When it comes to tyres the term ultra-high-performance has lost some of its cachet, but in doing so has grown in significance. No longer synonymous with the supercar posters found in many a teenaged bedroom in the 70s and 80s, chances are good that UHP tyres are available for the car you drive. Evidence of the UHP tyre segment’s evolution into the volume market can be seen in our long-list, which includes products ranging from strictly performance-oriented tyres to those with a greater emphasis on comfort and economy. Today’s super and hypercars run on UUHP (no prizes for guessing what the second ‘U’ stands for) rubber, and these products are also included in this category.
The WhatTyre Tyre of the Year Awards offer an authoritative ranking of the best tyres out there. Following on from the publication of our long-lists for the SUV and summer categories, we now present our nominations for the UHP tyre segment.
Methodology – how we did it
Before sharing the identities of the best-performing UHP tyres, a few words on how we generated the long-list. A vast number of UHP tyres are sold in the UK, and as is the case for the other tyre market segments we’ve looked at so far, there is a sizeable difference in performance between the top and the bottom of the market. From the beginning, WhatTyre’s goal has been to help drivers “find the best tyres for you,” so when it came to selecting award nominees, WhatTyre’s unique TyreScore comparison algorithm was our first port of call.
As anyone familiar with WhatTyre knows, the journey begins with tyre size. Once this information is entered, the system generates a list of the highest-scoring tyres on the market. This basically turns the tyre performance label that every product is legally obliged to carry into a series of numbers. These are weighted in favour of wet grip and fuel consumption – as most motorists place more importance upon a tyre’s ability to stop and how much it costs to run than they do on pass-by noise. From here, the scores are cross-referenced with our unique database of thousands of tyre test results from specialist magazines and motoring clubs across Europe. Again, these results are turned into digits which are then processed along with label scores in order generate a meta-score, which we call the TyreScore. A key advantage of this approach is that it boils down all the different data points into a single figure that provides a good starting point for our market comparison.
But what sizes did we start with and why? In order to tune our long-list to the UHP segment, we identified three popular UHP car tyre sizes in the UK (245/45 R18, 245/35 R19, 265/35 R20) with a Y or higher speed rating and repeated the WhatTyre comparison process across all three. When the same tyre generated different scores in different sizes, we took the highest scoring value to represent the range. From here, we further specified that tyres had to achieve a TyreScore of at least eight or a TyreScore of at least seven and a recommendation from at least one of the reputable third-party magazine tyre tests represented in our database. In order to keep things current, we only looked at tyres tested since 2019. Any product receiving an explicit non-recommendation in a tyre test during this period has been taken out of the running.
In cases where retailers continue to offer prior generations of a tyre line alongside its current-generation counterpart, we have chosen the latest product as representative.
Joint fourth in Auto Bild Sportscar’s 2021 test and rated ‘exemplary’ in the same publication’s 2018 comparative review, the Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R was developed in close collaboration with the Italian design company Giugiaro. With a ‘BC’ label rating for wet grip and rolling resistance in size 295/30 R19 100Y, the Ultrac Vorti R joins our long-list with a TyreScore of 7.88
The first of two Goodyear-branded products to find a place on our long-list is the Eagle F1 Supersport. This UUHP tyre was introduced in 2019 and achieved victory in the very first tyre test it contested. Grip in both wet and dry conditions is a priority – as expected from a UUHP – and takes priority over considerations such as economy. Thus, the Eagle F1 Supersport has an ‘AC’ rating for wet grip and rolling resistance (we looked at size 245/45 R18 100Y). TyreScore is 7.98.
Finding a place on our list with a TyreScore of 8.03 in size 245/35 R19 93Y, the Sava Intensa UHP 2 comes from the Goodyear tyre family. Sava describes this as a tyre that’s “friendly to your wallet and doesn’t cut corners on performance.” The Intensa UHP 2 has ‘AC’ label grades for wet grip and rolling resistance in the size we looked at, as well as a number of tyre test recommendations.
Nokian Tyres worked with former F1 world champion Mika Häkkinen during product testing of its latest-generation UHP tyre, the Nokian Powerproof. Now on the market for two years in 17- to 20-inch rim diameter fitments and W and Y speed ratings, the Powerproof has a TyreScore of 8.08 in the size 245/35 R19 93Y that we looked at.
Falken says the Azenis FK510 is its best-selling tyre, and sales have no doubt been helped by a raft of tyre test recommendations over the past five years. We looked at the Azenis FK510 in 265/35 R20 99Y; thanks to its test performance and ‘AC’ wet grip and rolling resistance grades, the it has a TyreScore of 8.11.
Hankook’s Ventus S1 Evo 3 is available in 17 to 22-inch sizes that fit vehicles from the Mercedes A series right up to the likes of Lamborghini. In the selected 245/45 R18 100Y dimension it has ‘AC’ wet grip and rolling resistance grades and a TyreScore of 8.25.
Keeping the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport company on our long-list is the UHP Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5. Goodyear conceived the range as the “ultimate all-round summer tyre,” and when launched in 2019 it was already approved for factory fitment on cars ranging from the VW Golf to Porsche 911. Test recommendations and ‘AC’ grades in the selected size 245/35 R19 93Y contribute towards a TyreScore of 8.41.
Michelin promotes the mix of grip, control and durability that the Pilot Sport 4S offers as “road exhilaration made to last,” and it seems this exhilaration is shared by many. Following strong reviews last year, 2021 has started well for the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, with this successor to the Pilot Super Sport crowned winner of the sport auto tyre test and rated exemplary by Auto Bild Sportscars. Grip and handling are priority and this is reflected in the tyre’s ‘AC’ label rating for wet grip and rolling resistance. The Pilot Sport 4S has a TyreScore of 8.41.
The Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 has been around for five years now but still delivers strong performance alongside newer competition. Recent test results include 6th out of 17 tyres in the ADAC summer 2021 test (size 225/50 R17Y). The Dunlop tyre’s label rating for wet grip and rolling resistance is ‘AB’, and the Sport Maxx RT2 is also a very quiet tyre, with its 68dB result earning it a single black soundwave. It has a TyreScore of 8.91.
The UHP tyre with the highest TyreScore is admittedly not a name on everyone’s lips, but the Fulda Sportcontrol 2 has a lot going for it. One of four tyres from the Goodyear family on our list, the Sportcontrol 2 was launched in 2017 with the promise of “high quality German technology at a wallet-friendly price” that doesn’t compromise on performance. The Sportcontrol 2 gained a couple of test recommendations in 2020 and has an ‘AB’ rating for wet grip and rolling resistance, along with a single black soundwave in the 245/45 R18 100Y size we looked at. TyreScore is 9.09.
Conspicuously absent from this year’s long-list is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport. It arrived on the market too late for consideration but this successor to the Potenza S001 has nonetheless impressed since its launch towards the end of 2020, claiming victory in the Auto Bild Sportscars 2021 summer test and finishing runner-up in the sport auto test. We anticipate seeing the Potenza Sport on future lists of WhatTyre top performers.
|1||Fulda SportControl 2||245/45 R18 100Y||9.09|
|2||Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2||245/45 R18 100Y||8.91|
|3||Michelin Pilot Sport 4S||265/35 R20 99Y||8.41|
|4||Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5||
245/35 R19 93Y
|5||Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3||245/45 R18 100Y||8.19|
|6||Falken FK510 Azenis||265/35 R20 99Y||8.11|
|7||Nokian Powerproof||245/35 R19 93Y||8.08|
|8||Sava Intensa UHP 2||245/35 R19 93Y||8.03|
|9||Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport||245/45 R18 100Y||7.98|
|10||Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R||295/30 R19 100Y||7.88|
About the TyreScore
All TyreScores quoted in the WhatTyre Tyre of the Year Awards 2021 are correct as of our judging period in March 2021, but more data and a new version of the algorithm will inevitably mean changes. When you buy your next tyres, we recommend you make WhatTyre part of your pre-sale research to determine the best tyre for you.