High performance for all
Hp summer tires
Slightly “detuned” compared to their top-of-the-range UHP counterparts, they still feature similar characteristics and performance dedicated to mid-range vehicles
In line with winter regulations our cars were equipped with the most suitable tires to cope with the rigors of winter. Now, as the warm season sets in, summer tires are ready to take over the scene, especially in the mid-range section of the market which includes family cars, small and medium sedans, even their sportier versions. Strategically important for the commercial success of each brand the most representative size, the 205/55 R16 alone represents about 12% of total sales in Europe.
Less extreme, and expensive, than top-of-the-range UHP tires, high performance products come in a rather wide range of sizes aimed at satisfying a wider demand ranging from 13 or 14 inches in diameter to 17 or 18 inches, at the most, – a part from a few slightly more extreme exceptions - even though quality and performance are not too distant from their UHP counterparts.
All the top players in the segment, whether manufacturers of OEMs or replacement tires, are ready to flood the market with their new tires and a few interesting innovations, or consolidated products already widely appreciated by users and operators in the sector, who can make the best possible use of tested products with balanced performance or new entries ready to meet growing demands.
Here is an overview of some of the most popular HP, quality and premium tires offered by mainstream brands.
A real point of reference in Bridgestone's European production, the Turanza T005 is a mid-range summer tire able to guarantee outstanding performance. The fact that the mid-range sector plays an important role in Bridgestone’s commercial strategies is evidenced by the wide availability of this tire, offered in 170 sizes, ranging from 14 to 21 inches, and speed codes from T (190 km/h) to Y (300 km/h), many of which also in self-supporting RFT versions. The reinforced structure and the large side grooves combine high speed stability with high drainage capacity, while the high percentage of silica used in the compound, thanks to NanoPro-Tech technology, limits wear and rolling resistance improving grip in all conditions at the same time. For Bridgestone, this means class A labelling (B for some sizes) for braking distances and class B labelling on fuel-saving.
The latest evolution of this widely appreciated range, chosen by many car manufacturers as OEM, Continental’s PremiumContact 6 features advanced silica crystal compounds with low-wear polymers, designed by the German manufacturer to optimize grip, reliability and durability. This translates into class A labelling for braking distances on wet roads, and between B and C on rolling resistance. The flexible tread pattern ensures, through its asymmetrical design, greater grip through fast corners, while the large tread blocks, which extend towards the edge of the shoulder, improves handling and driving precision at high speed. The range boasts several sizes, ranging from 15 to 22 inches, widths from 185 to 255 and aspect ratios between 40 and 65, with speed codes V, W and Y, some come also in runflat SSR version or with additional noise reduction technology ContiSilent.
The dynamic American brand confirmed its sporty Zeon CS8, successfully on the market since 2015 and made in Serbia specifically for the European market, and positioned towards the top of the High Performance range. Characterised by a new tread pattern with large circumferential grooves that clear water quickly and sequenced tread blocks to reduce generated noise, which alternate on the shoulder 3D sipes for greater tread block stability, while Cooper's Opti-Noise technology goes a long way in reducing the typical noise caused by rolling. More than fifty sizes available ranging from 15 to 18 inches, with V and W speed codes, winning a full A in wet braking distance ratings and C to E in rolling resistance, with low friction noise emissions.
On the market since 2013 and chosen as OEM by several car manufacturers, the Dunlop BluResponse is made using a variable radius technology (MRT), able to limit the deformation of the casing by evenly distributing the pressure on the ground, for better stability and driving precision. This structure, along with an asymmetrical design with a variable full/void ratio and Dunlop’s innovative Power-Breaking blocks, counteracts the phenomenon of aquaplaning, winning an A rating for wet braking distances almost throughout the range. The shape of the shoulder combined with the advanced compounds, contribute to the reduction of noise emissions and fuel consumption, certified by a B rating in energy performance on most of the sizes available, between 14 and 17 inches, with speed codes between H and Y.
Ziex ZE310 Ecorun
Following its commercial launch last year, Falken’s high performance summer tire can now benefits from a further expansion of its size range, able to cater for all kinds of demands thanks to 128 references, between 14 and 18 inches, with speed codes H, V and W. Although dedicated to the mid-range of the market, the Ziex ZE310 has a distinctly sporty tread pattern with a variable high performance profile for an ideal combination of performance on dry and wet roads. Not one but two tread patterns, depending on the size of the tire, that is, with only two longitudinal grooves for smaller sizes, dedicated to small and generally lighter cars, with an additional groove and rib on tires from 195 mm upwards, so as to optimize performance according to the type of car. Even here certifications are quite impressive with an A for braking on wet roads and between C and E for rolling resistance.
Giti Tires, owner of GT Radial, Primewell and Runway, considers the GitiSynergy E1 range as the flagship for the European market, dedicated to small and medium sized cars. Specially designed by the Research and Development department of Giti Tire, based in Hannover, Germany, to meet the demand for a summer tire with a balanced behaviour both on dry and wet roads and reduced rolling resistance, all to the benefit of fuel consumption and durability. Recently introduced the Synergy E1 range comes with a tread designed to offer high grip in all conditions, guaranteeing more than adequate energy efficiency thanks to its advanced low friction compound. Currently in about twenty sizes, with dimensions ranging from 185/70 R14 H to 225/45 R17 V, all with B classification for wet grip and between B and C for rolling resistance.
A long standing market protagonist, well known by operators and synonymous with high performance in all conditions. This is EfficientGrip Performance, a summer tire that made its first appearance in 2013 both as OEM and replacement in the mid-range segment. The tread comes with a continuous circumferential rib which, combined with Goodyear’s Active Breaking technology, improves braking distances in case of rain, guaranteeing superior handling even on dry roads, earning an A for grip when braking on wet roads. Furthermore, its rigid structure coupled to its Wear Control Technology and a special tread compound with Cool Cushion Layer2 reinforcement, goes a long way in reducing fuel consumption, earning a B throughout the range. Available in a wide range of sizes between 14 and 18 inches, with speed codes from H to Y.
Ventus Prime3 K125
The European production of the Ventus range places the Korean brand in the position to equip several cars as OEM supplying, at the same time, the aftermarket with a product in line with the high standards required. Launched towards the end of 2015, the Ventus Prime3 boasts an asymmetrical design with four longitudinal grooves, designed to maximise grip both in dry and wet conditions, as indicated by the A for wet braking. A reinforced belt guarantees greater driving precision, improves traction through the use of a high-grip compound and low rolling resistance, as evidenced by the C code on the European labelling standard. The size range, designed to meet the needs of the most popular vehicles on the market, is made up of around ninety sizes, from 15 to 18 inches, a tread width of 185 to 245 millimetres and shoulder ratios of 40 to 55 %, with speed codes H, V, W and Y.
Pilot Sport 4
The Pilot Sport 4, which was launched in 2016 and has been updated in terms of size, offers a sporty though but not quite extreme profile, leaving the task of satisfying the demand for Ultra-High-Performance to its “bigger” brother, the Pilot Sport 4S. The new structure, with a casing reinforced by extra aramid and nylon plies, ensures greater stability in all conditions, supported by a tread design with a 10% smaller void ratio than its predecessor Pilot Sport 3. Greater contact patch and stiffer tread, made from new-generation elastomers, maximise both high-speed and braking response, giving an A rating to almost the entire range for wet grip and between C and E for rolling resistance. Available sizes range from 16 to 20 inches, with section widths between 195 and 275 mm, aspect ratios from 55 to 35 and speed ratings V, W and Y.
N’Blue HD Plus
The second Korean manufacturer (in terms of sales volumes) offers its N'Blue HD Plus range for mid-range vehicles, a well tested tire already on the market since 2015. The four central groove pattern ensures good performance in wet conditions, while the rigid shoulder blocks in combination with three longitudinal ribs, provides ease of handling and stability at both low and high speeds. More than seventy references, with labels ratings between A and C for wet braking and between B and E for energy efficiency, makes the N’Blue HD perfect for a wide range of applications, also as a replacement on different models, with a dimensional choice ranging between 13 and 17 inches of diameter with speed codes between T and W, 145 to 235 cm wide and with aspect ratios going from 70 to 45.
A true pioneer, on the market for several years now, and the basis for the development of several other high-performance ranges by the Scandinavian manufacturer, Line represents Nokian’s attempt to bring together a generous number of technologies to be used also on other products of the brand, including a profile designed to contrast the phenomenon of aquaplaning. A four longitudinal groove pattern, with the outer shoulder inclined by 20° to increase water evacuation and manoeuvrability even at high speeds, benefits from Nokian’s Cross-Block sipes technology which works together with the stiffer ribs, providing stability in all conditions as well as a significant reduction of rolling resistance and noise level. Despite the passing of time, Line is still one of the safest tires out there even in particularly unfavourable driving conditions, earning an A and B ratings for wet braking and a C for Energy efficiency across the range. To date fifty sizes are available to the public, ranging between 14 and 17 inches, with speed codes between T and W.
Another long standing success, Pirelli’s Cinturato P7 made its first appearance in 2009 and has kept on developing and improving ever since, so much so that it still boasts a double A rating in the European classification on most of the range. The Cinturato P7 is one of the first to take advantage of the "green performance" philosophy of the Italian brand, which produces its compounds without the use of aromatic oils, while managing to maintain its high levels of grip, handling, comfort and safety. Among the most advanced technologies used, the Cinturato P7 range offers - depending on the size - three special versions, i.e. Runflat, Self Supporting system and Seal Inside, capable of preventing up to 85% of all possible accidental causes of puncture, and all of this without disturbing the neighbours thanks to Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System, capable of reducing cavity noise by about 50%. Rather wide is the dimensional range, from 16 to 19 inches, with speed codes from H to Y.
A newcomer on the market, the new TR1 profile is a high performance summer tire closely related to the UHP Proxes Sport. The asymmetrical pattern of the tread boasts two different longitudinal sections, while the straight longitudinal claw-like grooves on one side, and a wavy shape on the other, besides giving the profile a highly characteristic look, cooperate in dispersing water effectively even in the presence of heavy rain, receiving a B rating for braking distances. Thanks to the new Nano Balance Technology compound, common to most recent Toyo products, mileage, grip and handling are optimized along with driving precision and sudden changes in direction even at high speeds. Once the launch is completed, the Proxes TR1 will be available in over fifty references, ranging from 195/45 R14 to 245/35 R20, with V, W and Y speed codes.
And finally, here is a tire that will satisfy the most dynamic users. Yokohama’s new AdvanNeova AD08RS, an evolution of the previous AD08R and available only from the spring of 2019 is a purely sporty profile that, in terms of performance, stands right at the top of the segment. The new compounds, while maintaining the characteristic footprint design and effectiveness in terms of grip in dry and wet conditions alike, are now able to guarantee lower rolling resistance despite the high grip guaranteed by the sporty character of this tire. From the word go the range includes over thirty sizes, from 15 to 19 inches, widths between 185 and 265 mm, aspect ratios between 55 and 30, with speed codes V and W, all classified with a B for wet braking and an E for rolling resistance.