2015 Auto Bild Performance Winter Tire Test

Test Summary
Best tire for dry roadsDunlop Winter Sport 5
Continental WinterContact TS 850 P
Horizon Polar Star 5
Best tire for wet roadsDunlop Winter Sport 5
Best tire for snowDunlop Winter Sport 5
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
Michelin Pilot Alpin 4
The lowest fuel useContinental WinterContact TS 850 P
The most comfortableContinental WinterContact TS 850 P
Michelin Pilot Alpin 4
Hankook Winter i cept evo2
The quietest tireVredestein Wintrac xtreme S
Horizon Polar Star 5
Most winter tire tests cover sizes up to 16 inch wheels, as these are by far the most common winter tire sizes fitted across Europe. Unfortunately, if you're looking to keep your performance car mobile over winter, these tests are largely useless as a reference, as tire patterns and performances can drastically change as the sizes increase.

Luckily Auto Bild Sportscars have us covered with their latest ultra high performance winter tire test. Auto Bild have taken eight UHP winter tires in 225/40 R18 and tested them on a RWD Mercedes C Class across the usual range of snow, wet and dry tests and have included a summer tire as reference.

Snow

During the snow tests the results were close, and the top places varied. The Nokian offered the best snow braking, the Pirelli was the fastest over a lap and the Michelin offered the best traction. All the winter tires vastly out performed the summer tire, which was unable to complete a snow handling lap, and stopped the Mercedes test car in 38.3 meters compared to 22.5 meters for the worst winter tire on test (Horizon) and 20.5 meters for the best on test (Nokian)

Wet

Under wet testing, the summer tire regained some points, winning the wet braking, handling and wet circle tests. The margin was greatest in wet handling, where the summer tire had an average speed of 86.5 kph and the best winter (Dunlop) could only manage 83.2 kph. Under wet braking the margins were closer, with the Continental and Dunlop winter tires stopping just 1.4 meters behind the summer tire from 50 mph and the Dunlop and Pirelli beating the summer tire under the straight line aquaplaning test.

Dry

Again in the dry handling and braking tests, the summer tire showed its strengths. While the best winter tire (Continental) could keep close to the summer tire during dry handling, the dry braking test once again showed where siped tires lose out, with the test winning Dunlop taking 43.5 meters to stop the car from 60 mph, compared to 36.3 meters for the summer tire.

Results

1st: Dunlop Winter Sport 5

Dunlop Winter Sport 5
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 38
  2. Dry: 6
  3. Wet: 8
  4. Snow: 8
  5. Comfort: 5
  6. Rolling Resistance: 6
  7. Noise: 5
Excellent winter tire with sporty and dynamic handling characteristics in all weather conditions, best safety reserves under aquaplaning, precise steering with good feedback, short braking distance in the wet and dry
Only average ride comfort

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2nd: Continental WinterContact TS 850 P

Continental WinterContact TS 850 P
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 40
  2. Dry: 6
  3. Wet: 7
  4. Snow: 7
  5. Comfort: 6
  6. Rolling Resistance: 9
  7. Noise: 5
Sporty winter tire with balanced safe driving qualities of the highest standard, best grip on a wet track, precise steering response, sporty dynamic dry handling, fuel-saving rolling resistance, good comfort
Slightly long dry braking distances

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3rd: Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 38
  2. Dry: 5
  3. Wet: 7
  4. Snow: 8
  5. Comfort: 5
  6. Rolling Resistance: 6
  7. Noise: 7
Winter specialist with excellent cornering and handling qualities on snow, excellent steering precision with good feedback, stable safe driving behavior on wet and dry roads, good aquaplaning characteristics
Slightly high rolling resistance

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4th: Michelin Pilot Alpin 4

Michelin Pilot Alpin 4
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 37
  2. Dry: 4
  3. Wet: 6
  4. Snow: 8
  5. Comfort: 6
  6. Rolling Resistance: 6
  7. Noise: 7
Excellent winter tires with top handling qualities and excellent traction on snow-covered slopes, precise steering response, stable cornering and safe driving behavior on wet and dry roads, pleasantly quiet ride comfort
Slightly long dry braking distances

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5th: Hankook Winter i cept evo2

Hankook Winter i cept evo2
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 36
  2. Dry: 5
  3. Wet: 4
  4. Snow: 7
  5. Comfort: 6
  6. Rolling Resistance: 8
  7. Noise: 6
Stable cornering and high traction on snow, balanced safe driving characteristics on dry roads, low rolling resistance
Understeering driving behavior and slow steering response in the wet, long dry braking distances

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6th: Nokian WR D4

Nokian WR D4
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 34
  2. Dry: 5
  3. Wet: 5
  4. Snow: 6
  5. Comfort: 4
  6. Rolling Resistance: 8
  7. Noise: 6
Good braking and stable cornering on snow, short dry braking distances, fuel-saving rolling resistance.
Slow steering response, poor steering precision on wet and dry roads

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7th: Vredestein Wintrac xtreme S

Vredestein Wintrac xtreme S
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 32
  2. Dry: 4
  3. Wet: 4
  4. Snow: 5
  5. Comfort: 5
  6. Rolling Resistance: 6
  7. Noise: 8
Good braking on snowy slopes, quiet, low rolling resistance
Understeer on snow and wet roads, delayed turn-in, long braking distances on wet and dry roads

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8th: Horizon Polar Star 5

Horizon Polar Star 5
  • 225/40 R18
  1. Total: 24
  2. Dry: 6
  3. Wet: 1
  4. Snow: 2
  5. Comfort: 4
  6. Rolling Resistance: 3
  7. Noise: 8
Short dry braking distances
Dangerous cheap tires with reduced winter and wet qualities. Dramatic long wet braking distances, understeer and poor balance in the wet and on snow, slow steering response, high rolling resistance

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