Auto Bild’s top winter tyres for 2019/20

Published by Stephen Goodchild
26th September 2019
Auto Bild’s top winter tyres for 2019/20

Auto Bild has published the results of its 2019 winter tyre test. As expected, premium brands dominate the victors’ podium. But that’s not to say the test didn’t deliver a surprise or two. Tyre maker Apollo Vredestein has particular reason to like this year’s results: Two of its products achieved the top ‘exemplary’ rating.

The motoring magazine comprehensively tested the 20 best-braking size 225/45 R17 tyres from the 53-strong start line-up. A BMW 1 Series performed the wet, dry and snow tests. Auto Bild also evaluated cost-related factors such as mileage potential, value for money and rolling resistance.

Six ‘exemplary’ tyres
Continental WinterContact TS 860:

This year’s test winner is the 2018 runner-up. The Continental tyre rolled to victory by showing the “best driving characteristics in every weather condition”. Auto Bild’s testers singled out several qualities for particular praise: Direct steering response, stable lateral control, good efficiency, high mileage potential and low rolling resistance.

Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+:

Second place belongs to Goodyear, with its winter tyre lauded for “exemplary driving characteristics on wet and snowy surfaces”. Auto Bild says the tyre offers precise steering response, dynamic handling in the wet and on snow, short braking distances in the wet and on snow, and high mileage potential.

Michelin Alpin 6:

You want an “exemplary winter tyre with top performance on snow and in the wet”? Then this may be the tyre for you. Auto Bild’s testers say the Alpin 6 doesn’t easily aquaplane and has precise steering, short stopping distances in the wet, good ride comfort as well as the best mileage potential and efficiency of the 20 tested tyres.

Apollo Aspire XP Winter:

The first of two Apollo Vredestein tyres to gain Auto Bild’s top rating. The Apollo tyre may have missed out on a podium finish, but it nevertheless received the testers’ hearty approval. They said this “inexpensive winter tyre with balanced performance potential” offers stable wet and dry handling, short stopping distances in the wet and on snow and good aquaplaning safety reserves. The Aspire XP Winter also gained kudos for being the best value for money.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM005:

“Good driving characteristics on wet and dry surfaces”. Auto Bild also credits the Bridgestone tyre with dynamic wet and dry handling and good steering precision. The testers’ sole criticism was a no better than average level of lateral control on snow.

Vredestein Wintrac Pro:

Another good result for Apollo Vredestein. Auto Bild describes the Wintrac Pro as a “new winter pattern with convincing driving characteristics on wet and dry surfaces”. The Wintrac Pro delivered dynamic wet handling and safe winter qualities. But as with the Bridgestone tyre, levels of lateral control on snow were just average.

Eight ‘good’ tyres
BF Goodrich g-Force Winter 2:

“An affordable brand-name tyre with excellent winter and wet characteristics.” Auto Bild highlights the BF Goodrich tyre’s aquaplaning reserves, low ride noise and good mileage. Dry grip was described as “average”, however.

Semperit Speed Grip 3:

The Auto Bild testers describe the Semperit tyre as a “convincing all round talent with good winter characteristics.” Specific strong points are stable wet handling, low ride noise and low rolling resistance. On the downside, the Speed Grip 3’s protection against aquaplaning was no better than average and its stopping distance in dry conditions was on the long side.

Hankook Winter i*cept RS²:

“The winter king with the best driving performance on snow”. His Majesty also delivers harmonious dry handling, decent mileage and good affordability. Less regal qualities include average lateral control and steering precision in wet conditions.

Uniroyal MS Plus 77:

Auto Bild says the MS Plus 77 displays “stable driving characteristics in all weather conditions.” Lateral control is good and rolling resistance low. The Uniroyal tyre is also affordably priced. The testers thought the tyre’s stopping distance in the dry was slightly too long, however.

Nexen Winguard Sport 2:

The testers’ verdict was largely positive. They described the Nexen product as a “balanced winter tyre with stable driving characteristics in all weather conditions”. Stopping distance on snow was short. Tyre noise is low, as is purchase price. The Winguard Sport 2’s shortcomings were a longer than desired stopping distance in dry conditions and elevated rolling resistance.

Fulda Kristall Control HP2:

This Goodyear tyre brand offers “balanced characteristics”, says Auto Bild. Ride comfort is good and rolling resistance low. The Fulda tyre provides good aquaplaning safety reserves and is competitively priced. The testers found lateral control in the wet and snow to be somewhat mediocre, however.

Nokian WR Snowproof:

“A Nordic winter pattern with sporty-dynamic snow characteristics.” The Nokian tyre also offers good, quiet ride comfort and low rolling resistance. On the down side, wet grip is just average and aquaplaning safety mediocre.

Yokohama BluEarth Winter (V905):

Auto Bild found a number of things to like about the Yokohama tyre, including high amounts of traction on snow, short stopping distance in the wet, stable, safe handling on dry surfaces and low rolling resistance. Not everything in the garden was rosy, however. A slight understeer was detected during the wet handling tests, and aquaplaning was an area of weakness.

Four ‘satisfactory’ tyres
Kleber Krisalp HP3:

Auto Bild reports that the Kleber tyre is “very good on snow”, with dynamic handling and short stopping distances. The Krisalp HP3 also provided good aquaplaning safety. The tyre had a tendency towards understeer, however, and braking distances in the dry were longer than expected. Mileage potential wasn’t great, either.

Dunlop Winter Sport 5:

While its Goodyear sibling finished the test as runner-up and the Fulda tyre joint 12th, the Winter Sport 5 found itself in 16th place. Auto Bild calls the Dunlop product a “snow specialist” and praises its good traction and short stopping distances on this surface as well as its good aquaplaning safety. But the tyre tended towards understeer in the wet and dry handling tests, and stopping distances in the dry were slightly longer than they should have been.

Sava Eskimo HP2:

In the Eskimo HP2, Auto Bild found a tyre that offers dynamic handling and short braking distances on snow-covered surfaces as well as good rolling resistance. The Sava tyre also impressed with its price. On the downside, the tyre performed satisfactorily – but not better than this – on wet and dry surfaces. Mileage potential was limited as well.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3:

The Pirelli tyre gave stable lateral control and short stopping distances on wet surfaces, and rolling resistance was low. Performance on snow was just average, however, and Auto Bild says the Sottozero 3 provides mediocre comfort and limited mileage potential.

Two ‘conditionally recommended’ tyres
Debica Frigo HP2:

The testers call the Frigo HP2 a “winter specialist with top snow qualities”. They also gave the tyre’s ride comfort and efficiency the thumbs-up. But lateral control is limited and understeer present on wet and dry surfaces, and the tyre emitted a loud noise when driven.

Kumho Winter Craft WP 71:

Stopping distances in the wet and on snow were short, and the testers judged the tyre’s wet handling safe. In addition, ride noise is low. Levels of dry grip were mediocre, however, potential mileage just average and rolling resistance high.