Ownership: Performance in any Condition w/ High Performance All-Season Tires

Fall Is the Best Time to Buy Tires for Winter

  Fall Is the Best Time to Buy Tires for Winter It won’t be long before the snow starts falling in the northern states and the mountains. But no matter where you live, fall is a good time to check your tires, especially if you will soon be fac ing rain, snow, and ice. Research Research New Used New & Used Make (e.g. Mazda) Model (e.g. CX-5) If your tires are well worn, consider replacing them with new tires before foul weather strikes. All-season tires may suffice if you live in an area where snow and icy conditions are infrequent, or if you can wait until roads are cleared on snowy days.

It's dawn, and my stirring senses note a fluid symphony courtesy of Mother Nature. The gentle rhythm of rainfall drums the roof, as gutter-spouted runoff splats flatly on terra firma. Trees murmur and sigh in the wind, distant thunder reverberates, and the crescendo of tires on wet asphalt softens, as a car passes slowly. Cozy and snug, a cup of herbal tea and a good book beckon. The jarring alarm ends this tranquil reverie.

Michelin Leads in Latest Ultra-High-Performance Tire Ratings

  Michelin Leads in Latest Ultra-High-Performance Tire Ratings Michelin leads the way among both summer and all-season ultra-high-performance tires, according to our latest test results, which are available on ConsumerReports.org. But that doesn’t mean you dBut that doesn’t mean you don’t have other brands to choose from. There are also a number of highly rated tires from BFGoodrich, Continental, Goodyear, Nokian, Pirelli, and Yokohama.

Forty-five minutes later, running late, I sprint out the door, clutching an umbrella and a travel mug of strong joe. The metronome-like slap of windshield wipers punctuates a bleak talk-radio traffic report, as I merge with the rest of humanity for a soggy commute.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5

With this scenario in mind, european car sat down with Andrew Comrie-Picard to talk tires and tread, inclement weather, and safe driving. Comrie-Picard's resume includes: championship rally driver, stunt driver, television host, and Team BFGoodrich member.

When did the first rain tire appear on the market?

Andrew Comrie-Picard: "Rain tires" is really a racing designation. For the street, we talk about "all season tires." Over the last 30 years, or longer, tire manufacturers have been trying to figure out ways to deal with moisture and standing water on the road. That's led to the inclusion of silica in the tread compound, a Michelin innovation. Now pretty much all tire companies have some kind of silica, but the quality of the silica and even the dispersion on the surface of the tire is a very difficult technology to master. A truly ultra-high-performance all-season tire is a relatively recent innovation, and there are engineering challenges to achieving that breakthrough.

Are Studded Snow Tires a Necessity?

  Are Studded Snow Tires a Necessity? Being based in Finland, it's no wonder that Nokian Tyre has an aptitude for winter tires. Its product line has numerous snow-ready models, and the latest examples have gained traction in our test s. Research Research New Used New & Used Make (e.g. Mazda) Model (e.g. CX-5) One of Nokian Tyre's newest products is the Hakkapeliitta 8 studded snow tires. Like its predecessor, the Hakkapeliitta 7, the Hakkapeliitta 8 comes studded right from the factory.

Low ambient temperature, combined with moisture, slush, or standing water, is really a diabolical formula for a tire. Summer-only tires can turn into hockey pucks in temperatures of, say, 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below. In these conditions, you really need a high level of engineering and innovation in order to stick to the road. Achieving the level of performance to work in that range of conditions has only been possible in the last five to seven years.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires

Isn't an all-weather tire just a compromise between a rain tire in motorsport and a dry weather tire?

ACP: It's not a compromise any longer because of technological advances in compounding. Silica is very important for wet and moist tracks. When you have the potential of hydroplaning, it is very important to have a tread pattern design that correctly utilizes the tread void area. The problem with standing water is it doesn't have anywhere to go when the tire rolls over it.

Tire Test: Bridgestone DriveGuard Run-Flat All-Season Touring Tire

  Tire Test: Bridgestone DriveGuard Run-Flat All-Season Touring Tire Run-flat tires can be expensive and ride harder than standard tires, but Bridgestone hopes to address these issues with its DriveGuard run-flat all-season tire. Research Research New Used New & Used Make (e.g. Mazda) Model (e.g. CX-5) The DriveGuard tire is unique in several ways. It's the first run-flat designed as a replacement tire, not a standard fitment. Bridgestone sees a massive market of consumers who'd like the peace of mind a run-flat can give but whose cars didn't come with run-flats from the factory and who can't find the right sizes.

But how do developments with the intermediate race tire contribute to an all-season tire?

ACP: Let's say we are racing at a track. There's a storm report and a strategic decision is made whether to go on wets, intermediates, or a slick. There's an understanding that if circumstances change, the driver may have to avoid certain conditions. If you are on a slick and it starts to rain, you tiptoe around the places with standing water. If you're on a wet and conditions dry up, then you start measuring tire temperatures and wear. However, the driver of a road car doesn't get to make pit stops. There is one set of tires on his or her car, or two sets in some parts of the country—a winter and a summer, or an all-season set.

What's been the single greatest advancement to date in wet weather tire development?

ACP: My first answer would be computers, because in order to manage the incredibly sophisticated compounding, engineers are working on a microscopic level. If I have to say one thing, though, I'd say chemistry. A high lateral load at an ambient temperature of 100 degrees, with maybe a track or road temp of 140 degrees in the sun, in the dry and then to have that same piece of rubber work at 30 degrees or 28 degrees, in slush and snow, is an insane range of conditions.

When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Tire Pressure?

  When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Tire Pressure? Sweating the small stuff matters. Here's why.Ideally, you should check tire pressure once every couple of weeks, but most drivers are doing okay if they look at it once a month. But don't be the person who waits until the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light comes on (assuming your vehicle even has that; none of mine do).

A tire doesn't hold a perfect circle as it rolls on the road, and the way that the tread blocks attack the road has really been refined—in the way they touch the road, what they do when they have pressure on them as they roll through at the bottom of the circle. The tread block's shape and design, even the camber on the edge of the tread block, have been engineered so that when they expand and contract through this procedure they don't resist each other. This creates less noise and more even tire wear.

In a 40-mile-an-hour panic brake situation, people rarely consider the hundreds of thousands of engineering hours involved to produce the ability to stop 20 feet shorter.

What about comparing computer simulation with real-time testing?

ACP: The simulations on computers today are amazing, but ultimately people are not using tires on their computers; they are using them on their cars, so it's important to achieve excellence in both areas. The tire must be engineered at the highest levels possible in the lab and then tested at the proving grounds. Then we do what I call "Redneck Testing," where a performance team provides feedback using the tires on cars in the real world. All three assessments are important.

The great thing about BFG is that our team is a bunch of racers, backed by the engineering expertise of an extremely sophisticated company.

Road & Track's 2017 Performance Car of the Year

  Road & Track's 2017 Performance Car of the Year Nine incredible sports cars blend past, present, and future in the chase for our annual crown.THE SUN HAS BECOME STACCATO, a stippled Dopplering twinkle through a fast-forward canopy of trees, accelerated from a single scene into a 24-frame-per-second motion picture by the Porsche 911 Turbo S and the politely muted howl of its 580-hp twin-turbo flat-six.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5

How does your rally experience with tires used for specific conditions and stages compare to testing wet-weather or dual-use production tires?

ACP: In rallying, we start with a general, say, gravel tire and if it gets muddy or wet, we might put extra cuts in that tire for a place for the water or the mud to go. The Targa Newfoundland, for example, is a five-day race, 1,200 miles around this island. Four of the days are usually pretty dry and cool, but almost every year we get a near hurricane for one day.

We use street tires, so I get to test the tires at 120 mph along the edge of a cliff, with the ocean below. That's how I test tires, I go "ripping testing." For the Targa Newfoundland, we test different tires during the weeks leading up to it.

Driver's education in schools really doesn't prepare students to drive in inclement weather; do you think that's something that should be included in the curriculum?

ACP: Absolutely. I'm from Canada originally and you'd think training for snow or wet-driving conditions would be essential to obtaining a driver's license. Unfortunately, that is not the case in North America. In Europe, driving is taken more seriously and is regarded as a privilege, not a right.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires

Can you offer some pointers for our harried, rainy-day freeway driver?

ACP: Ultimately, every driver will become a performance driver at some point. It might be a panic brake moment, such as a swerve when a soccer ball rolls across a suburban street. However, inclement weather, heavy rain, standing water, aquaplaning, and black ice can all contribute to a situation where suddenly a driver has to be very good. When it's 70 degrees and sunny, anyone can drive, more or less. Add a little water on top and panic can set in. Frankly, the law has allowed the tread depth to get too low, and for standing water, tread depth matters. We always do the penny test. Take a penny, put it in with the president's head down and if you can see the top of his head, you don't have enough tread.

First Drive: Unplugged Performance 2016 Tesla Model X 90D

  First Drive: Unplugged Performance 2016 Tesla Model X 90D Finally, a Model X that looks as quick as it is"When I drove it for the first time, my mind was blown, totally blown," he says. "As a car enthusiast, the experience of driving a Tesla isn't really relatable to anything else. But I would walk up to my car, and it didn't feel as special as it was. When I drove it, it felt special. But when I looked at it, not so much." Unplugged has since started to update Tesla "P" performance variants with a more aggressive, futuristically handsome aesthetic that matches the EVs' unexpected performance. The hope is that even the most hardcore car enthusiasts are now drawn to Teslas.

And should a panic situation occur?

ACP: Always look where you want to go. Drivers often look at the car, telephone pole, or object they are about to hit, and in that situation, hitting what you are looking at is virtually guaranteed. If a vehicle is blocking the road, don't look at it, look for a way around. It's a proven physiological concept; the steering wheel imperceptibly follows the body, and will move all the controls toward your focal point. So it's crucial to focus psychologically on getting around the problem.

Additionally, people are driving too close to their cars—sometimes only two car lengths ahead. At 60 miles an hour, that's too close. A driver should be looking as far down the road as possible at all times.

A lot of amateur performance drivers have the idea that in order to drive fast, they need to make fast movements. They brake fast, steer fast, and hit the throttle hard, but cars don't respond well to sharp inputs. Get in a car with any professional race driver, and everything happens slowly—the steering inputs are smooth, braking is progressive and soft.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires Audi A5

The weight of the car should be pressed forward, instead of throwing it around. Hit the brakes too hard and the springs impact too quickly, the car bounces back, causing a moment where it doesn't steer very well; it unloads a little bit.

When I'm racing, it's like there's a symphony playing in the car. It's quiet and I'm making all these slow, smooth movements. That reasoning applies to negotiating standing water or black ice on the road. The worst thing you can do is turn the steering wheel and hit the brakes. Instead, take a deep breath, ride it out, and be smooth.

Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires© BFGoodrich Bf Goodrich High Performance All Season Tires

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Six Cool Facts About the 2017 Subaru BRZ .
1. The engine of the 2017 Subaru BRZ has been thoroughly overhauled Slight power gains of 5 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque are overshadowed by significant mechanical changes done to the BRZ’s flat-four engine for 2017. An aluminum intake manifold replaces the plastic one, a redesigned air intake system reduces resistance by 30%, and the camshaft journals are now coated with a lower-friction finish. The aluminum engine block is more rigid, and inside are strengthened piston heads. Rocker arm pivots have been redesigned, as has the fuel pump, and a larger diameter exhaust manifold now leads to a reshaped collector.2.

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