May 27, 2005
While many American driving enthusiasts have previously thought of General Tire primarily as an Original Equipment tire supplier to domestic vehicle manufacturers, General Tire has given them an attractively priced Ultra High Performance aftermarket tire that they will be happy to shout about. General Tire's Exclaim UHP tires were developed for sports cars, coupes and sedans, and are designed to provide predictable handling, terrific traction and exceptional hydroplaning resistance on water drenched roads.
To find out how well General Tire's Exclaim UHP stacks up against its competition, we compared its road manners and handling performance with the Ultra High Performance Summer Kumho Ecsta SPT and Yokohama AVS ES100.
Our evaluation used 2003 BMW 330Ci coupes, with new, full tread depth 225/45R17 tires mounted on 17x8.0" wheels. We also included a fourth 2003 BMW 330Ci fitted with the Original Equipment (OE) 205/50R17 Goodyear Eagle RS-A High Performance All-Season tires mounted on factory 17x7.0" wheels. We have included this vehicle/tire combination in other tire evaluations, and have found it helpful to have an OE-equipped vehicle in the test to evaluate the impact of installing the other products.
Our 5.6-mile Real World Road Ride loop of public expressway, state highway and county roads near our South Bend headquarters provides a great variety of everyday road conditions with a mix of city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt road surfaces. This course allows our team to experience the noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling of the products we drive on, just as you would during your drive to work.
The Exclaim UHP and Ecsta SPT were praised for delivering a good blend of ride, noise and handling qualities that confirmed their competitive positions in the Ultra High Performance Summer tire category, while the AVS ES100 traded a little noise and ride comfort to provide the most responsive handling. The Original Equipment Goodyear Eagle RS-A felt appropriate for its all-season category, but could not match the handling of the three summer tires.
However, when it came to noise across the variety of road surfaces in our test loop, the Original Equipment Goodyear Eagle RS-A was ranked the best, followed by the Ecsta SPT, Exclaim UHP and the AVS ES100.
And the Eagle RS-A also smoothed out road imperfections to provide the best ride quality of the group, followed by the Ecsta SPT, Exclaim UHP and the AVS ES100.
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.
While the three replacement tires turned relatively quick average lap times under dry conditions, the AVS ES100 edged out the Ecsta SPT, followed by the Exclaim UHP and Eagle RS-A. The AVS ES100 generated ultimate cornering grip that just edged out the Ecsta SPT, while the Exclaim UHP's aggressive tread design and compound offered surprisingly good grip and predictable handling while running faster lap times than the Eagle RS-A.
With the track wet to simulate the conditions of a moderate rain shower, the Kumho SPT delivered the best overall traction and fastest average lap time, slightly ahead of the Exclaim UHP with both tires distancing themselves from the AVS ES100 and the Eagle RS-A. Since our test track's watering system is designed to simulate a moderate rain shower, the water depth and average speeds did not allow our team members to experience the Exclaim UHP tire's exceptional hydroplaning resistance. The Eagle RS-A was not able to match the overall handling of the other three tires, delivering gentle understeer when pressed to its grip limits.
General Tire Exclaim UHP (Ultra High Performance): The General Tire Exclaim UHP is an Ultra High Performance Summer tire that was developed for the drivers of sports cars, coupes and sedans. While branded with the "M+S" symbol, the Exclaim UHP was designed to emphasize traction, handling and control in dry and wet road conditions. The Exclaim UHP is only intended to be driven in occasional, very light snow.
Goodyear Eagle RS-A (Original Equipment Comparison): The Goodyear Eagle RS-A is a High Performance All-Season tire produced with several speed ratings and in a wide variety of sizes. Its design is heavily influenced by its use as an Original Equipment tire by BMW, Volkswagen, General Motors, Chrysler and others. The Eagle RS-A features a subtle asymmetric tread design with larger tread elements in the outside shoulder intended to deliver more responsive handling, cornering, and steering. Smaller tread blocks on the inside shoulder combined with wide tread and lateral grooves are intended to enhance wet and snow traction. Read more.
Kumho Ecsta SPT (Ultra High Performance): The Ecsta SPT (KU31) is Kumho's Ultra High Performance Summer tire developed for sports cars, coupes and sedans. The Ecsta SPT was designed to offer grip, handling, comfort, wear and good looks in order to provide enthusiastic drivers the ability to "Drive Hard - Go Big - Look Good." Ecsta SPT tires are not intended to be driven in snow.
Yokohama AVS ES100 (Ultra High Performance): The AVS ES100 radial is Yokohama's Ultra High Performance Summer tire designed to deliver ultra high performance looks and handling to the drivers of sports cars, coupes and sedans. The AVS in the AVS ES100 radial's name identifies that this tire is a member of Yokohama's Advanced Vehicle System flagship family of performance tires.
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