Auto Bild Sportscars winter test: 3 exemplary performers

Published by Stephen Goodchild
4th November 2021
Auto Bild Sportscars winter test: 3 exemplary performers

Performance car magazine Auto Bild Sportscars has evaluated a dozen brands in its 2021 winter tyre test and also looked at an all-season tyre and a summer tyre for comparative purposes. It chose the front axle size 225/45 R18 and rear size 245/40 R18, testing these on a Mercedes C-Class for performance in dry, wet and snowy conditions.

The inclusion of a summer fitment was particularly interesting in light of Auto Bild Sportscars’ accompanying comment that although summer tyres have evolved into extreme asphalt grippers over the past few decades and offer braking distances that were technically unfeasible even just a few years ago, these products struggle to gain sufficient grip once the temperature drops below 5º Celsius. The obvious question is – how much of a drawback is this in everyday driving?

While the German publication disclosed the identity of the all-season tyre it tested alongside the winter tyres (Vredestein Quatrac Pro), it didn’t name the summer tyre, nor did it give the tyre a final score. This is a shame as although performing poorly on snow, it delivered wholly respectable results in the wet and dry – the sort of conditions typically encountered during UK winters.

Returning our focus to the test candidates, Auto Bild Sportscars’ testers concluded that winter tyres have never been as good as they are today. They gave three of the tested dozen an ‘exemplary’ rating in acknowledgement of their balanced performance and ample safety reserves in all conditions.

Rated exemplary

Hankook Winter i*cept evo3 – joint test winner
+ Excellent performance on snowy & wet roads, good aquaplaning safety reserves, dynamic handling and short braking distances on snowy & wet roads, very good value for money.

Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 – joint test winner
+ Exemplary driving characteristics in all weather conditions, precise steering behaviour, short braking distances.
High price.

Vredestein Wintrac Pro
+ Convincing all-rounder with very good winter & wet qualities, stable wet & dry handling, affordably priced.
Ride comfort only average.

Rated good

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005
+ Snow specialist with convincing performance on wet and dry surfaces, short wet braking distances, precise wet & dry handling.
Mediocre aquaplaning characteristics.

Dunlop Winter Sport 5
+ Excellent performance on snowy roads, short wet & dry braking distances, pleasant ride comfort, low rolling resistance.
Understeer on dry roads.

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+
+ Winter specialist with sporty driving characteristics on mud and snow, good aquaplaning qualities, low rolling resistance.
Understeer on dry roads.

Continental WinterContact TS 850 P
+ Balanced winter tyre with safe driving characteristics in all weather conditions, dynamic wet handling, short wet braking distances.
Lengthy dry braking distances.

Rated satisfactory

BFGoodrich G-force Winter 2
+ A ‘winter king’ with top driving characteristics on snow, low drive-by noise.
Wet grip only average, slightly lengthened wet braking distances.

Falken Eurowinter HS01
+ Convincing driving characteristics on ice & snow, good aquaplaning qualities.
Delayed steering response and understeer in the wet.

Nexen Winguard Sport 2
+ Stable dry handling, low ride noise, affordable purchase price.
Extended wet braking distances, mediocre lateral control on snowy surfaces.

Rated conditionally recommendable

Toyo Snowprox S954
+ Good aquaplaning safety reserves, dynamic dry handling.
Winter characteristics just satisfactory, understeer in wet conditions.

Not recommendable

Nankang Winter Activa NK Snow SV-2
+ Good aquaplaning qualities.
Limited grip on ice & snow, dangerously lengthy wet braking distances, strong understeer in wet conditions.