As our writers complete the report on our latest family car tire test results, the engineers are putting together the next testing program: ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires. And they want your help.
These are summer and all-season tires that are suitable for sporty sedans and sport cars. Our last test on UHP tires was in 2010. (See our tire buying advice and ratings.)
UHP tires are rated for speeds in excess of 149 mph, but deliver the ultimate in dry and wet grip to compliment the agility of sporty cars. For year-round performance, all-season UHP tires provide some additional grip in mild winter conditions. To the other extreme, summer UHP tires are generally better in warm weather, but don't perform in cold climates. (Use performance winter tires if you need to drive in real winter conditions.)
UHP tires typically have a wide tread, short sidewalls, and come in 17- to 22-inch wheel sizes. They can be pretty pricey to replace, don't wear as well as more common all-season tires, and tend to be more susceptible to sidewall damage from curbing and potholes. Still, sales of UHP tires continue to be strong, and they are optional equipment on many upscale cars.
Some car owners are accidental users who unknowingly purchased UHP tires because they look good on larger wheels or they came on a performance-oriented car, potentially with an upgraded trim package.
Despite how drivers came to own UHP tires, it's always a good idea to replace tires with the same type to maintain the ride and handling intended for the car. Using lower-speed-rated tires is not a good idea since they might not stand up to the performance levels of the vehicle. Consult your owner's manual and tire information placard (typically found on the driver's door jamb of the vehicle) for a guide as to the right size tires to use.
To prepare for this upcoming test group, we're researching which tires to test and will start purchasing examples very shortly. Our main criterion is to buy tires that will be around by the time we complete our testing, which is why we're doing our due-diligence research: It's no good recommending a tire that will be short-lived. The list below is what we've got so far, but it will likely change as we gather more information from the manufacturers.
UHP all season BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S Bridgestone Potenza RE960 Pole Position Continental ExtremeContact DWS Dunlop SP Sport Signature Falken ZE-912 Fuzion UHP General G-Max AS-03 Goodyear Eagle F1 All Season, Eagle GT Kumho Ecsta 4x Maxxis MA-Z4S Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus Nexen N7000 Nitto Motivo Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season Yokohama Advan S.4., Avid W4s Sumitomo HTR A/S P01
UHP summer BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW, g-Force Sport Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position, Potenza RE760 Sport Continental Extreme Contact DW Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec, SP Sport Maxx GT, SP Sport Maxx TT Falken FK-452 Firestone Firehawk Wideoval Indy 500 Fuzion ZRi Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 Kumho Ecsta LE Sport Maxxis MA-Z1 Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 Pirelli P Zero Sumitomo HTRZ III Yokohama Advan Sport, S.Drive
Here's your chance to weigh-in. Are there tires you would like to see tested? Are there others we should consider? Drop us a comment here or join the conversation within the TireTalk forum.