Premium Winter Tyres
These are the most suitable tires to guarantee maximum safety at low temperatures. Especially on vehicles that won’t relinquish high performances even in demanding conditions, like winter.
As the winter season approaches, we’re reminded of the prudential, though mandatory, ritual of mounting a set of tires specifically designed for that season. Considering that all premium tire manufacturers have designed specific products for that segment, and in some cases with many options, along the ranges designed for low end and mid-sized cars, which absorb the highest production volumes, premium companies save the best of their technology for the premium winter segment, an extremely gratifying and qualifying niche especially as far as research and performance are concerned- this to complete their know-how besides being able to satisfy the growing demand for winter ranges, especially in those countries (European first and foremost) where the cold season represents an excellent business opportunity.
Now that winter is fast approaching, here are some of the offers by the “top 7” companies, including many original solutions, for the winter premium ranges that we will see this winter mounted on the most performing grand touring cars.
Bridgestone completes its winter selection with its new Blizzak LM001 tire, and can now boast a complete and totally renovated winter range. The LM001 version, on the market from September 2014, has been designed to offer high levels of performance and safety, thanks to a new directional pattern featuring a “full lug” design, which provides better snow traction and braking, while the latest sipe design gives plenty of “edge effect” on slippery surfaces. The new horn-shaped grooves and the rounded corners of the tread blocks clear water and slush away from the contact patch faster, providing better contact and grip in every condition. The new materials used for both casing and compounds have sensibly reduced the tire’s weight, which results in a reduction of both fuel consumption and noise level. Available initially in nine main sizes, the line-up will be completed during the course of next year with additional sizes to the new Blizzak LM001 range.
The new offer by the German tire maker in view of the 2014 winter season. With its new TS 850 P, which replaces its previous TS 830 P, Continental develops the performance of its premium winter product, designed for high-end vehicles and SUV. Thanks to a new asymmetric tread pattern, along with sipe edges with a greater inclination, handling has improved by 5% compared to its predecessor, “capturing” more snow to produce a better grip. In dry conditions, handling is guaranteed by the stiffness of the outside tread blocks that has improved driving precision by 2%, especially through fast corners where the reduced height of the shoulder can transfer the lateral load faster. The center of the tread pattern features an intermittent rib structure, similar to summer tires, which prevents the tread bars from tilting when braking, improving grip and reducing braking distance by 5%. The version designed for SUV, the WinterContact TS 850 SUV (from this model the whole range loses the Conti brand on the tire) has bigger tread blocks, to prevent stones from becoming lodged in the tire, and a reinforced casing that can bear the heaviest loads. The WinterContact TS 850 P range for cars goes from 205/50 R17H to 245/40 R18W, it goes from 215/70 R16T to 255/50 R20V for SUV.
Having been introduced on the market a year ago already, this is not an absolute novelty, but through its SP WinterSport 4D, Dunlop confirms its premium product also for the 2014 winter season. Compared to its predecessor, the 3D, that sported a narrow 3D groove on its multi-radius tread, the 4D displayed on the tire is justified by a new transversal rib on the tread pattern that improves the load distribution through the contact patch. A high number of biting edges in contact with the road enhance both acceleration and braking efficiency, besides improving the handling on snow covered roads. A new active polymer compound eliminates the hardening of the tire even at the lowest temperatures, providing the best performances on both dry and wet roads without compromising its grip in snowy conditions, improving at the same time the rolling resistance by 11% compared to the previous model. The SP WinterSport 4D range goes from 195/65 R15T to 285/30 R21W.
The Korean company’s showpiece in the premium sector was presented by Hankook already in 2012, but has been confirmed this year too, thanks to the enduring quality displayed by the W310 I*cept evo range. Recognizable by its distinctive “polar bear claw” groove, with marked grooves running outwardly, for better water displacement, the W310 combines the effects of a series of auxiliary internal sipes with the main sipes for better grip on snow and an asymmetric tread pattern with 3 longitudinal grooves. A new silica-based compound improves handling at low temperatures, aided by tread blocks designed with 3D Kerf technology, to balance the tire’s performance throughout most of the tire’s life. The huge size range will satisfy the most demanding customer with diameters ranging from 15 to 20 inches, section widths going from 185 to 275 mm and aspect ratio from 75 to 35.
The pioneer of a complete renovation of the Michelin winter range, having made their debut last year, the Pilot Alpin PA4 along with its SUV destined counterpart, the Latitude Alpine LA2, represent the French company’s top of the winter range. The heavily grooved Maxi Edge tread pattern includes self-locking StabiliGrip sipes, a design studied to obtain an adequate stiffness of the tread blocks in every condition, increasing angles and grooves. The 3rd generation of silica-based, sun flower-oil enriched HelioCompound 3G, remains more flexible for better traction in cold conditions. The result for both models is a seasonal range with a high safe driving quality, better traction on snow and reduced braking distance. The Pilot Alpin PA4 range includes diameters from 17 to 20 inches, aspect ratios from 55 to 30 and speed ratings H, V and W, while the SUV Latitude Alpin LA2 range includes wheel diameters from 16 to 21 inches, ratio from 70 to 35 and speed ratings H and V.
The launch of the third generation of Pirelli’s Winter Sottozero 3 goes back to 2013, and represents an ultra high performance option designed for premium high performance vehicles including sports cars. The structure with rounded shoulders and two deep longitudinal grooves facilitates water expulsion, while the sophisticated tread pattern provides a uniform pressure on the whole contact patch. The original compound with specialized polymers improves the tread rubber compound’s mechanical, thermal and dynamic properties, resulting in improved stability in the coldest conditions, guaranteeing maximum handling and driving precision. Available on the market worldwide, the Winter Sottozero 3 can be mounted on 16 to 21 inch wheels.
The W.drive V905 winter tire produced by Yokohama shows three important developments compared to the previous V 902, a radically new tread pattern, a new compound and casing structure. The new tread design maximizes the edging effect thanks to deep grooves, which contributes to stability on snow, ice and wet roads. A directional pattern with wide slanting grooves provides excellent drainage, reducing the hydroplaning effect and slip angle. Ultimate winter performance on the widest temperature range is guaranteed by the new Silica End-locked and Orange Oil enriched compound, hand in hand with lower fuel consumption and lower rolling resistance, improving therefore the tire’s lifespan and emissions. And, last but not least, the casing, made with an even stiffer structure to provide the ultimate stability and handling even at high speed. Initially offered on the market along its predecessor V902, the W.drive V905 will be available from this winter in 15 to 18 inch diameters, 185 to 245 mm section widths and speed ratings T,H,V and W.