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Best car tyres: evo performance tyre test

John Barker
30 Jan 2018

We test the most popular performance tyre size of all, the 225/40 R18, with 9 tyres put through the toughest objective and subjective tests


Page 1 of 7Best car tyres: evo performance tyre test

It’s hard to overstate the importance of tyres. The safety of the best- handling car can be compromised simply by fitting a poor set of tyres. The effectiveness of its finely tuned chassis hardware and sophisticated stability control and collision- mitigation software rely totally on the contact between tyres and road. Any car can only work with the grip that it’s got. And the same goes for ride and handling. As an enthusiast you have almost certainly paid your money for a car based on how it drives. Why would you then go and compromise how it feels, how it stops, turns and accelerates, by fitting poor tyres?

> Best winter tyres 2018

It can be painful, forking out for a complete set of brand new, quality tyres, but if you value how your car performs there is no such thing as a cheap tyre. There are, however, better value tyres, which is why we go to such lengths to produce our independent tyre tests. Yes, all tyres are black and round and keep your alloys off the ground, but all tyres are not created equal. So if you want to know which tyres – here in the most popular 18in fitment of 225/45 – perform best in both objective tests and subjective feel, read on. 

The car

With a keen front end offering ample feedback and a rear that will swing to help agility, the Mk7.5 VW Golf GTI is an ideal dynamic platform to hang tyres off. With a turbocharged 227bhp plus 258lb ft from 1500rpm channelled through the front tyres, it will also test straight-line traction and each tyre’s ability to take torque when at the limit of cornering grip. The GTI’s stability control cannot be turned off completely, only backed off to a ‘sport’ level, but this is relaxed enough to allow both ends some slip, so the ability and character of each tyre will be revealed.

The track

We’ve visited Continental’s test track, the Contridrom, near Hannover, Germany, on a number of occasions. It has pretty much every facility you need to fully assess a tyre objectively, including a tricky wet circuit and a sinuous dry layout. It also has a vertiginous banked track and an array of special surfaces with features such as transverse ridges, coarse textures and raised and sunken manhole covers to help with the subjective assessment of ride quality and road noise. 

The tyres

This year our chosen tyre is the 225/40 R18, the most popular ‘UHP’ – Ultra High Performance – size on the market. Nine well-known brands compete, including all the usual ‘premium’ suspects plus Falken, Hankook and Toyo. All nine have identical load (92) and speed (Y) ratings and range in weight from 8.9kg (Dunlop) to 10.1kg (Falken). Tyres were sourced from the wholesale market; prices are from where possible.


Page 1 of 7Best car tyres: evo performance tyre test

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Experience the thrill of driving every month with evo magazine, devoted exclusively to the greatest performance cars in the world. If you're passionate about performance cars then evo is your ultimate monthly read.

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