Tire Test Results

Finding the "Ultra" in Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires

July 26, 2010

Tires Tested

Dunlop SP Sport Signature (W- or Y-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season, 225/45R17 94W)
  • What We Liked: Great traction and short stopping distances in dry and wet conditions
  • What We'd Improve: A small improvement in road manners
  • Conclusion: An established tire that competes with some of the best
  • Latest Test Rank: 2nd
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested
Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season (Ultra High Performance All-Season, 225/45R17 94W)
  • What We Liked: Excellent road manners and good overall traction
  • What We'd Improve: A small increase in steering response
  • Conclusion: A well-balanced Ultra High Performance All-Season tire
  • Latest Test Rank: 1st
  • Previous Test Rank: 1st (June '09)
Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season, 225/45R17 91W)
  • What We Liked: Responsive steering on the road
  • What We'd Improve: Wet traction as well as ride and noise comfort
  • Conclusion: A good option for drivers who don't emphasize wet grip
  • Latest Test Rank: 4th
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested
Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season, 225/45R17 94W)
  • What We Liked: Good road manners and dry traction
  • What We'd Improve: A little more wet grip and reduced impact noise
  • Conclusion: A good overall Ultra High Performance All-Season tire
  • Latest Test Rank: 3rd
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested

Vehicles Used

2011 BMW E92 328i Coupe

Today, a growing number of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires share a common name and tread pattern with their counterparts in the High Performance All-Season category. Ultra High Performance All-Season (UHP A/S) tires typically feature lower profile sizes for larger rim diameters, along with Z-, W- or Y-speed ratings, while High Performance All-Season (HP A/S) tires are typically available in narrower sizes with taller sidewalls mounted on smaller diameter wheels, with H- or V-speed ratings.

The internal construction of UHP A/S tires often use additional nylon reinforcement and heavier gauge materials to achieve their higher speed rating. Tread compounds may change, too. But this raises a question, do the design changes needed to reach the Ultra High Performance All-Season category also change everyday road manners and performance? We recently tested a group of new High Performance All-Season tires and wondered how their Ultra High Performance All-Season counterparts perform. Do on-road personalities and performance characteristics carry over from one category to another? Or does the similarity end with the tread pattern and name on the sidewall?

To find out, we put a group of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires through our Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive. We selected the new Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 and Yokohama AVID ENVigor (tied for 1st in our recent High Performance All-Season tire test), comparing them with several established options from the UHP A/S category, the Dunlop SP Sport Signature and Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season. Our evaluation used 2011 BMW E92 328i coupes fitted with new, full tread depth 225/45R17 tires mounted on 17x8.0" wheels.

What We Learned on the Road

Our 6.6-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 it challenging to pick a clear favorite, as all four tires delivered good handling with a sporty feel. They liked the linear steering response of the Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season, rating it higher than the others by a small margin. The Yokohama AVID ENVigor and Dunlop SP Sport Signature followed, with similar overall handling traits. Also close was the Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 with its direct steering feel.

The P Zero Nero All Season was also praised for its reasonably compliant ride, doing a good job minimizing many of the road's imperfections. The AVID ENVigor and SP Sport Signature both managed to soften the small- and medium-sized imperfections we encountered. The HTR A/S P01 rounded out the group, feeling just a little harsher than the other three when it encountered larger bumps in the road.

The P Zero Nero All Season produced the least amount of tread and impact noise of the group, where it was often hard to distinguish a difference between tire and wind noise at highway speeds. Very close behind was the SP Sport Signature which was also relatively quiet as it rolled down the road. The AVID ENVigor produced minimal tread noise, but did generate a small ring tone when it encountered sharp impacts on the highway. The HTR A/S P01 produced a little more tread noise than the others.

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.

On the track in dry conditions, the Dunlop SP Sport Signature wasn't the quickest, but was the subjective favorite thanks to plenty of cornering traction, nimble steering and predictable handling. The Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season was a close second subjectively, but first for overall lap time with its very quick steering response and good overall grip. The Yokohama AVID ENVigor followed in close succession to the Pirelli and Dunlop tires, held back by slightly less overall traction and predictability. The Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 trailed the other three in traction and driver confidence when driven at the limit.

In the wet, roles at the top were reversed with the P Zero Nero All Season being the subjective favorite this time, but not quite the fastest around the track. This tire was liked by our team for its good grip and stable handling. The SP Sport Signature was quickest on the wet track thanks to its responsive steering and good ultimate grip, especially under braking. Close behind was the AVID ENVigor which felt relatively responsive, but didn't have the poise or ultimate grip to keep up with the Dunlop and Pirelli tires when driven at the limit. Trailing was the HTR A/S P01, which felt somewhat slippery under braking, and was easily challenged during hard cornering and acceleration.

Fuel Consumption Results

Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat 6.6-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 approximately 500 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 Test MPG* Gallons/Year
@ 15,000 Miles
% vs. Most Efficient
Dunlop SP Sport Signature (W- or Y-Speed Rated) 26.0 576.9 -1.92%
Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season 26.4 568.2 -0.38%
Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated) 26.5 566.0 ---
Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W-Speed Rated) 26.1 574.7 -1.53%
*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 found a very small difference in observed vehicle fuel economy. 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 about 11 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $2.75/gallon, it would amount to about $30 for drivers traveling 15,000 miles a 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 experienced 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.

Product Details

Dunlop SP Sport Signature (W- or Y-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Dunlop SP Sport Signature tire line includes W- and Y-speed rated Ultra High Performance All-Season radials developed to deliver year-round performance for the drivers of sport cars, sporty coupes and high-performance sedans. The SP Sport Signature is designed to blend treadwear, handling and traction on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow.

Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The P Zero Nero All Season is Pirelli's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire designed to provide all-season traction and handling. It was developed for drivers who operate their vehicles in America's various weather conditions, including in light snow. Read more.

Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (High Tech Radial, All-Season, Premium 1st Generation) tire line includes W-speed rated Ultra High Performance All-Season radials developed to meet the year-round driving needs of sports car, sporty coupe and performance sedan drivers by blending dry and wet road performance with all-season wintertime traction. The HTR A/S P01 radials use Sumitomo's high-tech materials and manufacturing methods to blend ultra-high performance with year-round traction, even in light snow.

Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W-Speed Rated) (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Yokohama AVID ENVigor tire line includes W-speed rated Ultra High Performance All-Season radials developed to meet the year-round driving needs of sports car, coupe, sedan and crossover drivers by blending dry and wet road performance with all-season wintertime traction. AVID ENVigor tires are designed to combine performance, comfort and treadlife along with year-round traction, even on light snow-covered roads. Read more.

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