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Testing Extreme Performance Summer Tires: The Boys of Summer Are Here



June 6, 2013

Tires tested:

BFGoodrich g-Force Rival (Extreme Performance Summer 245/40R18 93W)
  • What We Liked: Impressive dry grip and cornering traction
  • What We'd Improve: Improve wet grip
  • Conclusion: Excellent dry handling with a big window for track and autocross drivers to work in

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A (Extreme Performance Summer 245/40R18 93W)

  • What We Liked: Surprisingly comfortable on the road along with very good wet traction (for an Extreme Performance Summer tire)
  • What We'd Improve: Up the dry handling a bit
  • Conclusion: A well-rounded Extreme Performance Summer tire

Dunlop Direzza ZII (Extreme Performance Summer 245/40R18 93W)

  • What We Liked: Laser-sharp steering response and nimble handling
  • What We'd Improve: Soften the ride and reduce tread noise a little
  • Conclusion: A scalpel on the track

Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R (Extreme Performance Summer 245/40R18 93W)

  • What We Liked: Great dry and impressive wet traction
  • What We'd Improve: A little more dry traction
  • Conclusion: This tire is just one notch away from being the best at everything

Vehicles used:

2012 BMW F30 328i Sedan

BFGoodrich gave birth to the Extreme Performance Summer tire category over a decade ago when they launched the g-Force T/A KD. The "KD," as it quickly came to be known, delivered dry traction and handling approaching the level of R-compound tires of the day, but still remained street friendly enough to drive on all the time. Wanting to reestablish itself in the Extreme Performance category, BFGoodrich has recently launched the g-Force Rival. As its name implies this tire is designed to "rival" the dry performance of other tires in the category. And it also recognizes BFGoodrich is no longer the only name in the game, where today there is a wide range of options to choose from. There are also three new competitors' tires rolling out as BFGoodrich is launching theirs. Bridgestone has released their second-generation Potenza RE-11A, which features a tweaked tread compound for improved traction and lower lap times. Dunlop has imported a clean-sheet new design with the Direzza ZII, while Yokohama tuned their previous Extreme Performance Summer tire into the ADVAN Neova AD08 R.

We wanted to see how these four new tires perform out on the road and on our handling track, so we conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive using 2012 BMW F30 328i sedans fitted with new, full tread depth 245/40R18 tires mounted on 18x8.0" wheels.

What We Learned on the Road

Our 4.1-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.

All four of these tires handle light-duty, day-to-day commuting with precision and responsiveness. Our team liked the balanced feel in steering response and the cornering stability delivered by the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival. Very close behind with a similar characteristic was the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A, which had a nicely weighted feel in the steering wheel. The Dunlop Direzza ZII had the fastest response of the group, but was found by some of our drivers to be just a little too eager to change directions when making small corrections (such as maintaining your lane in traffic, coping with a strong crosswind, etc.). The Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R rounded out the tightly bunched group with predictable handling and responsive steering feel.

All four tires were also tightly grouped with regard to ride comfort and noise levels. Like its predecessor, the Potenza RE-11A led the way, with the best ride comfort and lowest tread and impact noise levels of the group (but still somewhat firmer and louder than Max Performance or most Ultra High Performance Summer tires). The g-Force Rival followed, with modest tread noise despite its blocky-appearing, asymmetric tread pattern. The ADVAN Neova AD08 R showed reasonable ride qualities over smaller bumps, but became somewhat firm when encountering larger impacts. The Direzza ZII felt the most firm of the group, likely a trade off for the sharp steering response it delivers. This tire also produced several distinct pitches from the tread pattern that was heard at all speeds above 20mph. It also produced an unusual whishing/ripping/static-like sound when rolling over tar strips that seal cracks in the road.

What We Learned on the Test Track

Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, a five-cone slalom 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.

Among our large group of drivers there were mixed feelings as to which tire felt the best when being driven at the limit on our dry handling track. It seemed to come down to driving style and what tire felt most in sync with what each driver was asking of it. Comparing the subjective ratings with the average lap time data revealed another truism that comes from our test track - what feels good isn't always fastest, and what's fast doesn't always feel good.

Slalom

With nearly 100 opinions averaged together, it was the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival that was liked by the largest group of drivers due to its overall handling composure, front end authority when carving down to the apex and big window of controllability when driving at, or just beyond, the limit. The next largest camp favored the crisp steering response and precise handling of the Dunlop Direzza ZII, which sliced through the transitions of the five-cone slalom and carved around the tight, 180-degree turn with relative ease. This tire's proficiency in these two areas helped it post the quickest average lap time of the test. Very close to the Dunlop in lap time was the Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R, which displayed impressive overall handling and excellent braking traction (setting a new dry braking record in the process). The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A rounded out the group with somewhat softer handling that was tolerant to big inputs and shrugged off small driving mistakes, which made it a little more comfortable to stretch out at the limit for some of our drivers.

Wet Track

In the wet, the subjective impressions and rank order of lap times shuffled around. With water on the track the ADVAN Neova AD08 R led the way with the quickest lap time, followed closely by the Potenza RE-11A. Both tires were well-liked by our team for their overall traction, controllability and predictability as the limit was reached, with the Potenza RE-11A having a small subjective advantage over the slightly quicker ADVAN Neova AD08 R. The Direzza ZII followed with its trademark quick steering response, but didn't have quite the ultimate traction or composure at the limit of the Yokohama and Bridgestone tires. The g-Force Rival also showed reasonable traction, but the limit came more abruptly and took a little longer to recover if a slide or wheelspin occurred.

Fuel Consumption Results

Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat 4.1-mile loop of 65 mph expressway, 55 mph state highway and 40 mph county roads along with two stop signs and one traffic light every lap. Our team drove each tire approximately 400 miles over the course of several days. Since we wanted to compare fuel consumption results that typical drivers would experience, our drivers were instructed to maintain the flow of traffic by running at the posted speed limits and sustain the vehicle's speed using cruise control whenever possible. They did not use hypermiling techniques to influence vehicle fuel economy.

Tire Line Test
MPG*
Gallons/Year
@ 15,000 Miles
% vs. Most Efficient
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival 28.9 519.0 --
Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A 28.7 522.6 -0.70%
Dunlop Direzza ZII 28.6 524.5 -1.05%
Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R 28.4 528.2 -1.76%
*Our evaluation used Linear Logic ScanGauge II automotive computers to record fuel consumption, and Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled.

While none of the tires in this test were designed with low rolling resistance as a high priority, we did find a difference in observed vehicle fuel economy across the group. Based on our results, the 0.5 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of almost nine gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $4.00/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of about $36 for drivers driving 15,000 miles per year.

It's important to note our test's fuel consumption measurements follow consistent procedures designed to minimize variables that could influence the results, however they do not represent an exhaustive long-range fuel consumption study. While our procedures require the test vehicles in each convoy to run under the same prevailing conditions, the week-to-week differences in ambient temperatures, barometric pressures and wind speeds that we experience over a season of testing can influence vehicle fuel consumption and prevent the absolute mpg values of this test from being compared directly against those of others.

Larger differences in consumption between tires may indicate a difference that might be experienced on the road, while smaller differences should be considered equivalent. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Summary

If you want to get the most handling you can bolt onto your car, then fitting any one of these Extreme Performance Summer tires is the simplest upgrade you can make. The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A delivers civilized road manners and very good track handling, especially in the wet. The BFGoodrich g-Force Rival helps re-establish BFGoodrich in the Extreme Performance Summer category, with impressive dry handling. The Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R is equally impressive with a very strong combination of dry and wet traction. The Dunlop Direzza ZII is noteworthy, too, with very responsive handling and excellent traction, but trades off a little civility out on the road to get it.

Product Details

BFGoodrich g-Force Rival (Extreme Performance Summer): The g-Force Rival is BFGoodrich's Extreme Performance Summer tire developed for sports car, muscle machine and pro-touring car driving enthusiasts who want their tires to turn heads on the street and lower lap times at the track. Created with razor-sharp reflexes, the g-Force Rival is designed to raise the limits by delivering extreme grip that's extremely predictable. However, like all summer tires, it is not intended to be driven through snow, on ice or in near-freezing temperatures. Read more.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A (Extreme Performance Summer): The Potenza RE-11A is an Extreme Performance Summer tire that evolved from Bridgestone's Potenza RE-11 line. Developed for serious sports car, sports coupe and performance sedan driving enthusiasts, the Potenza RE-11A is designed to further enhance traction, handling and control while maintaining good noise and ride comfort. Bridgestone's Potenza RE-11A is performance tuned for dry and wet conditions, but like all summer tires it is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Dunlop Direzza ZII (Extreme Performance Summer): The Direzza ZII is Dunlop's Extreme Performance Summer tire developed for serious sports car, sports coupe and performance sedan enthusiasts looking for race tire-like traction on the street or for use in autocross, drifting and track events. Designed for drivers who want Dunlop's highest level of traction and handling in warm and dry conditions, Direzza ZII tires are not intended to be driven through snow, on ice or in near-freezing temperatures. Read more.

Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R (Extreme Performance Summer): The ADVAN Neova AD08 R (R for new Revolution in street tire tread compounding) is Yokohama's Extreme Performance Summer tire developed to excite sports car, sports coupe and performance sedan enthusiasts who have a passion for fast and fun driving. ADVAN Neova AD08 R tires are designed to increase grip and improve handling on dry and wet roads. However like all Extreme Performance Summer tires, it is not intended to be exposed to sub-freezing temperatures, snow or ice. Read more.




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