July 31, 2007
North America's touring tire category was originally created to identify the tires that were developed to blend much of the bold appearance and some of the responsiveness of performance tires with the ride qualities and acoustic comfort normally associated with passenger tires. As the range of touring tire offerings grew, Tire Rack further segmented them into summer or all-season, as well as Standard Touring (typically lower speed rated, extra long mileage tires) or Grand Touring (higher speed rated, long mileage tires often used as Original Equipment).
Because of the Grand Touring All-Season tire category's growing popularity, tire manufacturers continue to develop new technologies to better meet the needs of today's drivers and their vehicles. In 2007, Bridgestone introduces Turanza tires featuring their Serenity Technology, and Michelin introduces the latest offering in their family of MXV4 tires, the Primacy MXV4 with MaxTouch Construction.
Turanza with Serenity Technology tires feature an optimization of Bridgestone technologies that are designed to provide their optimal package of quiet, comfort, confident wet handling and a long tread live.
Primacy MXV4 tires were developed to become the successor to Michelin's Energy MXV4 Plus tire line and promise to add the extra value that comes with longer wear to the existing tire's combination of performance and comfort.
To get a better idea of how these two tires drive, Tire Rack team conducted a real world road ride and performance test drive, comparing the Bridgestone and Michelin tires with two other popular choices from the category - Continental's ContiProContact and the Goodyear Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology. Our evaluation used 2006 BMW 325i E90 sedans with new, full tread depth 205/55R16 tires mounted on 16x7.5" wheels.
Our 5.6-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.
Grand Touring All-Season tires by design are intended to deliver smooth, comfortable ride quality, and this group did not disappoint. Of special note was the refinement shown by the Michelin Primacy MXV4, which did a good job at masking or minimizing impact harshness over everything but the really broken or patched pavement while also feeling connected to the road. Bridgestone's Turanza with Serenity Technology was a close second in the ride quality category, offering a comfortable ride over the variety of smooth and rough surfaces along our ride route. The Goodyear Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology felt a little firmer when driving across the medium- and large-sized bumps and expansion joints, while the Continental ContiProContact was somewhat harsh and a little unrefined compared to the other three tires.
The Michelin and Bridgestone tires were both praised for their relatively quiet ride, with the Michelin having a slight advantage over the Bridgestone. The tread noise that these two did generate was easily forgotten amid the noises produced by wind and other vehicles in the vicinity. The Goodyear also did a nice job minimizing tread noise, although some of our team noticed a more distinct pitch when driving across smooth asphalt roads. The Continental tire, while appropriately quiet for the category, did produce somewhat more tread noise across all surfaces and at the various speeds along our test route.
In the handling area, again the Primacy MXV4 had a slight advantage over the others in the group, delivering a reassuring and connected feel with taut handling and immediate (but not nervous) steering response. The Turanza with Serenity Technology also blended responsive steering and controlled cornering, while the Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology reacted more slowly to initial steering input but then displayed increasing responsiveness as additional steering input was applied.
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.
On the track in dry conditions, the Bridgestone Turanza with Serenity Technology delivered balanced handling when pressed to its limit and just edged out the Michelin Primacy MXV4 for quickest average overall lap time. The Primacy MXV4 cornered with authority and felt very stable under hard braking. The Goodyear Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology felt somewhat less composed than the Bridgestone or Michelin. The ResponsEdge delivered plenty of overall traction especially in straight line braking, but when transitioning side-to-side through the lane-change slalom or around the sharper 90° corners the steering felt somewhat disconnected from the tire's contact patch. This required constant steering correction to maintain the desired path. The Continental ContiProContact provided traction and handling appropriate for a Grand Touring All-Season tire, but did not feel as composed nor was able to keep up with the lap times of the other three tires in this test.
In the wet, the Primacy MXV4 held a clear advantage over the other tires, displaying noticeably more wet traction and able to lap our course nearly three quarters of a second faster than the second place Bridgestone. Of note, however, was the wear rate of the Michelin under the admittedly extreme conditions of our track test. We observed an unusually high wear rate versus the other three tires, and when compared to other tires we have tested in wet conditions. The Turanza with Serenity Technology was the best of the other three tires, providing Bridgestone's typical balanced handling and good wet traction. The Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology was a close third, but subjectively felt somewhat skittish under braking and hard cornering. The ContiProContact followed close behind the Goodyear, not able to provide quite as much wet grip as the others in this test.
Bridgestone Turanza with Serenity Technology (Grand Touring All-Season): Turanza with Serenity Technology tires are Bridgestone's Grand Touring All-Season tires developed for the drivers of sporty coupes and luxury performance sedans. Turanza with Serenity Technology tires are designed to provide Bridgestone's ultimate in ride and noise comfort while blending long wear with dry, wet and year-round traction, even in light snow.
Continental ContiProContact (Grand Touring All-Season): The ContiProContact is Continental's Grand Touring All-Season tire used as Original Equipment on European sport sedans. The ContiProContact was developed to blend looks and handling with low noise and good ride comfort and is tuned to match the needs of sporty sedans by providing year-round traction, even in light snow. Read more.
Goodyear Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology (Grand Touring All-Season): Goodyear Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology radials are Grand Touring All-Season tires developed to enhance the capabilities of sport coupes and sedans. The Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology is designed to offer year-round traction on dry, wet and lightly snow-covered roads, while delivering a blend of responsive handling and comfortable ride qualities that allow drivers to feel the road, not the rumble.
Michelin Primacy MXV4 (Grand Touring All-Season): Primacy MXV4 tires are Michelin's Grand Touring All-Season tires developed to meet the needs of a variety of vehicle types (for example SUVs, crossover vehicles and sedans). Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires are designed to offer a quiet, comfortable ride, long tread life, responsive handling and all-season traction, including in light snow. Read more.
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