Sports car winter tyre test

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Feature 26 October 2012

You can now get winter tyres in 20- and 21-inch sizes, but is it worth fitting them to the sports cars that predominantly use this size of tyre? Steve Sutcliffe finds out how effective winter tyres can be, even on a Porsche 911 in the snow.

Video: Winter tyres vs 4x4

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Comments
147

Oh thanks

1 year 48 weeks ago

A real world test we can all relate to! 

  • Let depreciation be your friend...

Apologies Autocar

1 year 48 weeks ago

My post last night was needlessly sarcastic. It did look like a fun day out at a suppliers expense and not many people drive Porsches but I guess a lot of Autocar readers do drive something other the usual humdrum hatch or saloon. Post while the wrong side of a few drams, that's what happens...

  • Let depreciation be your friend...

Yep!

1 year 48 weeks ago

Great!, but the fact remains, to buy a set just for the Winter would cost me £1200,that bald figure alone says it all, i know they're a good idea, but cost is just to prohibitive,i guess i'll just be on the road less.

Peter Cavellini.

No 'extra' cost

1 year 48 weeks ago

Bought a set of Avon winters in Nov '10 and will be re-fitting 'em soon - ie, for their third season, and there's still plenty of tread-depth (4+mm).

IME, not only are winters eye-poppingly excellent in snow, but they're also an improvement all-round day-to-day when temps are sub-10degC.

In effect, the winters have doubled the life of my regular/'summer' tyres, so in the long-run the former's cost has not been an issue - and I've been able to enjoy my car all the more during the colder months.

Re the vid: of course, there's no chance that Michelin was 'unkind' to the winter Pirellis' pressures?? 

All we've got to do...

1 year 48 weeks ago

is start buying them in the UK now.

Not at £207 each plus fitting we won't!

Snow tyres

1 year 47 weeks ago

It has always amazed me how badly informed we are in the UK concerning snow tyres. I spend six months a year in Switzerland and can state quite categorically that the difference a winter tyre makes over a summer tyre has to be experienced to be believed.

I am lucky enough to have a 991 as featured in this article and due to an emergency last December I had to drive to Switzerland before the summer tyres could be changed to their winter counterparts. The car was undrivable and extreemly dangerous and I had to abandon it 10 miles before I reached my destination as I was unable to drive up even the smallest of inclines. It was stupid of me to even attempt the journey in hindsight. I was very lucky not to have had an accident.

The correct tyres were fitted two days later and the car was then able to go everywhere, to the amazement of even my local Porsche dealer, four wheel drive for the snow is simply not necessary. No conditions were too much, the car is staggeringly well behaved even in the most foul and adverse conditions. Even on sheet ice.....it is amazing the control one still has.

The cost mentioned by some others is relative as don't forget, your summer tyres are now going to last twice as long as you are now using them half as much. However and it is a big however,  even if the winter tyre looks to have plenty of meat left on it, after three years MAX, you must change them, preferaby even after just two years. They "go off", something happens to the compound or something as the grip is halved even with plenty of tread and it gives a false sense of security

I write this with plenty of experience and hope some of you may find this useful. I would NEVER contemplate driving under about 5 Degrees even in the UK without winter tyres. The only problem being that the idiot following you too closely may not be abe to stop in time if he was still on his summer tyres !!

Oh dear Steve, taken in by Michelin the other day on your winter tyre test ( Pirellis are excellent ) and now by some terrible financial scheme.........best stick to what you know eh. I so admire your car road test reports, you are one of the few I tak

I should add

1 year 47 weeks ago

...that I do have winter tyres, it was only the cost of the Michelins in my size (an exceedingly common size at that) that caused me to comment as above.

alpin 4

1 year 47 weeks ago

I completely agree with'Sable007' I live in Andorra opposite a ski resort and frequently travel to the UK.  I have been using winter tyres for the past 8 years on various cars from Porsches to 4x4's. A 4x4 of any sort is totally undrivable in the snow on standard summer tyres.  I have mostly used Michelins,  Alpin 2's and 3's and now on my Mercedes Alpin 4 (from last year).  Brilliant tyres.  Still have to be very sensible with any winter tyre in the snow,  but they make winter driving in extreme conditions very comfortable and easy.  With winter tyres I have never had the need to use snow chains,  (even though by law we have to carry a set). They are that good.

Anyway...

1 year 47 weeks ago

...I have just put on winter tyres on my admittedly very humble family hatchback (£230 for four). So cue the warmest winter in southern England, ever...

  • Let depreciation be your friend...

No brainer

1 year 47 weeks ago

Have a set of Pirellis on my 997 GTS.  Noticeably better at low temps.  Shame there was not much snow last winter!  Bought them new with car on 18" alloys for £2k.  The alloys have resale value, I can swap them when I like and as mentioned above the "extra" cost of the tyres is offset by the Summers not needing replacing as often (in any case it should be a safety rather than cost decision).  The big problem with many 4x4 drivers is that they don't realise that although the extra traction gets them going, they are no better off than anyone else when it comes to stopping.  

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