h) being more than a meter shorter than that of the Hankook tire, which came second. Third place was scored by the Continental WinterContact TS 870 P — a newcomer of this season.

Wet

The wet test was also conducted in cold weather, and this time the Imperial model could not repeat the impressive performance that it demonstrated on dry pavement, scoring the last place and lagging 10% behind the leader in the handling test. «You need to be constantly waiting for the grip to resume, and you get a feeling of constantly gliding, and rather feel like a passenger — noted Jonathan Benson, the founder of TR — Not recommended».

The next group included the Nokian, GT Radial, and Dunlop models, which fell short of the leader by about 5%. As TR noted, the Nokian and Dunlop tires were slightly prone to understeer, which, combined with weak traction, negatively affected their overall results, while with the GT Radial model you had to make a lot of effort to show a good lap time.

Test discipline: wet handling
Test discipline: wet handling

The models that came closer to the leader than the others were Continental, Michelin, and Goodyear (-1.5% compared to the leader). The Continental model boasts excellent lateral grip, but falls a little bit short in terms of straight traction and has a fuzzy steering response, while the Michelin model, although it does provide a better steering response, has relatively weak traction during acceleration. As for the Goodyear model, it lets you feel really confident behind the wheel with just a slight hint at understeer.

The second place was scored by the Hankook model, about which TR said that subjectively these were the best tires on test because they ensured excellent grip in all directions, and were totally great on the Volkswagen Golf 8, as if these were the OEM tires — which positively affected the lap time.

Wet Handling

Bridgestone
49.09
Hankook
49.70
Goodyear
49.76
Michelin
49.80
Continental
49.94
Dunlop
50.72
GT Radial
51.31
Nokian
51.31
Summer
51.39
Imperial
54.60

Info! Lap time, sec.


The first place on the wet track, however, was scored by the Bridgestone model, which significantly surpassed its rivals in such conditions, while the summer tires, when tested at low temperatures, predictably had problems.

The Bridgestone was the fastest to stop the car on wet pavement, followed by Continental and Hankook, the latter again showing a good result almost on a par with summer tires. The stopping distance demonstrated by the Imperial model when braking from 80 to 5 km/h turned out to be 10 meters longer than that of the Bridgestone model, which in real life can lead to deplorable consequences.

In the hydroplaning resistance tests (straight and lateral), the balance of power changed a little, but on the whole the best tires were again Continental, Goodyear, and Hankook.

Snow

The coronavirus pandemic keeps on upsetting everybody’s plans, and, due to travel restriction, Benson could not make it to the Nokian test facility in order to personally conduct the snow tests, and because of that an independent Finnish test pilot was hired. The snow handling test was won by the Michelin model, about which the pilot said that it had the highest overall traction on test: «It feels like a Nordic tire». The Goodyear model, which came second, was commended for well-balanced performance and good traction on the front axle, regardless of the steering angle. According to the pilot, the tire was slightly prone to oversteer, but then again, this came in handy in corners.

Test discipline: snow handling
Test discipline: snow handling

The third place was scored by the Hankook tire, which also had stable traction on both axles; then came Continental without a trace of oversteer.

Snow Handling

Michelin
44.7
Goodyear
44.8
Hankook
45.1
Continental
45.3
Dunlop
45.5
Nokian
45.6
Bridgestone
45.7
Imperial
45.8
GT Radial
46.0
Summer
46.0

Info! Lap time, sec.


In the traction tests during acceleration and braking, the tires showed almost identical results, Michelin, Goodyear, and Hankook being the best in the first case, Michelin, Nokian, and Continental in the second.

The lateral stability tests revealed a group of tires with a less-than-perfect performance, which included the Bridgestone, Dunlop, Imperial and GT Radial models, with Michelin scoring first place, thus winning in all the four snow disciplines.

Environment / Comfort

The quietest tire on test (the external noise was measured) turned out to be the Nokian model; also, good results were shown by Michelin and Continental.

Noise

Nokian
68.6
Michelin
69.4
Continental
69.8
Imperial
70.2
Bridgestone
70.5
GT Radial
70.6
Dunlop
71.2
Summer
71.5
Goodyear
72.1
Hankook
73.2

Info! The noise level, db(A).


The TR experts also made subjective evaluations of ride comfort, and the best tires in this area were pronounced to be the Dunlop, Goodyear, and Continental models.

The lowest rolling resistance was demonstrated by Bridgestone and Continental, which, as the TR experts noted, is particularly impressive considering their excellent wet performance.

225/40R18 winter tire test summary Tyre Reviews, 2021. Places 1–9.
225/40R18 winter tire test summary Tyre Reviews, 2021. Places 1–9. Click to enlarge.

The Verdict

The first place in the final standings was scored by two models, one of them being the new Continental WinterContact TS 870 P, which performed very well in all of the disciplines, its worst results being the fifth place in the wet handling test (where the tires did not fell so much behind the leader anyway), and in the snow traction test. Otherwise, the Continental model demonstrated excellent performance with no prominent issues found, and, therefore, it can be arguably considered to be one of the best on the market.

Gold was also won by the Michelin tire, which not only was the best in the dry handling and braking tests, but also turned out to be one of the quietest models on test and demonstrated a very low rolling resistance. On the downside, the Michelin model lost a few points in the very important wet braking test, and, although this tire is extremely resistant to straight hydroplaning, it has a much harder time dispelling water from the tread in corners. On the whole, according to Benson, this Michelin will be quite a good choice for regions with frequent snowfalls.

The third line of the tournament bracket is occupied by Korea’s Hankook, which this year scored excellent results in several independent European tests. The few issues with the Hankook Winter i*cept evo3 model consisted in increased noise, increased rolling resistance, and an average handling response in the dry, while otherwise, including on snow, this tire demonstrated results way above average.

This time around, the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 was an indisputable leader on wet pavement, but its grip on dry pavement and on snow was a little bit weaker, which means that this is a tire with an unbalanced performance, which, nonetheless, will be quite a good choice for regions with rainy climate. The Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+ also demonstrated a just as unbalanced performance, being good on wet tarmac and snow, but falling behind the leaders in the dry, while the Dunlop WinterSport 5 from the same manufacturer, on the other hand, was pretty good in all of the disciplines with the sole exception of the dry handling test. At the same time, the Dunlop model demonstrated a rather low level of traction.

The Nokian Snowproof P scored only the seventh place this time around, the main reason for that being its poor wet performance, where it was not particularly effective regardless of the depth of the water layer. Then comes the GT Radial WinterPro2 Sport, which could not score a place any higher in this test, while the poorest results were predictably shown by the Imperial Snowdragon UHP (a private brand owned by the Belgian trade company Deldo). Incidentally, the Imperial model demonstrated excellent handling response in the dry, and it wasn’t the noisiest tire on test, but in all the other disciplines its performance was downright poor, and its braking distance was dangerously long.

1st place: Continental WinterContact TS 870 P

Quick Take
89 44

Continental WinterContact TS 870 P

Comfort Handling Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Continental WinterContact TS 870 P

  • Excellent results in all of the disciplines, no prominent issues found
  • Slightly delayed steering response
  • Exemplary/Winner of the test

1st place: Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

Quick Take
92 44

Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

Comfort Handling Treadwear Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • This tire replaced Michelin / Pilot Alpin PA4
  • Available Sizes in Line: 167
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG
    • • Audi A8 D5 [2018 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2014
  • Regions for sale: USA+, Canada, Europe, Russia+, Japan
Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

  • Excellent dry and snow performance
  • Very high resistance to straight hydroplaning
  • Low noise emission
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Relatively long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Poor resistance to lateral hydroplaning
  • High price
  • Exemplary/Winner of the test

3rd place: Hankook Winter i*cept evo3 W330

Quick Take
90 40

Hankook Winter i*cept evo3 W330

Comfort Price/Quality Dry Performance Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Hankook Winter i*cept evo3 W330

  • Short braking distance on dry pavement
  • Excellent performance and the highest subjective evaluation for wet handling response
  • Goog snow grip
  • Insufficient handling response in the dry
  • High noise emission
  • High rolling resistance
  • Recommended

4th place: Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Quick Take
90 57

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

Price/Quality Wet Performance Dry Performance Comfort Handling Snow/Ice Performance Treadwear
  • This tire replaced Bridgestone / Blizzak LM001 Evo
  • Available Sizes in Line: 208
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Audi e-tron [2019 .. 2021]
    • • Volkswagen T-Cross [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Audi A3 8Y [2020 .. 2022]
    • • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Br205 [2015 .. 2022]
    • • Volkswagen Caddy V [2020 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

  • Very short braking distance and great handling response on wet pavement
  • Very high lateral hydroplaning resistance
  • Very low rolling resistance
  • Long braking distance on dry pavement
  • Weak snow traction

5th place: Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+

Quick Take
88 57

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+

Price/Quality Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Dry Performance Treadwear Comfort
  • This tire replaced Goodyear / UltraGrip Performance Gen-1
  • Available Sizes in Line: 118
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Puma J2K [2019 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Focus Active IV [2018 .. 2022]
    • • Ford Mondeo MK5 (CD391) Facelift [2017 .. 2019]
    • • Ford S-MAX II [2015 .. 2020]
    • • Ford Galaxy III [2015 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+, China
Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+

  • Good grip on wet pavement
  • Excellent hydroplaning resistance
  • Excellent snow grip
  • Insufficient handling response in the dry
  • High noise emission
  • High rolling resistance

6th place: Dunlop Winter Sport 5

Quick Take
82 59
Price/Quality Wet Performance Snow/Ice Performance Handling Comfort Treadwear Dry Performance
  • This tire replaced Dunlop / SP Winter Sport 4D
  • Available Sizes in Line: 107
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Hyundai i30 N PD [2017 .. 2022]
  • Recommended Tire by Tests
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
Dunlop Winter Sport 5

  • Good results in most of the disciplines
  • Good hydroplaning resistance
  • High traction on snow
  • Good handling response in the dry
  • High external noise
  • High rolling resistance

7th place: Nokian WR Snowproof P

Quick Take
72 35
  • This tire replaced Nokian / WR A4
  • Available Sizes in Line: 54
  • Original Equipment (OE) tires for:
    • • Ford Mustang VI (S550) [2015 .. 2017]
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe
Nokian WR Snowproof P

  • Good results on dry pavement
  • High traction and good lateral stability on snow
  • Extremely low noise emission
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Weak grip on wet pavement
  • Low hydroplaning resistance

8th place: GT Radial WinterPro2 Sport

Quick Take
N/A 26

GT Radial WinterPro 2 Sport

  • Year Released: 2020
  • Regions for sale: Europe, Russia+
GT Radial WinterPro 2 Sport

  • Acceptable results on dry pavement
  • Attractive price
  • Long braking distance on wet pavement
  • Poor hydroplaning resistance
  • Weak snow traction
  • High rolling resistance

9th place: Imperial Snowdragon UHP

Quick Take
N/A 16

Imperial Snowdragon UHP

  • Available Sizes in Line: 14
  • Year Released: 2012
  • Regions of sales: unknown
Imperial Snowdragon UHP

  • Great handling on dry pavement
  • Low noise emission
  • Low price
  • Long braking distance in any conditions
  • Poor lateral stability and weak overall wet traction
  • Weak snow traction
  • High rolling resistance
Price