July 25, 2014
Have a sporty car that needs some new shoes? Ultra High Performance Summer tires may be the perfect choice if you drive a sports car, sporty coupe or sedan, want very good dry and wet traction, and won't face winter's snow, slush and ice (at least not with these tires on the car). Admittedly, Ultra High Performance Summer tires don't quite have the ultimate performance and refinement of Max Performance Summer tires, but they do deliver plenty of traction and responsive handling, typically cost less than Max Performance tires, and will out-perform even the best Ultra High Performance All-Season tires in dry or wet conditions.
It's been a while since we last tested tires in the Ultra High Performance Summer category, so when Dunlop rolled out the Direzza DZ102 we took the opportunity to compare it to three of the top-rated tires in the category, the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2, Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport, and Yokohama S.drive. Our evaluation used 2014 BMW F30 328i sedans fitted with new, full tread depth 245/40R18 tires mounted on 18x8.0 wheels.
Our 6.0-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 tires delivered sporty handling during normal road driving with surrounding traffic, and our team had a small preference for the direct, responsive feel of the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2. The Dunlop Direzza DZ102 and Yokohama S.drive felt eager to change direction, responding very quickly to initial steering inputs. The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport wasn't quite as responsive to initial inputs, but still felt well connected and turned with authority.
These are tires you have to live with every day, too, so road manners are also important. Here is where the Potenza RE760 Sport led the group, doing the best job dulling the sting of sharper impacts, and producing modest tread and impact noise. Overall comfort and noise levels were similar across the other three tires, with the Direzza DZ102 finishing a close 2nd in ride comfort, and the g-Force Sport COMP-2 getting noticed for producing a discernable growl heard at speeds under 50 mph.
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, 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.
On our track in dry conditions the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport felt responsive and stable with just a hint of understeer at the limit. The BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 received slightly better subjective marks from our drivers, and showed strong ultimate grip, but in the end couldn't lap the track quite as quickly as the Bridgestone. The Yokohama S.drive has been in the marketplace the longest, and still held its own, lapping our track in the dry within 0.3 seconds of the quickest tire. Rounding out the group was the Dunlop Direzza DZ102, which delivered appropriate levels of traction and handling for the category, but just not quite at the level of the rest in the test.
Performance differences were considerably more apparent in wet conditions, where the g-Force Sport COMP-2 showed a considerable advantage over the other three tires in ultimate traction, handling and stability. The S.drive followed, displaying strong initial steering response and reasonable overall traction. The Potenza RE760 Sport felt composed and predictable, but just didn't quite have the grip of the BFGoodrich and Yokohama tires. Another small step back was the Direzza DZ102, which was adequate, but somewhat underwhelming in comparison to the other tires in our test.
Our Real World Road Ride features a relatively flat 6.0-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.
@ 15,000 Miles
|% vs. Most Efficient|
|BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2||29.3||511.9||-1.7%|
|Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport||29.1||515.5||-2.4%|
|Dunlop Direzza DZ102||29.7||505.1||-0.3%|
|* Our evaluation used Linear Logic ScanGauge II automotive computers to record fuel consumption, and Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled.|
None of the tires in this test were designed with low rolling resistance as a high priority, and all appear to have relatively similar rolling efficiency. Based on our results the modest 0.7-mile per gallon difference between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy would result in an annual difference of just 12 gallons of premium gasoline. At the current cost of $4.00/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of just over $48, or less than $1 per week, 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.
Ultra High Performance Summer tires deliver very good dry and wet traction and handling, and are a great way to spice up the handling and performance of any car that comes with all-season tires as Original Equipment. If you can live with a little extra noise on the road, the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 delivers great traction and sporty handling, especially in wet conditions. The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport is more civilized on the road, and still delivers solid handling. The Yokohama S.drive has been around the longest of this group, and it hangs in there with good performance, but feels a little less refined than the other tires in our test. The Dunlop Direzza DZ102 rounds out the group, performing adequately, but not standing out among the crowd in any way.
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.
Dunlop Direzza DZ102 (Ultra High Performance Summer): The Direzza DZ102 is Dunlop's Ultra High Performance Summer tire developed for sports car, sports coupe and performance sedan driving enthusiasts. Designed to combine sleek styling and impressive handling, the Direzza DZ102 delivers head-turning performance in warm, dry and wet conditions, however it is 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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