Performance tyres for compact cars – Auto Bild test

Published by Stephen Goodchild
23rd April 2021
Performance tyres for compact cars – Auto Bild test

While anyone who thinks ride comfort the be-all and end-all should steer clear of low profile, higher rim diameter tyres, motorists wanting a more dynamic driving experience will benefit from a couple of extra inches and a flatter sidewall. Auto Bild can help decide what tyre to buy, too. It has tested size 235/35 R19 tyres suitable for sporty compact cars such as the VW Golf GTI, Audi S3 and Seat Leon Cupra.

Using the last of these as test vehicle, the German publication evaluated the performance of 15 brands of tyre in wet and dry conditions. It also rated their rolling resistance, ride comfort and noise characteristics. Auto Bild awarded its ‘exemplary’ rating to four of these tyres.

This top-rated quartet was amongst the priciest products tested, so their pleasing qualities shouldn’t surprise us all too much. Similarly, the two cheapest tyres were also the pair judged ‘not recommendable’ – but Auto Bild nonetheless shows that anyone seeking recommendable tyres at a reasonable price will find them.

Exemplary

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – Test winner
Strengths: Top sporty tyre with precise steering & dynamic handling, shortest braking distance on wet & dry surfaces, good comfort, low rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: High purchase price.

Bridgestone Potenza Sport
Strengths: New design with direct steering & balanced driving behaviour, excellent dry handling, short wet & dry braking distances.
Weaknesses: Slightly elevated tyre/road noise.

Continental SportContact 6
Strengths: Balanced sport tyre with safe handling qualities & precise steering, short wet & dry stopping distances, low tyre/road noise.
Weaknesses: High purchase price.

Pirelli P Zero PZ4
Strengths: Convincing handling characteristics on wet & dry surfaces, high levels of grip, precise turn-in, short dry braking distances.
Weaknesses: Elevated rolling resistance.

Good

Hankook Ventus S1 evo3
Strengths: Balanced sport tyre with safe handling characteristics, precise steering, good aquaplaning safety, short dry braking distances, affordable purchase price.
Weaknesses: Slightly long wet braking distances.

Vredestein Ultrac Vorti
Strengths: All-round talent with precise handling characteristics on wet roads, stable lateral control, short dry braking distances, good value for money.
Weaknesses: Elevated rolling resistance.

Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2
Strengths: Sport tyre with high-performance potential, stable wet & dry handling, good aquaplaning safety, short dry braking distances.
Weaknesses: Slightly long wet braking distances.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5
Strengths: Good aquaplaning safety reserves, short wet & dry braking distances, good grip & handling on wet surfaces.
Weaknesses: Slight understeer when handling in the dry.

Maxxis Victra Sport VS 5
Strengths: Affordable tyre with good aquaplaning safety reserves & safe handling, short dry braking distances, good comfort.
Weaknesses: Lengthy wet braking distances.

Satisfactory

Kleber Dynaxer UHP
Strengths: Short dry braking distances, low rolling resistance, affordably priced.
Weaknesses: Just satisfactory in wet conditions, understeer in the dry.

Conditionally recommendable

Toyo Proxes Sport A
Strengths: New model with dynamic, precise handling in the wet, short dry braking distances, affordably priced.
Weaknesses: Dangerously lengthy braking distances in the wet, understeer in dry conditions.

Nokian Powerproof
Strengths: Stable lateral control on wet surfaces, short dry braking distances, low purchase price.
Weaknesses: Stopping distance too long on wet surfaces, strong understeer in the wet & dry.

Barum Bravuris 5HM
Strengths: Low rolling resistance, affordable purchase price.
Weaknesses: Braking distances too long in wet & dry conditions, limited lateral control & mediocre grip on wet surfaces, spongy steering response.

Not recommendable

Syron Premium Performance
Strengths: Low purchase price, low rolling resistance.
Weaknesses: Low levels of grip on wet surfaces, wet braking distances too long, strong understeer, spongy steering, loud tyre/road noise.

Berlin Tires Summer UHP1
Strengths: Low tyre/road noise.
Weaknesses: Critical driving characteristics & considerably lengthy braking distances on wet & dry surfaces, low aquaplaning safety reserves.

“Where there’s a lot of light, there is a lot of shadow,” concludes Auto Bild. “Rarely have the differences between the candidates been as great as in this comparison. With their top products, the innovative premium manufacturers show what is possible with the latest technology and, in addition to the joy of driving, offer additional safety reserves at a high level. On the other hand, it is better to keep your hands off the candidates at the end of the table.”