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Testing Ultra High Performance Summer Tires



July 6, 2012

Tires tested:
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 (Ultra High Performance Summer 245/40R18 93W)

  • What We Liked: Impressive traction, especially in the wet
  • What We'd Improve: A small reduction in tread noise
  • Conclusion: A very capable Ultra High Performance Summer tire that delivers excellent traction
  • Latest Test Rank: 1st
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested

Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport (Ultra High Performance Summer 245/40R18 97W)

  • What We Liked: Good road manners and balanced handling
  • What We'd Improve: Add a little more wet traction at the limit
  • Conclusion: A poised performer that is a pleasure to drive
  • Latest Test Rank: 2nd
  • Previous Test Rank: 2nd (May '08)

Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 (Ultra High Performance Summer 245/40R18 97W)

  • What We Liked: Reasonable ride quality
  • What We'd Improve: Wet traction
  • Conclusion: An economical option that doesn't have the ultimate grip to keep pace with the best
  • Latest Test Rank: 4th
  • Previous Test Rank: 4th (June '10)

Yokohama S.drive (Ultra High Performance Summer 245/40R18 97W)

  • What We Liked: Good overall traction and composed manners when driven at the limit
  • What We'd Improve: A small improvement in noise and ride
  • Conclusion: A good option that does most things pretty well
  • Latest Test Rank: 3rd
  • Previous Test Rank: 1st (June '10), 3rd (August '07)

Vehicles used:
2012 BMW F30 328i Sedan

BFGoodrich promises more performance with the new g-Force Sport COMP-2.
Does it deliver?

"Accelerate faster. Corner harder. Brake shorter."

A bold statement for any performance tire, and one made by BFGoodrich with the launch of the g-Force Sport COMP-2, Ultra High Performance Summer tire. This second-generation tire shares its tread pattern with its predecessor, but that's where the similarities end. Everything else about the g-Force Sport COMP-2 has changed. A highly stabilized internal structure supports a motorsports-inspired tread compound, tuned to deliver more dry and wet traction than the original.

All together the new package points to improved performance and handling, and during a limited preview drive in early 2012 we found the g-Force Sport COMP-2 did perform well on the track. But how does it drive in the real world, and how does it compare with other tires already in the marketplace? To find out, we conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive to compare the g-Force Sport COMP-2 with three popular options from the category: the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport, Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 and Yokohama S.drive. Our evaluation used 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 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.

The BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 drove very well with linear steering that moved off center with immediate response to driver inputs. The Yokohama S.drive was also well liked by our team thanks to tight on-center feel when driving straight, coupled with direct response to larger inputs. The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport followed close behind in overall handling, feeling a little less responsive to the initial input but then responding very progressively to larger inputs. The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 rounded out the group with competent handling and responsiveness that trailed the others by a small margin.

The Potenza RE760 Sport delivered the best ride quality of the group, feeling solid and a little firm but not harsh. The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 followed with a similar overall comfort level and just a bit more jiggle immediately after encountering bigger bumps in the road. The S.drive and g-Force Sport COMP-2 rounded out the group, both feeling a bit firmer than the best riding tires.

Overall noise levels were very similar across the group with a small advantage going to the Potenza RE760 Sport. The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 wasn't far behind, producing minimal tread noise. The S.drive generated a bit more tread pattern noise, while a modest growl came from the g-Force Sport COMP-2 when driving below 60 mph.

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.

When driven at the limit, the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport felt very composed and predictable with only a very small hint of understeer. The g-Force Sport COMP-2 was a little more responsive and displayed somewhat higher ultimate cornering traction, but didn't have the poise of the Bridgestone, especially in rapid transitions. The Yokohama S.drive also felt very balanced and composed, but without the ultimate traction to match the top two. The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 rounded out the group, where it didn't have quite the balanced handling or predictability to keep up with the leaders.

In wet conditions the g-Force Sport COMP-2 held a clear advantage over the others with excellent traction and a forgiving nature. The S.drive also felt good and even more responsive to steering inputs than the COMP-2, but didn't have that tire's level of ultimate traction. The Potenza RE760 Sport once again felt predictable and easy to drive at its limit. The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 trailed the others with significantly lower overall wet traction.

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 650 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 Sport COMP-2 30.5 491.8 -1.64%
Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport 30.2 496.7 -2.65%
Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 30.4 493.4 -1.97%
Yokohama S.drive 31.0 - -
* 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 small difference in observed vehicle fuel economy. Based on our results the 0.8 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of nearly 13 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $4.00/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of about $51 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 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.

Conclusion

While sequels often don't live up to the hype or match the success of the original, in the case of the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2, the second time around is better. This tire delivers plenty of sporty handling on the road and track along with very good wet traction. The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport provides a great blend of road manners and nimble handling. The Yokohama S.drive handles very well, but would benefit from a small improvement in behavior on the road. The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 provides reasonable ride and handling during everyday driving, but doesn't have the wet traction to match the best at the limit.

Product Details

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 (Ultra High Performance Summer): As BFGoodrich's Ultra High Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes, performance sedans and modern muscle cars looking for the next level of control and fun, the g-Force Sport COMP-2 is designed to accelerate faster, corner harder and brake shorter in dry and wet conditions. However, like all summer tires, it is not intended to be driven in near freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport (Ultra High Performance Summer): The Potenza RE760 Sport is Bridgestone's Ultra High Performance Summer tire developed for drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans who want to maximize sport driving pleasure without abandoning treadwear. The Potenza RE760 Sport is designed to deliver sharp response along with traction in wet and dry conditions, however like all summer tires, the Potenza RE760 Sport is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 (Ultra High Performance Summer): The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500® tire's name represents three eras of Firestone heritage while the tires themselves provide today's sports car, sporty coupe and performance sedan drivers with Ultra High Performance Summer tire proficiency. The Firehawk name is from the present where it is shared with the racing tires Firestone manufacturers to support today's IndyCar® championship. The Wide Oval name comes from Firestone's first low profile tires that helped revolutionize high-performance street tires in the late 1960s. And INDY 500® celebrates one of the longest relationships in motor sports where winning the first Indy 500® in 1911 and all of Firestone's other victories at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing have established a rich tradition backed by a history of performance. Like all summer tires, Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tires are not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Yokohama S.drive (Ultra High Performance Summer): The S.drive ("Sport drive") radial is Yokohama's Ultra High Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans. The S.drive radial is designed to use Yokohama's technological advancements to deliver extraordinary grip and handling on both wet and dry roads. Like all summer tires, the S.drive radial is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.




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