Premium brands introduce their summer “shoes”
Seasonal tire replacement
With the first orders to replenish their stocks now made, tire centres are gearing up for the workload during peak season come April 15
Spring is just around the corner and tire dealers are already hard at work sending orders to replenish their summer tire stocks. Manufacturers are well aware of this, and since the beginning of January, they have been updating their catalogues to include new products for the 2021 season. Replacing winter tires with summer products is an important step not only for road safety reasons – as temperatures rise, tires designed for summer conditions are more suitable to cope with the characteristics road surfaces - but also in terms of fuel consumption and vehicle performance. The obligation to drive on winter tires comes into force on 15 November and expires on 15 April throughout Italy. Starting from this date it is therefore possible to start changing tires.
For the summer season, Bridgestone expands its range of ultra-high performance tires with the new Bridgestone Potenza Sport. The company developed a tread pattern and compound by introducing a series of technological innovations. The design features innovative 3D sipes, which according to Bridgestone, increase transversal stiffness improving braking performance and increasing the tire’s ability to withstand abrasion; the compound, on the other hand, has been optimised thanks to a new mixing method. Bridgestone also used new hybrid belt reinforcements to enhance stability at high speeds. Furthermore, the new casing prevents vibrations to the steering wheel at high speed and improves rolling resistance. Bridgestone's patented virtual development technology proved crucial throughout the design phase of the new Potenza Sport.
Potenza Sport tires are custom developed, and have already been chosen as OE by a number of automotive brands, including Maserati for its MC20 supercar, Lamborghini for the Huracán STO and BMW for the 8 series. Potenza Sport is available in 96 sizes from 17" to 22" making it suitable for a wide plethora of vehicles ranging from premium sedans and SUVs to luxury cars. Next up is the Turanza T005. Developed and manufactured in Europe, Bridgestone Turanza T005 scores an A in the European labelling system for driving in wet weather and a B for low rolling resistance, which translates in fuel savings. The high percentage of silica in the compound, courtesy of Bridgestone's proprietary NanoPro-Tech technology, guarantees wet stability while the dense siping and the voids in the middle section of the tread allows water to drain efficiently. In addition, the use of this technology helps to reduce tire wear. Bridgestone's in-house testing confirms an increase in performance of the Turanza T005 when compared to the T001 EVO3: a 10% longer tread life. The Turanza T005 is available in more than 140 sizes ranging from 14" to 21" wheels.
Continental is ready to capitalize on the summer season with a wide range of tires. The EcoContact 6, suitable for cars and SUVs, has been designed using an innovative compound: the GreenChili 2.0. The enhanced connections between silica and polymer chains allows the tire to adapt to different road conditions. It is available in tread widths 145-315 for 13'' to 22'' wheels with T/Y speed codes. Premium Contact 6 has a special silica compound that optimizes the footprint and reduces tread wear. Low-wear polymers produce over 15% improvement in mileage as the footprint is optimized and tread wear reduced in everyday driving situations. In addition, the even stiffness of the tread improves driving comfort and reduces noise. The advanced macro-block profile enhances driving precision and stability when cornering. The outer shoulder structure has been designed to cope with high lateral forces, while a responsive belt design results in greater tread stiffness and reduces block deformation for better grip under the action of lateral forces. The tire is available in 205-335 tread widths, aspect ratio 40 - 60 and is suitable for 12'' to 22'' wheels with V/W/Y speed codes.
Adreno H/P Sport AD-R8 is the summer tire designed by Cst Tire engineers for the SUV market. The tread features 3 main longitudinal grooves and a further one towards the outer shoulder to increase water drainage reducing the risk of aquaplaning. The transversal grooves reduce noise while the central waved groove walls reduce the vibrations normally felt on certain types of roads and at a considerable pace, all of which translates in a rather comfy ride. From 2019, the Adreno H/P Sport AD-R8 line has been significantly expanded and is now available for 16" to 20" rims. The Marquis MR61 tire boasts a high silica compound, which allows it to have low rolling resistance and excellent braking performance. The asymmetric inner side and shoulder design provides a larger contact area resulting in consistent wear. The Marquis MR61 features wide longitudinal grooves which, combined with the presence of numerous sipes linked to the central ribs, maximize road handling. The Medallion MD-A1, on the other hand, makes use of a new compound and modern technology to provide enhanced wet grip and traction and low rolling resistance. The closed shoulder grooves reduce the amount of rolling noise produced and guarantees an even wear of the tread. Double Angled shoulder Grooves drastically reduce the chances for hydroplaning.
Falken expands its range of summer tires dedicated to cars and SUVs, both as original equipment and aftermarket. The Falken Azenis FK510 line includes now 10 new sizes (two additional ones are under development). The Azenis is available in sizes 205/50ZR17 93Y XL up to 255/35ZR 18 (94Y) XL. This spring will also see the expansion of the Suv version, the Azenis FK510Suv, which will add the 215/50R 18 92W to the 4 sizes already available.
For the seasonal change, Firestone offers Roadhawk. This is a summer radial tire - suitable for both small cars and SUVs – that has been designed to replace the previous TZ300, compared to which, in addition to clear progress in terms of performance, Roadhawk boasts a much wider range of sizes, from 15 to 21 inches. A key element of the Roadhawk is the tread pattern, designed by Firestone to offer grip in wet conditions, earning an A in the European label. The tire's structure features a lightweight casing that provides low rolling resistance and helps reduce fuel consumption. The special compound ensures long tread life, comfort and safety throughout the tire's life cycle.
For 2021, Giti Tire introduces two new summer products under the Giti and GT Radial brands: GT Radial - SportActive2 and Giti Synergy E2. The group's designers have worked to improve the overall performance of the tires focusing in particular on wet grip during both braking and driving. GT Radial - SportActive2 is an asymmetric tire that has been designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding drivers in terms of performance. It is available in 13 sizes. The Giti Synergy E2 is a narrow-section tire specially designed and manufactured to minimize rolling resistance. This product is also suitable for electric vehicles.
Goodyear expands the EfficientGrip range with two additional versions: Performance 2 and Suv. The EfficientGrip Performance 2 features high tread flexibility and elasticity to reduce tire wear caused by demanding road conditions, without compromising wet and dry performance. Longer grooves, combined with a less rigid compound than its predecessor, improve water evacuation and reduce wet braking distances. The wide ribs in the centre of the tread provide greater stiffness and allow for increased stability in emergency situations. Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 is offered in 45 sizes that will be gradually introduced throughout the year. The EfficientGrip 2 Suv is a summer tire dedicated to the world of SUVs and crossovers. Goodyear engineers have improved mileage by 25 percent over its predecessor, thanks to the implementation of Goodyear Mileage Plus technology, which offers tread elasticity and flexibility, resulting in less micro-damage due to rough roads and temperature changes. The presence of more grooves has reduced braking distance on wet roads, while the use of a more elastic compound allows for better water evacuation. The EfficientGrip 2 Suv is offered in 52 new sizes from 16 inches to 22 inches, which will be introduced between this year and February 2022.
For the summer season, the Korean tire manufacturer worked on the range of products in the Ventus line. In particular, the Ventus S1 Evo3 designed for large size vehicles, SUVs and electric vehicles. The highly enriched synthetic silica compound enables higher mileage while the increased number of inner tread blocks ensure better water drainage. The hybrid aramid cord counteracts the centrifugal force and minimizes tread deformation. This tire features interlocking outer grooves to ensure grip on wet roads and prevent aquaplaning. Hankook has also made a version of this tire for electric vehicles. The Ventus S1 Evo3 EV is designed to minimize the effect of skidding and abnormal abrasion due to the rapid acceleration typical of most EVs. Hankook's new tire features a reduced rolling resistance, greater energy saving and lower CO2 emissions in ICEV mode.
Michelin offer for the summer season is quite extensive. Primacy 4 is characterized by a tread design that produces a high level of water expulsion. For its Pilot Sport range, on the other hand, Michelin has created tires designed specifically for those who prefer a sporty driving style, available in 3 different versions: Pilot Sport 4, Pilot Sport 4 S and Pilot Sport 4 Suv. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 is dedicated to saloons, station wagons and compact cars; Pilot Sport 4 S is the higher performance version; Pilot Sport 4 Suv has been created to fit all ranges of compact, medium, premium and sporty SUVs and 4x4s.
The Korean tire manufacturer confirmed its summer range and expanded the number of options available. The N'Fera Sport Suv is perfect for handling high speeds and delivers excellent grip and braking performance in both wet and dry conditions, thanks to its innovative design and structure. Remarkable aquaplaning prevention capability and low rolling resistance are also characteristic of this tire.
Nokian Tires, in view of the growing demand for SUVs and crossovers, offers two premium products for the 2021 summer season: Nokian Powerproof and Nokian Wetproof. These Suv tires use Aramid Sidewall technology. This means that the sidewall contains a strong aramid fibre that makes the tires more resistant to impacts and cuts. The Nokian Powerproof Suv is an Uhp summer tire that features Dual Zone Safety: Power Zone on the outer shoulder of the tire - where rigid tread blocks combine with a Sloping Grooves design for safe driving on dry roads -, and Wet Safety Zone on the inner side – hare trapezoidal grooves divide the central rib from the rib closest to the inner shoulder, thus enabling greater water evacuation. Additionally, Swoop grooves further facilitate water removal. The Nokian Wetproof is intended for small and medium-sized SUVs and features the same technological innovations found on the Powerproof. Nokian engineers also introduced the Responsive Lock system that supports the longitudinal ribs allowing water to flow more easily from the tire. The interlocking grooves on the tread lock against each other when the tire presses against the road surface improving the footprint in wet conditions. The Aqua Hybrid Suv compound helps improve wet grip and reduce fuel consumption.
For the summer season, Pirelli offers its wide range of tires in the P-Zero, Cinturato, Scorpion and Powergy lines. In the P-Zero range, the company offers the P-Zero (PZ4) and P-Zero Corsa. In the first case, this is an Uhp product designed to meet customization needs in terms of size, technology and seasonality. The use of innovative compounds has allowed Pirelli engineers to improve rolling resistance, wet performance and mileage. As for the Cinturato range, we can mention the P7 (P7C2), a high performance summer tire for premium cars and crossovers, developed with a strong focus on wet performance, mileage and rolling resistance, the previous generation P7 and the Cinturato P1Verde, designed for urban mobility. Pirelli's range of summer tires also includes the Scorpion Verde, designed for the SUV and crossover segment, and the new Powergy, created for sedans, crossovers and medium-large SUVs, especially those belonging to the growing synergic brand segment. This is made with a compound that allows for increased performance on both wet and dry roads. The tread pattern with wide central grooves displaces water rapidly, while curved and aligned sipes reduce noise, while high-density centre ribs increase tire stiffness for even tread wear.
Not to be outdone, Triangle also offers a wide range of tires for the summer season. The AdvanteX TC101, whose next-generation compound with functionalized polymers and a high silica content helps reduce heat generation and rolling resistance. There is also an SUV version of this line: the TR259. Designed to meet growing demand in the fastest growing market segment in Europe, the AdvanteX Suv has a symmetrical tread pattern and features 4 wide circumferential grooves that minimize the risk of aquaplaning, and sipes that allow the tire to manoeuver even in conditions of low grip. The AdvanteX Suv TR259 is available in 56 sizes. SporteX TH201 is Triangle's ultra-high performance tire for sporty applications. The asymmetric tread pattern allows for balanced performance in both dry and wet conditions. Suitable for large sedans and SUVs, the SporteX TH201 is available in 79 car sizes and 21 SUV sizes. In the off-road performance tire segment, Triangle offers two different products: GripX M/T TR281 and AgileX AT TR292. GripX M/T has a high-silica compound that reduces tread deformation and has reinforced shoulder lugs that provide traction even on sandy or muddy surfaces. AgileX A/T is Triangle's all-terrain tire. Reinforced shoulder lugs increase stiffness and minimize rolling noise and irregular wear while the balanced compound allows for both on- and off-road driving.
Dutch tire brand Vredestein has launched its new Ultrac summer tire range. Developed with a focus on safety and comfort by the Apollo Tires global research and development centre in Enschede, the Netherlands, the new Ultrac tire is available in sizes from 15 to 18 inches. It is therefore ideal for a wide range of family and compact cars. Designers worked on the tire's structure by creating a stiffer tread pattern. Vredestein's R&D team used a new generation tread compound technology able to deliver 10% better braking performance compared to the previous version, on both dry and wet surfaces. The new Ultrac tire features a 50% increase in exclusive resin and silica compounds for improved traction, combined with multifunctional polymers. Shock absorption has been improved through a reduced height, optimized shoulder structure and increased flex zone surface area that provides for a quieter ride. The width sequence of the tires has also been optimized in line with the different tire diameters in order to increase acoustic comfort.
For the summer season, the Yokohama group introduced two new models designed for Grand Touring cars, medium and large sedans and modern Crossover Suv Touring. The BluEarth-GT AE51 tire features an asymmetric tread pattern capable of maintaining stability at high speeds. At the same time, it guarantees adequate comfort thanks to a five-pitch variation that distinguishes the arrangement of the tread blocks. The tread pattern has been designed to offer lower rolling resistance compared to its predecessor and ensure lower fuel consumption and a more regular tread wear, resulting in longer tread life. More specifically, the large longitudinal grooves improve driving precision; these grooves also help to counteract the effect of aquaplaning. The regular arrangement of the tread blocks improve the footprint, enhancing grip on both dry and wet surfaces. The latter benefits also from the company’s Nano Blend technology and a special compound mixing process that improves silica distribution. In Italy, the available sizes range from 15" to 18". As for the BluEarth-XT AE61, this tire is dedicated to modern Crossover Suv Touring. The tread pattern of the BluEarth-XT AE61 is asymmetrical, with a strong inner shoulder, three large and stiff ribs and a very resistant outer shoulder, designed to deal with significant loads when cornering, an added guarantee of maximum stability. In addition, given the class of SUV for which is intended, this tire must provide maximum performance in terms of noise reduction. To do this, it is equipped with an optimized layout in terms of longitudinal and transversal grooves. The new Yokohama BluEarth-XT AE61 also uses Nano Blend technology and a special compound mixing process called "A.R.T." which improves silica distribution in order to improve grip in dry and wet conditions, as well as braking performance, especially on slippery roads. The available sizes range from 16" to 20".