The German magazine Auto Bild is considered to be one of the world’s most authoritative automotive magazines. That’s why Auto Bild’s annual big summer tire test attracts the attention of car owners not only in Europe but far beyond. In this article, we will tell you about the test of summer tires in one of the most popular sizes – 205/55 R16.
From the moment the results of the qualifying stage of this test became public, the intrigue did not last long, only a couple of weeks, but even that was enough to fuel interest in the winner. And the wait was worth it, as the final rating was topped by a model, which few would have thought of in the initial stages of the test.
List of tested tires:
- Falken Azenis FK510
- Continental PremiumContact 6
- Kumho Ecsta PS71
- Bridgestone Turanza T005
- Michelin Primacy 4
- Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2
- Esa+Tecar Spirit Pro
- Nexen N Fera Sport
- Pirelli Cinturato P7 C2
- Semperit Speed-Life 3
- Kleber Dynaxer HP4
- Sava Intensa UHP 2
- Giti Premium H14
- Laufenn S-Fit EQ+ LK01
- Barum Bravuris 5HM
- Viking ProTech NewGen
- Firestone Road hawk
How the test was conducted
Before proceeding to the coverage of the final twenty, it is worth considering how the test was conducted.
To begin with, let’s note that Auto Bild secretly purchases all the test tires from stores. Only in exceptional cases, when we are talking about hot novelties, direct delivery from the manufacturer is possible, but the results of such tires will be made public only if later there will be a doping test on the tires already purchased in the retail network. Fortunately, there is a time margin for this: the tests are conducted about six months before they will be made public.
So, during the qualifying stage, 53 sets of 205/55 R16 summer tires were tested for braking performance in dry and wet conditions. The first safety test showed which models to stay away from.
The Chinese Double Coin DC99 had the worst braking properties in the Auto Bild 2021 test. Their braking distance on dry roads is 3.7 meters longer than the best tire of this stage Hankook K125, and on a wet surface and at all by 17 meters. This was the first elimination of the competitors.
Not only budget Chinese models, but also European Tomket Sport and Seiberling Touring 2, produced by one of Bridgestone affiliated brands, were included in the number of not very successful tires in terms of braking. In their ranks is Riken Road Performance – a representative of Michelin’s line of third brands, which has a “clone” Kormoran Road Performance. And this is not the best advertisement for the world leaders in the tire manufacturers’ ranking.
Apollo tires, which showed good results in a previous couple of years, this time did not pass the qualifying qualification: they were separated from the 20th place by only 20 centimeters.
Some Chinese brands also came pretty close to the top 20. For example, Goodride Z-107 ZuperEco from ZC Rubber and Zeetex ZT1000 summer tires, which bravely compete with Sava Intensa HP2 and Barum Bravuris 5HM, which were left out of the final part of the competition.
The summer tires with the best grip properties, or rather with the shortest total braking distance on wet and dry asphalt, were included in the final part of the Auto Bild 2021 test. As expected, the products of premium manufacturers and their second-line brands turned out to be among the best.
So let’s see whether the preliminary results are the same as the final ones. As we know, sometimes they can be completely different.
During heavy rain, a water wedge can form under the wheels, causing the vehicle to lose contact with the road. The best safety reserves in preventing this dangerous phenomenon called aquaplaning are fixed at Uniroyal and Kumho tires. Interestingly, not only Nexen but also Continental tires are among the first to float over the surface of the water, often claiming to be the leader.
The really bad summer tires were eliminated in the qualifying round, but also among the “first division” models were identified differences. The most effective braking on wet roads at Hankook, Continental, and Pirelli tires. Developments of Toyo and Fulda lag behind them by at least 5.7 m.
On the winding track more than a kilometer and a half long, the Firestone and Kumho tires led the way with safe wet grip and balanced handling. Nexen and BFGoodrich tires were less harmonious and showed a strong tendency to understeer.
Good traction and the associated stable lateral stability provide subjectively safe driving. As in the handling test, Firestone and Kumho summer tires topped the discipline’s final protocol. Falken, Nexen, and BFGoodrich had the weakest lateral traction properties.
Tire noise was measured on an especially standardized asphalt road with the turned-off engine, said the technical expert of Shina Guide. As it turned out, the quietest tires, both at 60 km/h and 80 km/h, are produced by French brands: Kleber and Michelin’s models topped both ratings. At the same time tires, Firestone – the second brand of Japanese tire manufacturer Bridgestone cannot please consumers with the same high acoustic comfort.
The unquestionable leader in braking on both wet and dry surfaces was the model developed by Hankook. Pirelli and Kumho tires lag a little behind. The products of the two Continental daughter brands, namely Uniroyal and Semperit, fall behind in this discipline, lagging practically by one car length.
This test is primarily about evaluating the tires’ steering response and road safety. The Hankook and BFGoodrich tires showed the best behavior on the limit of grip. And the models Michelin and Uniroyal could not please the experts.
A car’s fuel consumption depends on the rolling resistance of the tires. The difference in rolling resistance coefficients of Bridgestone and Kumho tires, being on different poles of the final protocol of discipline, will result in an economy of about 0,5 l per 100 km of run in case of using tires of the Japanese brand.
The highest service life is fixed at the Goodyear model. A little behind her tires Michelin. Wear resistance is not a key aspect of Hankook and Nokian tires.
Durability to price
The cost of Goodyear, the leading tire in terms of durability-to-price ratio, and Nokian tires in the 205/55 R16 size at the bottom of the list are almost identical, but the model from Goodyear will last almost twice as long.
Summer Tire 2021 Auto Bild Test Results
The tire manufacturing industry progresses every year, and the durability of today’s rubber could only seem magic more than a century ago when the first tires appeared. Though today’s models have also managed to surprise with a wide variation in safety margins, driving dynamics, and economy. The unbalanced and obvious failures in some test disciplines greatly undermined the position of many premium models in the final rating of summer tires Auto Bild 2021.
Therefore, in the end, the Auto Bild testers were able to unreservedly recommend only five of the 53 summer models, for which they received an “exemplary” seal of approval.
These included Kumho Ecsta HS51 (test winner), Continental PremiumContact 6 (silver medalist), Semperit Speed-Life 3 (bronze medalist), Suddenly Debica Presto HP2 (4th place), and Bridgestone Turanza T005 (5th place).
As we see, the composition of the exemplary top5 is extremely interesting and varied. South Korean manufacturer Kumho became a leader of the competition. Budget Debica (Polish brand owned by Goodyear) beat in the finals the model from the main brand Goodyear. And Semperit (Continental subsidiary brand) repeated its triumphant victory in the test ADAC 2021 and won the neighboring place to Continental products.
The winners of the next five positive verdicts were the Hankook Ventus Prime3 K125 (6th place), Pirelli Cinturato P7C2 (7th place), Michelin Primacy 4 (8th place), and Firestone Roadhawk and Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, sharing the ninth place.
Falken Ziex ZE310 Ecorun and Fulda EcoControl HP2 became neighbors in the fifteenth place. According to the Auto Bild experts, it is also worth considering as equal the strength of the Kleber Dynaxer HP4 and Nokian Wetproof. They settled on the seventeenth line of the final ranking test of the summer tire size 205/55 R16. At the same time tires Nokian in comparison with the selection of a record eleven positions down in the ranking.
Two bottom lines in the Auto Bild Top20 are taken by very famous manufacturers. The Dunlop Sport BluResponse tires finished only at number 19. The outsiders of the test, only because they were assigned number 20, were the Nexen N’Blue HD Plus. Although in general, their performance properties satisfied the expert group just as well as the performance of the other tires of the second final ten.
The new Vredestein Ultrac tires, which replace the Sportrac 5 in the brand’s lineup, were not among the test participants. They were not available at the time of the tests. But now the situation has changed and they are available. They will debut only in 2022 summer tire tests. The manufacturer claimed that they have better-wet grip and lower rolling resistance than their predecessor, which means that they have every chance of making Apollo Tyres back on the list of manufacturers to win the recommendation of at least one of Europe’s leading profile publications.
For what reason Laufenn S Fit EQ+ tires were left out of this test is unknown, because they were already available on the market at the time of the test disciplines, and last year plus models from this subsidiary brand Hankook performed extremely well. Nevertheless, the testers have not forgotten about them and indicated that with a more confident behavior in the wet than the “basic” version of the S Fit EQ, they also had every chance to pass the qualifying round.
The final Auto Bild 2021 summer tire test turned the final twenty formed at the qualifying stage literally upside down.
Some inexpensive models of manufacturers in the sum of characteristics were better than their more expensive “premium” sisters, in the advertising of which a lot of money is invested.
Tests on fuel efficiency and mileage have shown that once you invest in fuel-efficient tires with a high life expectancy, you can get real savings, not the fake ones offered by the sellers of the cheapest tires or the marketers of some premium brands.
Approach your choice of tires wisely. Time spent studying the results of independent tire tests is worth it, because it will help you choose a model for your driving habits and operating conditions, not to mention safety.