D he connection between a car and the road exists from a thin layer of black rubber. Mixed, profiled and dimensioned as required. Although basically everyone knows that this is the case, the majority of drivers pay only limited attention to tires. When retrofitting, the price sensitivity is often higher than the quality requirement. Only in adverse conditions, for example wetness, does it dawn on one or the other that one or the other euro might have been well spent.
Test on dry road surface only half the story
That is why the first tire test with the Audi TT RS, in which we tested the four wheel /tire combinations recommended by the manufacturer in 19- and 20-inch formats have really been told only half the truth. It only made statements about the quality of the rubber on dry roads, namely the small course in Hockenheim and the 180-meter-long pylon lane of the slalom course. At that time, Dunlop's new sports tire, the Sport Maxx Race, was naturally ahead with its 255 millimeter wide, minimally profiled treads. Also and especially because, like the normally profiled Conti Sport Contact 5P, it was allowed to attack the lightest rims - 20-inch forged aluminum wheels weighing just 10.9 kilograms. With 1.13.1 minutes on the track and an average speed of 71.6 km /h in the 18-meter slalom, the tire set the pace with the lowest proportion of negative profile in dry conditions.
Reproducible test conditions in the Dunlop test center
But how - so the question that arises in view of the distinctive profile picture - would the sports tires perform in the wet? Experiences with dry grip artists such as a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup of the first generation call for skepticism. Sure - since the BMW M3 CSL entered the race with such tires in the Supertest, time has passed. But anyone who looks at the three rain drainage grooves on the sporty 20-inch model knows that they absorb less water than the four wider and deeper channels of the regular street tires. There are reproducible test conditionsat the Dunlop test center in Wittlich, which was also used in the Supertest. The water film can be precisely dosed on the wet handling course there. The starting point is the same for all wheel /tire pairs: 20 degrees air and 24 degrees asphalt temperature as well as 2.3 bar tire pressure at the front and 2.0 bar at the rear.
18 and 19 inch make the start
First, the 18 inch standard tire set comes with 12, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires of size 245/40 R 18 were installed in 7 kilo cast aluminum wheels. Their profile picture is comparatively rough, so it promises a high level of water displacement. However, the circumnavigation of the wet handling route, which is marked by two circular paths and chicanes, will not be a leisurely stroll. Anyone who would have thought that entry-level rubbers would have the highest council is wrong. The Bridgestone-tyred Audi TT RS is the good-natured understeer under load. However, if the right foot twitches to get the four-wheel drive on course, the Audi with the 18 wide soles counteracts with quite sustained lunges from the wing-reinforced rear. An effect that increases as the tire temperature rises.
Significantly safer, because the 255/35 Toyo Proxes mounted on 19-inch Flowform rims have a more balanced grip level between the front and rear axles, albeit a little more slowly T1 Sport round.
Excellent grip with Conti Sport Contact SP
The 340 hp sport auto long-term test TT with the on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels seated Conti Sport Contact SP of dimension 255/30. While the all-round tire in Hockenheim, which was primarily designed for road use, was on a par with the 19-inch Toyo tire, it took a remarkable 3.3 seconds off the watered road in Wittlich. In addition to the excellent grip level, the Conti impresses above all with its confidence-inspiring way of working: The limit area is announced at an early stage by the gentle rattle of the front wheels.
In the end there are two test winners
And the Dunlop sports tire in 20-inch format? Because it is also significantly faster than the Bridgestone Potenza and Toyo Proxes T1 Sport at 1.37.4 minutes, it is the real surprise of wet handling. Its limit range is as wide as that of the Conti, and the tendency to understeer is somewhat more pronounced. If it weren't for the aquaplaning sensitivity in standing water - the Dunlop Sport Maxx Race would be our first choice. But there are two test winners: the Conti Sport Contact 5P as the best all-rounder, the Dunlop as the perfect partner for the sporty pace. Either way, the Audi TT RS puts the fastest sole on the floor with 20-inch shoes.