Not all sports car drivers want to compete in track day events, with fast but comfortable a greater priority for many. With this in mind, German car magazine sport auto used two vehicles for its 2021 summer tyre test. The chosen duo were the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4, cars that share a platform and come equipped with the same-sized tyres, but are developed to satisfy different customer requirements.
The cars are fitted with size 255/35 R19 tyres at the front and 275/35 R19 on the rear axle, and the sport auto test team found just eight tyre brands that offer products in both dimensions. They tested each to see how it performed in dry conditions (these tests contributed 50% towards the final score) as well as in the wet (40%), and they also looked at environmental factors (10%).
Five of the eight tyres earned sport auto’s highest ‘very good’ rating, with only a paper-thin gap between the test winner and runner-up.
5 ‘very good’ tyres
Michelin Pilot 4S – test winner
Strengths: Very short stopping distances on wet and dry asphalt, high levels of grip, very direct and precise steering in dry conditions, low rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: Very narrow performance threshold with a tendency (albeit easy to control) towards understeer in the wet, slight shortcoming in ride comfort.
Bridgestone Potenza Sport
Strengths: Very high levels of grip on wet and (in particular) dry roads, direct and precise steering in the dry.
Weaknesses: Sensitive to changes of load in wet conditions, elevated risk of aquaplaning when cornering, elevated rolling resistance.
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5
Strengths: Good natured, easy to control tyre in the wet, forgiving yet agile dry handling, high stability, low rolling resistance and good ride comfort.
Weaknesses: Steering response not very dynamic, elevated tyre/road noise.
Continental SportContact 6
Strengths: Balanced performance in wet and dry conditions, albeit with a slightly lengthy wet stopping distance, very low rolling resistance, good ride comfort.
Weaknesses: Minor deficit in wet braking.
Falken Azenis FK510
Strengths: Good to very good wet weather performance aside from a slight aquaplaning-related weakness when cornering.
Weaknesses: Sluggish steering response and reduced cornering characteristics in the dry, slight issues with ride comfort, elevated rolling resistance.
A ‘good’ tyre
Maxxis Victra Sport 5
Strengths: Good braking performance in wet and dry conditions, safe when cornering at speed (with minor limitations), an easily-masterable tendency towards handling understeer on dry roads.
Weaknesses: Narrow performance threshold in the wet, aquaplaning protection could be better.
2 ‘adequate’ tyres
Nankang Sportex AS 2+
Strengths: Mostly safe in the wet, marked understeer with reduced levels of grip, excellent aquaplaning safety.
Weaknesses: Not very sporty driving behaviour with sluggish steering, weak steering precision and poor grip, comparatively long stopping distances and weak cornering grip in the wet, marked down due to lengthy stopping distances on dry roads.
Toyo Proxes Sport A
Strengths: Mainly balanced performance, albeit with reduced levels of grip, strong aquaplaning safety.
Weaknesses: Limited steering precision and an increased tendency towards oversteer when cornering in dry conditions, significantly long dry stopping distances, marked down due to lengthy stopping distances on wet roads.