When Nexen Tire introduced its first all-season tyre in the UK a decade ago, many drivers saw these products as just an option for smaller cars with only a handful of horses under the bonnet. Product development has brought all-season tyres a long way since then, and attitudes have changed too. Nexen Tire has now launched a new generation of all-season tyre, and there’s not a single fitment for runabouts or city cars to be seen.
Instead, Nexen N blue 4 Season 2 arrives in a launch range of 22 sizes that will swell into a line-up of 105 products by the end of 2024, with all dimensions sitting within what’s recognised as the UHP segment. All tyres in the N blue 4 Season 2 line-up are for 17- to 19-inch rim diameters and come with V, W or Y speed ratings. Nexen is targeting N Blue 4 Season 2 at peppy small family hatchbacks and saloons like the BMW 1 Series and VW Golf through to upper mid-range vehicles such as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series.
About the tyre: Tread pattern
Made in Europe and aimed at driving conditions within the region, Nexen N blue 4 Season 2 has a v-shaped tread design. Ralf Flachbarth, tyre development engineer at Nexen Tire’s Europe Technical Centre, explains that this design provides good aquaplaning performance and traction in wintry conditions.
Tread blocks are of a chamfer-shaped block design, and Flachbarth says this configuration improves stability when covering both summer and winter performance. “The blocks aren’t 90 degrees, they are chamfered, and that makes the blocks more rigid and more stable for good handling performance.”
The development engineer adds that performance when braking on snowy roads is improved by the blocks’ zigzag design, which provide more biting edges and a longer block edge. “This improves overall snow performance, but especially snow braking performance.” Zigzag blocks are of a ‘depth hidden block’ design, which maintains snow performance as the tyre wears and increases mileage potential.
Finally, 3D sipe technology improves handling performance by causing the blocks to interlock. This reduces block deformation.
Ralf Flachbarth comments that customers “want a comfortable ride.” Nexen Tire kept this in mind when developing N blue 4 Season 2 and gave it a sidewall construction that absorbs shocks and vibrations.
A jointless cap-ply minimises deformation at high speed. “A jointless construction was important as we’re concentrating on high speed indices,” notes Flachbarth.
A high strength steel belt is present to increase braking performance with an optimised belt angle, while a high strength casing increases durability and decreases tyre deformation.
The tyre has a jointless bead wire and high stiffness bead filler. “This is the contact part of the rim, and if you have stiff contact to the rim, you have good feedback to the driver. It improves stability and response by optimised bead structure.”
Flachbarth emphasises that one of the most important things for all-season tyres – and something that’s more complex than with a summer or a winter tyre – is the compound. “An all-season compound must be flexible at low temperatures but give stability at higher temperatures. Achieving this is a very demanding job for our compounders. But they developed a compound that gives us exactly this performance: Flexibility at low temperatures to improve snow and ice performance, but to maintain handling performance, good stability at higher temperatures.” Braking in wet and dry conditions is enhanced by use of a high resin silica compound technology.
Prior-generation tyre for smaller sizes
Although the new tyre’s focus is squarely on the UHP segment, Nexen Tire has by no means turned its back on drivers of small cars who wish to fit all-season tyres. The Nexen N Blue 4 Season will continue to be the brand’s all-season tyre for sizes in the 16-inch and below range.