May 26, 2017
Decades ago, General Tire used the marketing slogan, "Sooner or later, you'll own Generals." The statement arguably holds true now more than ever, as the manufacturer has created a lineup of dependable, go-to touring tire options for passenger cars and light trucks, and they have received widespread praise from consumers and our test team. General has had success in the Ultra High Performance arena in the past, with the Exclaim UHP and the G-MAX AS-03. While both were popular early in their lifecycles, the Exclaim UHP is now long gone, and the G-MAX AS-03 has been eclipsed by newer designs from other brands.
Looking to add one more high-quality tire to their portfolio and round out their offering, General has introduced the Ultra High Performance All-Season G-MAX AS-05. Featuring an asymmetric tread pattern and designed to deliver sporty handling and crisp steering response in the wet and dry along with confident light snow traction, long life and a quiet ride, the G-MAX AS-05 is positioned as an all-around star and challenger to the established leaders in the class.
To see if General's newest Ultra High Performance All-Season tire has what it takes to make an impact on the establishment, the Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive comparing it to the BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S, Dunlop Signature HP and the Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S. Our evaluation used 2017 BMW F36 430i sedans fitted with new, full tread depth 245/40R18 tires mounted on 18x8 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.
While our team rated all four tires favorably, testing on the road revealed distinct personality traits for each tire in the group. The BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S received the highest score by the smallest margin, owing to its composed ride quality, weighty steering feel and linear steering response. General's G-MAX AS-05 took a different route, with a lighter feel and more immediate reflexes that made the tire eager to change directions when asked. While overall a quiet tire, over certain smooth-to-medium coarse surfaces the tread pattern created a noticeable and distinct tone that made its way into the cabin. The Dunlop Signature HP revealed itself as the tire most likely to fade into the background on your daily commute with steering response that was slightly more relaxed than the BFGoodrich or the General, and a ride that transmitted only moderate impact harshness to the vehicle's occupants, but may not be as sporty as some expect from an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire. Ride quality was a topic that drew some light criticism from our team toward the Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S, as the tire felt the most unsettled over bumps, with noticeable excess movement during and after the impact. The light handling and steering feel were both appropriate for the category, especially at highway speeds.
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.
We often find tires' lap times are closely grouped in the dry, with larger disparities and shuffling of the finishing order when it comes to wet track results. Interestingly, that was not exactly the case with this group as the wet results closely aligned with the dry, just with greater separation between lap times.
In the dry, the BFGoodrich edged out the General for fastest average lap by just under a tenth of a second. The planted and in-control feel of the BFGoodrich quickly built driver confidence, and the high levels of grip combined with light understeer at the limit meant that confidence was not misplaced. Similar to what we found on the road, the General took a different approach to reach a similar result. The light steering effort and eagerness to point the front end made for lively lapping with plenty of movement at the back of the car. While very engaging and easily controllable, it was not as reassuring or confidence-inspiring, as evidenced by our team's somewhat low subjective score compared to the BFGoodrich. Neatly splitting the difference between the General and the Yokohama, many of the traits exhibited by the Dunlop Signature HP on the road translated to the track, with steering response that was slightly dull compared to the leaders, and a limit that was lower, as well. While the Yokohama turned the slowest average lap, it was only a third of a second slower than the leading BFGoodrich, not enough to be considered significant. The difference can be largely attributed to ultimate grip that trailed the group, as the ADVAN Sport A/S didn't have the traction to accelerate, decelerate or turn quite as effectively as the best in the test.
Though the finishing order of the General and BFGoodrich reversed in the wet, the .04 second time differential is statistically insignificant. The G-MAX AS-05 overcame a slight disadvantage in our wet skidpad and 50-0 braking objective tests by exhibiting superior transitional response and confident cornering on the wet track. The g-Force COMP-2 A/S demonstrated strong braking and acceleration traction, but the tendency to push through turns meant drivers had to scrub more speed before corner entry. At around half a second per lap behind the General and BFGoodrich, the Signature HP did not have the same levels of wet grip as those two tires. It was easy to drive and balanced through corners, and the gentle breakaway meant it was forgiving when the driver made a mistake. The ADVAN Sport A/S was a noticeable step back in the wet compared to the rest of the group. While it performed at a level that would be acceptable to most drivers, its somewhat lower limits meant it was easy to ask too much on the track.
Winter weather is often unpredictable, and snow-covered roads change with every passing vehicle as they churn snow into slush or pack it down to polished ice. A constantly changing test surface makes side-by-side comparisons difficult, so we use a dedicated winter testing facility in Northern Sweden with acres of groomed snow that provides the consistency we need to get reliable acceleration and braking comparisons. This facility also has a prepared snow-handling course where we evaluate the stability and control of each tire during abrupt maneuvers. To simulate the icy conditions found at intersections or the black ice experienced out on the highway, we use ice at a local hockey rink and measure acceleration and braking traction.
In snow, the BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S delivered impressive performance for a tire in the Ultra High Performance All-Season category. Anecdotally we would place this tire at or near the front of the category for outright traction and controllability in the snow. Right on its heels was the General G-MAX AS-05. This tire produced slightly longer acceleration and braking distances when relying on electronic traction control and anti-lock brake systems, but displayed more tolerance for higher wheelspin and slip angles when driven with traction control turned off. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S delivered adequate acceleration and braking traction, but fell a little short in stability during more abrupt handling maneuvers. The Dunlop Signature HP trailed the others, providing moderate traction to start, stop and turn our test car.
Traction to start and stop our test car on ice was very similar across all four tires in our test, and at a level not close to dedicated winter tires, or even regular passenger all-season tires.
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 three stop signs every lap. Our team drove each tire 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.
@ 15,000 Miles
|% vs. Most Efficient|
|BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S||29.5||508.5||-1.36%|
|Dunlop Signature HP||29.9||501.7||--|
|General G-MAX AS-05||29.8||503.4||-.34%|
|Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S||29.9||501.7||--|
|*Our evaluation used Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled.|
Low rolling resistance is not necessarily a priority for Ultra High Performance tires, but with the ever-present uncertainty of fuel prices, a tire's fuel economy may be a consideration for consumers. Within this group we found a slight difference in observed vehicle fuel economy, with a .4 mile per gallon disparity between our lowest and highest observed fuel economy. This difference would result in an additional 6.8 gallons of premium gasoline used per year. At the current cost of $3.00/gallon, it would amount to an annual difference of $20.40 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.
While the BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S secured the highest overall score by a narrow margin, any one of the tires in this test presents a compelling option.
The BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S is a composed and robust-feeling tire with impressive traction levels in the dry or wet and surprising refinement on the road given its aggressive looks and performance credentials. General's G-MAX AS-05 feels eager and responsive to the driver's commands, with sporty handling and good wet traction combined with noise and ride quality appropriate for its mission as an Ultra High Performance tire. With its well-damped, quiet operation on the road, the Dunlop Signature HP would be a good match for a daily-driven, sporty car, but it lacks the outright performance of the BFGoodrich or General. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S is capable both on the track and on the road, but is not remarkable in any way when compared to the newer tires in the test.
BFGoodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The g-Force COMP-2 A/S was developed for sports car, sporty coupe, performance sedan and modern muscle car driving enthusiasts looking for BFGoodrich's best Ultra High Performance All-Season tire yet. Significantly improving wet handling/braking and snow traction over its predecessor, the g-Force COMP-2 A/S is designed to Accelerate faster, Brake shorter and provide more Control in all seasons to deliver BFG's ABCs of Ultra High Performance All-Season driving, even in light snow. Read more.
Dunlop Signature HP (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The Dunlop Signature HP tire line includes V- and W-speed rated Ultra High Performance All-Season radials developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and high-performance sedans who want to take command of their vehicle and experience the thrill of the road. Developed for drivers who love having both power and control at their fingertips, Signature HP tires are designed to combine a stylish look with all-season traction, even in light snow. Read more.
General G-MAX AS-05 (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The G-MAX AS-05 is General's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire designed for the drivers of performance sedans, sports cars and sporty coupes looking for a tire that effectively blends performance handling in the dry and wet with confident traction in all seasons, including light snow. Read more.
Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S (Ultra High Performance All-Season): The ADVAN Sport A/S is Yokohama's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire developed for sports car, sporty coupe and luxury sedan drivers looking for year-round performance. Designed to offer smoother ride comfort for a more enjoyable drive, the ADVAN Sport A/S provides traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions, even in light snow. Read more.
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