June 13, 2008
Today there is a large population of sporty sedans and coupes that benefit from the performance-oriented handling of, and whose drivers enjoy the civilized road manners and reasonable tread life provided by High Performance All-Season tires. And as with most things automotive these days, fashion can play a role in the buying decision, too, as reflected in a trend toward aggressive directional or stylish yet functional asymmetric tread patterns and eye-catching sidewall treatments to accompany the handling and road manners inherent in the product.
Bridgestone's new Potenza G 019 Grid fits this mold to a T with its sporty directional tread pattern, performance pedigree and promise for reasonable tread life - a perfect match for today's High Performance All-Season category. To find out just how well the Potenza G 019 Grid performs, we decided to put it through the paces on our Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive routes, pitting it against other popular choices from the category, the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, Pirelli P6 Four Seasons and Yokohama AVID H4s. Our evaluation used 2008 BMW E92 328i coupes with new, full tread depth 225/45R17 tires mounted on 17x8.0" wheels.
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.
Out on the road, our team found all four tires in the group delivered a nice blend of responsive handling and comfortable ride with minimal tread noise. The Yokohama AVID H4s was praised for its relatively smooth ride doing a good job minimizing impact harshness. The Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S and Bridgestone Potenza G 019 Grid were both close behind with just a small increase in firmness felt when slapping along over the expansion joints on the expressway. The Pirelli P6 Four Seasons also did a fine job reducing the harshness of sharp road impacts felt by the driver.
The Michelin and Bridgestone tires both scored well for their minimal tread noise with just a hint of constant tone heard from the Bridgestone at several speeds. The Yokohama produced some distinct tones on smooth asphalt surfaces, while the Pirelli generated a broad white noise with moderate volume.
The Pilot Exalto A/S delivered the best steering response of the group, perfect for the driver who wants to be engaged in the driving experience. The Potenza G 019 Grid was also well liked by our team for its responsive handling. The softer ride qualities of the AVID H4s may have resulted in a small design trade-off felt in somewhat slower initial steering response than the Michelin or Bridgestone tires. The P6 Four Seasons delivered appropriate responsiveness, but could not quite match the nimble feeling of the Michelin and Bridgestone tires.
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.
In dry conditions, the Yokohama AVID H4s did not possess the quickest steering response, but was still able to produce the fastest lap time aided by plenty of overall grip and strong braking performance. And while normal road conditions are not as extreme as our track test, the AVID H4s showed the greatest wear during this portion of our test. The Bridgestone Potenza G 019 Grid was a very close second in lap time, helped by its responsive steering. Based on lap time, the Pirelli P6 Four Seasons was less than 0.3 seconds behind the Yokohama. Subjectively, the P6 Four Seasons displayed excellent vehicle balance when driven at the limit, but seemed to lack the ultimate grip of the other three tires in the test, especially under braking. Somewhat of a surprise was the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S producing the fourth fastest lap time despite having the highest lateral cornering g-forces and excellent handling balance.
In the wet, the Yokohama again led the group with a noticeable advantage in overall traction. The Pirelli followed thanks to its front-rear handling balance at the limit. Our team praised the Michelin for its poise when reaching the limit of traction with good reserve grip and quick recovery when the driver asked too much of the tire. Rounding out the group was the Bridgestone, which displayed good steering response but lacked the overall wet traction of the other tires.
Bridgestone Potenza G 019 Grid (High Performance All-Season): The Potenza G 019 Grid is Bridgestone's High Performance All-Season tire developed to meet the needs of sports car, coupe and sedan drivers who want to associate with Bridgestone's performance heritage developed through racing. The Potenza G 019 Grid offers Bridgestone's UNI-T Technology, good wear and year-round traction, including in light snow.
Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S (High Performance All-Season): Pilot Exalto A/S radials are the entry-level High Performance All-Season members of Michelin's Pilot family of performance tires. Pilot Exalto A/S radials are designed for sports cars, coupes and sedans to blend responsive handling and long wear with year-round traction, even in light snow.On the outside, Pilot Exalto A/S tires feature Michelin's Life Maximized All-Season Adherence Compounding (formulated to balance dry grip, wet traction, light snow traction and tread wear) molded into a directional tread design to provide handling in nearly every weather condition. Siped independent tread blocks combined with wide circumferential grooves and variable width lateral tread grooves help eject water from under the contact patch to resist hydroplaning and enhance wet traction.
Pirelli P6 Four Seasons (High Performance All-Season): The P6 Four Seasons radial is Pirelli's High Performance All-Season tire originally developed for European high performance and luxury touring sedans imported to North America. The P6 Four Seasons complements these potent vehicles by combining Extra Low Rolling Resistance (ELRR) with a smooth and comfortable ride, high performance driving characteristics and year-round traction, even in light snow. Read more.
Yokohama AVID H4s (High Performance All-Season): The AVID H4s/V4s radials are Yokohama's High Performance All-Season tires designed to take everyday driving to a new level of comfort and confidence. The AVID H4s/V4s radials were developed to provide sporty cars, coupes and sedans with good treadwear, responsive handling and year-round traction, even in light snow.
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