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We welcome your spin on ultra-high-performance tires

Consumer Reports News: September 04, 2012 10:08 AM

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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.

Gene Petersen

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