Auto Bild begins coverage of its 2021 test by noting that motorists in its home market of Germany largely ignored winter tyres until legislation mandated their use in certain conditions. The absence of a comparable law in the UK means winter tyres remain a niche product here, yet they’re a sensible choice for some drivers, such as those living in remote areas of the country or owners of powerful vehicles.
After selecting the 20 best-performing tyres in wet and snow braking tests from a starting field of 50 candidates, the motoring magazine subjected the finalists to further evaluations in a range of situations. As well as looking at how each tyre influences handling and braking in dry, wet and snowy conditions, Auto Bild’s test team examined rolling resistance, mileage, tyre-road noise and cost factors.
The testers awarded their top ‘exemplary’ rating to four tyres, including two Michelin Group products. The new Continental WinterContact TS 870 secured first place and also became Auto Bild’s ‘eco-champion’. A further four tyres earned a ‘good’ rating, 11 were ‘satisfactory’ and one finished testing with just a ‘conditionally recommendable’ result.
Continental WinterContact TS 870 – test winner & eco-champion
+ Convincing driving characteristics in all conditions, short stopping distances, precise steering, good aquaplaning safety reserves, very good mileage potential.
Michelin Alpin 6
+ Balanced performance potential, good winter characteristics, convincing handling qualities, high mileage potential.
– Slight tendency towards understeer in the wet.
Kleber Krisalp HP3
+ Affordable brand-name tyre with good winter performance, dynamic snow handling, good aquaplaning characteristics, pleasantly low tyre-road noise.
– Slight tendency towards understeer in the wet.
+ Convincing all-round talent with dynamic driving characteristics on dry & wet surfaces, precise turn-in, low rolling resistance.
– Moderate mileage potential.
Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005
+ King of the winter with best driving performance on snow, good aquaplaning safety reserves, short stopping distances in the wet, quiet.
– Below average mileage potential.
Hankook Winter i*cept RS2
+ Top performance on snowy & wet conditions, very good aquaplaning characteristics, short wet stopping distances, affordable purchase price.
– Tendency towards understeer on dry roads.
Goodyear UltraGrip 9+
+ Convincing driving qualities in snowy & wet conditions, stable wet & snow handling, good comfort, good price-performance ratio.
– Slight tendency towards understeer on dry roads.
Dunlop Winter Sport 5
+ Dynamic driving qualities on snowy & wet surfaces, short wet & snow stopping distances, good comfort.
– Delayed steering response, moderate mileage potential.
Semperit Speed Grip 3
+Short stopping distances on snow, dynamic handling in dry conditions, quiet tyre-road noise, high mileage potential.
– Average snow performance, extended stopping distances on dry roads.
Firestone Winterhawk 4
+ Very good winter characteristics, short snow & wet stopping distances, high mileage potential, affordable purchase price.
– Understeering dry handling with extended stopping distances.
BFGoodrich G-Force Winter 2
+ Convincing driving characteristics on ice & snow, stable wet handling, good aquaplaning characteristics.
– Moderate lateral control & delayed steering response on dry roads.
Uniroyal MS Plus 77
+ Stable wet & dry handling, good aquaplaning qualities, high mileage potential.
– Moderate winter qualities with marked tendency towards understeer, lengthy wet stopping distances.
Falken Eurowinter HS01
+ Balanced performance on wet & dry surfaces, good mileage potential, safe aquaplaning qualities.
– Limited winter qualities, delayed turn-in, lengthy wet stopping distances.
Yokohama BluEarth Winter V906
+ Short stopping distances on snow, dynamic dry handling, good comfort, affordably prices.
– Understeer on snow, slightly extended stopping distances on wet surfaces, limited mileage potential.
Barum Polaris 5
+ Affordable tyre with good snow performance, high mileage potential, low rolling resistance.
– Limited aquaplaning safety reserves, extended wet & dry stopping distances.
Fulda Kristall Control HP2
+ Good traction & short braking distances on snow, very good mileage potential, affordable purchase price.
– Understeer, delayed turn-in, long wet & dry stopping distances.
Sava Eskimo HP2
+ Good traction & short stopping distances on snow, high mileage potential, affordable purchase price.
– Moderate wet grip, understeer in the wet, long stopping distances on wet & dry roads.
+ Balanced driving characteristics on dry surfaces, good mileage potential, low rolling resistance.
– Limited lateral control on snowy & wet surfaces, moderate aquaplaning reserves.
Nexen Winguard Snow G3
+ Short stopping distances on snow, low tyre-road noise, affordable purchase price.
– Understeer, low mileage potential, low aquaplaning reserves, high rolling resistance.
Rated Conditionally Recommendable
+ Convincing winter qualities, dynamic dry handling, low purchase price.
– Very limited aquaplaning characteristics, moderate lateral control in the wet, low mileage potential.