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Summer tire test 2015 (225/50 R17): The best tires for the middle class

Dino Eisele
Summer tire test 2015 (225/50 R17)
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D as best or nothing - this is the claim of Mercedes-Benz and not infrequently also of its drivers. If you are looking for tires for the C-Class or another mid-range model according to this motto, you can choose from over 200 different offers at online tire dealers - for example in the popular size 225/50 R 17 W. Which is the best? The EU label, which was introduced in 2012, is intended to be a purchase aid, which is intended to shed light on basic tire properties at least in terms of wet grip, rolling resistance and rolling noise. Can this label really help you when buying tires?

To find out, only the best in the label with tire size 225/50 R 17 W are allowed to take part in the auto motor und sport tire test. In view of the smooth transitions between the premium and performance tire product groups, both come into play here. Can the latest tires already achieve the best possible classification 'AA'? Generally yes, but not in this tire size. “BA” (best wet grip, concessions in rolling resistance) already achieved three tires for the test in October 2014: the particularly easy-running Dunlop Sport BluResponse, the Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance and the Pirelli Cinturato P7 Blue. Closely behind with slightly increased rolling resistance and therefore classified with 'CA' are the Bridgestone Turanza T 001, the Conti Sportcontact 5, the Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 and the Kumho Ecsta LE Sport K 39. This is followed by the Nokian classified with 'EA' Z-Line and the 'CB' -labeled Uniroyal Rainsport 3.

Does the label keep its promise?

According to the legal basis of the label, the rolling resistance of the tires should not be more than 15 percent apart and the wet braking distances no more than three meters apart. We'll check that. In order to minimize the tolerances of our measurements for rolling resistance, we use two different test facilities in France and Germany. The result: The rolling resistance classes specified by the manufacturers are adhered to in most cases and within the framework of the fairly generous tolerances. According to our measurements, the Goodyear would have deserved the coveted A, just as the C-labeled Conti and Uniroyal would have achieved a B. It was close to Hankook and Kumho, Pirelli is the only one to come out with too high rolling resistance.

In terms of noisethere is no reason to complain: all manufacturers undercut the maximum of 72 db (A) by a good two meters. With 66 and 68 db (A), Hankook and Kumho roll particularly quietly. That sounds like little difference, but because of the logarithmic db scale, it means that the tires from Bridgestone, Nokian, Pirelli or Uniroyal measured at 70 db (A) are perceived as twice as loud.

Summer tire test 2015 - Wet braking decides

If you trust the label, there shouldn't be too big a difference here. Right next to it: the Conti's impressively short 29.1 meters short of the best competitor, Uniroyal, two meters to a standstill. Most of the field with Dunlop, Goodyear, Hankook, Nokian and Pirelli even need around three meters more. Most recently, Bridgestone and Kumho rush offside with 34.1 and 35.3 meters. Despite identical label classification, braking distance differences of more than one car length? This is too much! According to the label, the distance between class A and class B tires should not exceed three meters. What is the reason? Well, the respective classification is currently carried out by the respective tire manufacturers themselves. Independent official monitoring with more transparency would be desirable.

The extensive auto motor und sport tire test, the Every tire is examined for possible weak points in at least 14 individual disciplines. That counts for the driver!

The previously leading Continental Sportcontact 5 does not seem to have any weaknesses in the wet. He convinces in lateral guidance and handling, can only be bought in corner aquaplaning from the otherwise rather water-shy Bridgestone. The Japanese decelerates badly, Pirelli messes up with cross aquaplaning, and the Kumho doesn't really want to stick to wet asphalt either. Dunlop, Uniroyal, Goodyear, Hankook and Nokian are again good in the wet.

Ten criteria for wet handling

In the test table, only a sober numerical value, in practice a major difference - the driving behavior in the wet. With excellent lateral guidance and very balanced handling, you can achieve fast lap times with a Conti or Dunlop. These tires are safe at all times. The worst tires on the closely spaced test field circle the course only 4 km /h slower, but often demand quick reactions from the steering wheel. Effects such as a rear breaking out during load changes, the sudden floating up when driving through puddles or poor lane keeping when braking, such as with the Kumho, enrich the test protocol, but cause significant devaluation. Similar criteria are checked for handling drives on dry asphalt: the driving behavior and lap times also include safety when changing lanes quickly, steering response, braking and, last but not least, theRide comfort.

The Kumho, which is already weak in the wet, cannot convince on the dry slopes either. With poor steering precision, moderate lateral guidance and poorly balanced handling, it brings up the rear in this test field, which is characterized by high power density. Bridgestone's Turanza also remains behind the peloton despite a convincing performance in handling with poor braking values. It is clear that moisture specialists like Uniroyal Rainsport tend to feel uncomfortable in dry conditions. Its filigree, water-displacing V-profile prevents shorter dry braking values, otherwise it is extremely good-natured: Recommended!

At the same level, Pirelli and Nokian are catching up. With largely balanced dry performance, they struggle with slight deficits in aquaplaning and ride comfort in the overall ranking. Dunlop and Goodyear also feel at home on the dust-dry racetrack and the brake track. Your convincingly confident appearance ensures a 'recommendable' despite compromising aquaplaning.

All-rounders drive up

With the best Braking values, good traction, safe lateral guidance and exemplary balance also pushes Hankook forward and takes the lead in the dry. Smaller deficits in the wet as well as increased rolling resistance prevent the top grade - third place.

Second place goes to the well-balanced and at the same time particularly easy-running Dunlop, which just missed the top grade. The cautiously labeled Continental Sportcontact 5 secured first place with its outstanding wet and balanced dry properties.

Wasn't Pirelli among the favorites alongside Goodyear and Dunlop from the perspective of the European tire label? Yes, but in practice his performance clearly lags behind the optimistic label values. The best or nothing? As a rough guide, the label makes sense when buying tires, but if you really want the best, you should look very carefully, especially when it comes to safety.

Summer tire test 2015 - how we tested

For the best possible To ensure accuracy and reliability of the results, all experiments in this test are carried out several times as far as possible. In all criteria, the products are assessed according to a previously defined model. In principle, the best tire in a test discipline receives the maximum possible score of 10 points. The evaluation scheme follows a progressive mathematical function, which ensures that even high-quality products that are closely related in terms of their properties can be evaluated with sufficient selectivity.

This scheme applies equally to the objective evaluation by measuring devices as well as to the subjective grading by the experienced test drivers, which comes into play, for example, when assessing comfort and handling. When handling on wet orOn a dry track, balanced, safe driving behavior corresponding to the expectations of the presumed target group leads to an optimal grade. Insufficient adhesion or pronounced load change reactions in the limit area lead to points being deducted. The aquaplaning tests, separated in the longitudinal and transverse directions, provide information about the reaction of the tires, for example when driving through deep ruts. The level of the critical floating speed when driving straight ahead or the achievable lateral acceleration when driving through water according to VDA criteria should each show the safety reserves of the tires.

The rolling resistance of the tires is basically determined in two different test laboratories on roller test stands. The averaged results, minus the tolerances provided, are included in the evaluation. The basis of the assessment is the European legislation on tire labeling, which is also relevant for the tire label.

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