Tire Test Results

Testing New Max Performance Summer Tires: Can the Latest Keep Up With the Greatest?

July 12, 2013

Tires Tested

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position (Max Performance Summer 245/40R18 97Y)
  • What We Liked: Civilized road manners
  • What We'd Improve: A small increase in overall traction
  • Conclusion: This tire strikes a good balance between road manners and overall traction

Dunlop Sport Maxx RT (Max Performance Summer 245/40R18 97Y)

  • What We Liked: Reasonable handling and road comfort
  • What We'd Improve: Ultimate traction and handling
  • Conclusion: A Max Performance Summer tire that needs a little more of everything to keep pace with category leaders

Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Max Performance Summer 245/40R18 97Y)

  • What We Liked: Impressive handling on the street and track
  • What We'd Improve: Soften the ride just a little
  • Conclusion: Still king of the hill in the Max Performance Summer category

Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 (Max Performance Summer 245/40R18 97Y)

  • What We Liked: Crisp handling and very good overall traction
  • What We'd Improve: Ride comfort
  • Conclusion: A very sporty tire that can hang with the best

Vehicles Used

2012 BMW F30 328i Sedan

Max Performance Summer tires are capable of delivering an unsurpassed blend of dry and wet traction and handling for the street using high-tech materials and advanced manufacturing techniques. The performance of these summer, or three-season, tires isn't hampered by the inherent compromises of all-season tires that have to also cope with winter weather. For many driving enthusiasts, Max Performance tires connect the soul of their sporty coupe or sedan to the road, translating driver commands into action. And unlike more extreme summer tire options, Max Performance tires also deliver reasonable road manners to keep the daily drive enjoyable.

We wanted to find out how several new Max Performance Summer tires perform out on the road and on our handling track. Like many of the latest tires in the category the new Dunlop Sport Maxx RT and Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 both draw on motorsports technology for their advanced tread compound and other design aspects. We compared the pair with the top two tires in the category, the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position and Michelin Pilot Super Sport. 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 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.

You don't have to be on a racetrack to enjoy the handling of a Max Performance Summer tire. The car just does what you want, without you having to really think about it. Some might describe the handling as telepathic, but not in the instantaneous sense. Rather, these tires are like the perfect mate, knowing what you want almost before you do, creating a sync between driver, car and road that makes piloting the vehicle a true pleasure.

If handling were measured by time, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport would always show up early. This tire is the most direct and responsive of the group, with instant response as soon as you begin to turn the steering wheel. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 is a close second, also displaying immediate response and linear steering where you get exactly as much as you ask for with a turn of the wheel. The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position also handles well with a little slower response than the Michelin and Yokohama tires. And the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT rounds out the group with a nice feel in the steering wheel.

The ride quality of this group is reasonable, but wouldn't be confused with the comfortable manners of a touring tire. Max Performance Summer tires do bring a sense of connection to the road, keeping the driver engaged and informed about the pavement they're rolling over. Among the four tires in our test the Potenza S-04 Pole Position delivers a slightly more confortable ride than the others. The Pilot Super Sport and Sport Maxx RT aren't too far behind, both riding well enough, but letting through a little more edge to the sharper and larger impacts. The ADVAN Sport V105 is by no means harsh riding, but it doesn't envelop the bumps quite as well as the others.

All four tires produced modest tread and impact noise levels, with the Pilot Super Sport and Potenza S-04 Pole Position having a small advantage over the others. The ADVAN Sport V105 and Sport Maxx RT were essentially the same, both with just a little more tread and impact volume than the Michelin and Bridgestone tires.

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 asking these tires to drive at their limit, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport leads the group. It feels almost unflappable with impressive lateral grip and responsive steering that build driver confidence. The new Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 gives the Pilot Super Sport's quick lap time a run for its money, trailing the Michelin by less than half a tenth of a second. But where the Pilot Super Sport feels almost locked down, the ADVAN Sport V105 feels lively with very good overall grip that allows the driver to remain in control as the car dances through fast transitions. The Sport Maxx RT and Potenza S-04 Pole Position tires didn't have quite the grip or composure to match the speed of the leaders.

In wet conditions, the handling balance of the ADVAN Sport V105 and its high overall traction level helped it lap our course faster than the others. The Pilot Super Sport again showed its stable front-rear balance with gentle understeer at the limit, which helps avoid surprises when pushing the limit in wet conditions. The Potenza S-04 Pole Position and Sport Maxx RT tires weren't too far behind, with predictable handling and reasonable overall grip that was just a notch behind the best in class.

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
Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position 27.9 537.6 -3.23%
Dunlop Sport Maxx RT 28.8 520.8 --
Michelin Pilot Super Sport 28.5 526.3 -1.05%
Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 28.4 528.2 -1.41%
*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 0.9 mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of almost 17 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $4.00/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of about $67 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

For the driver who wants to be engaged in the driving experience, Max Performance Summer tires provide a superior connection to the road. Among our test group, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport shines, delivering road manners that you can live with while being very capable when you want to enjoy driving at the limit. The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position isn't quite as focused on going fast, but still provides a great blend of handling and ride quality. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 is tuned for the driver who wants responsive handling and track speed to challenge the Michelin. And the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT rounds out the group with appropriate levels of handling and acceptable road manners.

Product Details

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position (Max Performance Summer): The Potenza S-04 Pole Position is Bridgestone's Max Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of ultra high performance sports cars, coupes and sedans who want to feel the rush of driving their vehicle. Potenza S-04 Pole Position tires are designed to perform in warm, wet and dry conditions. However like all summer tires, they are not intended to be driven in near freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Dunlop Sport Maxx RT (Max Performance Summer): The Sport Maxx RT (inspired by Racing Technology) is Dunlop's Max Performance Summer road tire developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and high performance sedans. Dunlop Racing Technology combines sophisticated tire materials and manufacturing techniques to enhance road feedback and driving precision. Like all summer tires, the Sport Maxx RT is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Max Performance Summer): The Pilot Super Sport is Michelin's Max Performance Summer tire initially introduced as Original Equipment on several of the world's most sophisticated performance vehicles, including the exclusive, limited edition Ferrari 599 GTO, Ferrari's fastest road car ever. Developed for drivers who care about how tire technology enhances their vehicle's performance and safety, Pilot Super Sport tires expand the Max Performance Summer tire performance envelope by delivering durability, handling and traction while increasing tread life. Read more.

Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 (Max Performance Summer): The ADVAN Sport V105 is Yokohama's Max Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of high-powered sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans. Based on technology fostered through participation in motorsports and development at the Nurburgring Circuit in Germany (one of the world's most grueling race/test tracks), the ADVAN Sport V105 combines an increase in agile handling with a more comfortable ride when compared to its predecessor by featuring precision-tuned materials and structures. Like all summer tires, the ADVAN Sport V105 is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.

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