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Many of today's performance vehicles come from the factory with performance summer tires fitted as Original Equipment, which provide exceptional dry and wet traction in southern climates, or during spring, summer and fall in northern regions. But when temperatures and conditions up north head south, the tread compounds and patterns of summer-only tires are just not able to provide sufficient traction when ambient temperatures are near or below freezing or when there is snow on the roads. In Europe and Asia where many of these vehicles are manufactured, the tire decision is easy. Drivers in these regions embrace dedicated winter / snow tires to provide traction in snow and slush or on ice. Here in North America, dedicated winter / snow tires are less popular than in other parts of the world with many U.S. drivers opting for All-Season tires capable of handling light snow and slush in addition to the dry and wet conditions of summer. As the number of performance coupes and sedans on the road continues to grow, so does the need for tires capable of meeting the vehicle's true performance capabilities as well as their enthusiast drivers expectations, all while providing at least some level of wintertime traction in light snow.
There is a group of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires designed to deliver just that. These tires make the most sense at the edge of the snow belt where snowfall is not as heavy or as frequent as further up north where a dedicated winter tire is the best way to chew through snow and grip the ice. One of the newest Ultra High Performance All-Season tires is BFGoodrich's g-Force Super Sport A/S. Designed to thrill in the dry while also providing a high level of wet performance plus light snow capability, this tire relies on some elaborate design and manufacturing techniques to deliver on the promise. To find out how the g-Force Super Sport A/S performs during wet and dry summer time conditions, the Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive comparing it with three of the top performers in the Ultra High Performance All-Season tire category: the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position, Goodyear Eagle F1 All Season and Yokohama ADVAN S.4. Our evaluation used 2008 BMW 328i E92 coupes with new, full tread depth 225/45R17 tires mounted on 17x8.0" wheels.
What We Learned on the Road
Our 5.6-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads provides a great variety of road conditions that include city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. This route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as you would during your drive to school or work.
Our team praised the road manners of the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position, particularly for its ride quality among this group. Not far behind was the Yokohama ADVAN S.4., riding just slightly firmer than the Bridgestone. Goodyear's Eagle F1 All Season also rode well but allowed more of the road's impacts to find their way to the driver. The BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S rounded out the group, riding firmly with a taut, solid feel when encountering rough sections of road.
The Bridgestone and Yokohama tires also scored well for road noise, producing minimal noise over the variety of road surfaces and driving speeds of our test route. The tread noise of the BFGoodrich tire was a slightly higher volume, particularly on smooth asphalt. The aggressive tread pattern of the Goodyear produced the most tread noise, tending to growl somewhat on most road surfaces.
The slightly firm ride of the g-Force Super Sport A/S paid back with responsive handling and crisp steering feel, rewarding the driver who wants sporty handling. The ADVAN S.4. and Potenza RE960AS Pole Position were also praised for their handling but neither had the precise steering feel of the g-Force Super Sport A/S. The Eagle F1 All Season lacked a little of the on-center precision and crisp steering feel of the others in this test, requiring a bit more steering wheel input to negotiate the turns/curves.
What We Learned on the Test Track
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, lane changes and simulated expressway ramps. Run in both dry and wet conditions, the test track allows our team to experience the traction, responsiveness, handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.
The crisp handling of the BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S experienced on our Real World Road Ride showed on the dry test track, too. The BFGoodrich tire felt stable, responsive, agile and fast, posting the quickest slalom sector time, highest average g-forces around the skidpad and fastest overall lap time of this test. The Yokohama ADVAN S.4. was also praised for its steering response but lacked the sheer grip of the BFGoodrich to keep up. The Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position was right behind with a balanced feel that would give way to gentle understeer if pushed too hard. The Goodyear Eagle F1 All Season rounded out the group, lacking the absolute responsiveness to match the pace or subjective feel of the other three tires.
In the wet, the Potenza RE960AS Pole Position proved the quickest, feeling stable and predictable, cornering well and providing good traction during braking and hard acceleration. Not far behind was the g-Force Sport A/S, which posted the highest average g's but did not feel quite as stable as the Bridgestone during rapid transition maneuvers like the lane change slalom. The ADVAN S.4. held on for third-fastest overall lap time, displaying quite good braking traction along with predictable handling. Rounding out the group was the Eagle F1 All Season, feeling uncharacteristically slippery and edgy, requiring real concentration to control at the grip limit.
BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S (W-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The g-Force Super Sport A/S is BFGoodrich's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans. The g-Force Super Sport A/S was developed to be three tires in one to prevent allowing a little bad weather to spoil the fun. The tire is designed to thrill even the most passionate driving enthusiast while providing year-round traction, including in light snow. The g-Force Super Sport A/S features BFGoodrich's Multi Grip Tread Technology that uses three unique tread compounds positioned side-by-side across the tire designed to provide traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions. Read more.
Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Potenza RE960AS Pole Position with UNI-T AQ II Technology is the Ultra High Performance All-Season member of Bridgestone's Potenza family of performance tires for the drivers of sports cars, sports coupes and performance sedans. The Potenza RE960AS Pole Position is designed to provide year-round driving flexibility by offering predictable handling, traction and control on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow. The Potenza RE960AS Pole Position features Bridgestone's UNI-T AQII Technology, which uses advanced compound and construction features to enhance and preserve wet traction through the tire's life. Read more.
Goodyear Eagle F1 All Season (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Eagle F1 All Season featuring Carbon Fiber Technology is Goodyear's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire designed to give sports car, sporty coupe and performance sedan drivers piece of mind in virtually any weather condition. It was developed to combine crisp responsiveness and confident handling with year-round traction, including in light snow.
Yokohama ADVAN S.4. (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The ADVAN S.4. is the Ultra High Performance All-Season tire member of Yokohama's ADVAN family of flagship performance tires developed to combine ultra high performance with All-Season utility for the drivers of premium performance coupes and sedans. The Yokohama ADVAN S.4. is designed to combine comfortable ride and noise qualities along with year-round traction that meets the challenges of driving in every season, even winter's lightly snow-covered roads. The ADVAN S.4. molds a silica-enhanced, All-Season tread compound into a directional tread design that features large reinforced shoulder blocks, staggered independent intermediate tread blocks and continuous circumferential center ribs to sharpen steering response and lateral stability while reducing tire noise on dry roads. Read more.