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2020 Auto Bild winter tyre test: 51 tyres compared for 18-inch rims

Auto Bild has published a new, comprehensive tyre comparison test. For this winter, the German magazine has tested no less than 51 winter tyres in the size 245/45 R18 for the BMX 5-Series and other high performance passenger cars and estate cars.

Winter tyre test: Auto Bild compares 51 winter tyres on the BMW 5-Series

© Anuscha Sonntag / Auto Bild

A first test with 51 winter tyres

Each year, the tyre offer is more extensive. Whether from historical brands, their subsidiaries or even start-ups who are trying to make a name for themselves, the tyre market can make your head spin! Indeed, a very high number of models are available. But don’t worry! Auto Bild has tested them all to find the right tyre for you. For this 2020 edition, the German magazine bought and tested 51 winter tyres in the size 245/45 R18 on a BMW 5-Series.

To make the task a little easier, the car magazine decided, as usual, to select the 20 best tyres following braking tests. This decision ruthlessly eliminated the 31 other tyres which did not have the opportunity to undergo further tests.

Winter tyre test: Auto Bild compares the braking distances of winter tyres

© Anuscha Sonntag / Auto Bild

Among the brands which did not make the cut, we find some known brand names such as Falken, Yokohama, Nexen and Firestone. Some budget brands were also part of this group. Of the 31 eliminated tyres, the best required an additional 6 metres to stop from 80 km/h in wet conditions than the most efficient tyre. The least efficient tyre needed almost 13 metres more.

Here are the 20 tyres which made it through to the second round of tests:

4 tyres tested are “satisfactory”, 1 tyre is “recommended with reservations”

The Cooper Weather Master SA2 + tyre just missed out on Auto Bild’s “satisfactory” rating. At fault, a few weaknesses on snow and particularly its understeer in dry conditions which lets it down.

4 tyres, including the Nokian WR A4, are in the “satisfactory” category. The Nokian tyre is a little below average on snow and for aquaplaning resistance. But it is safer in dry and wet conditions. Also in this category, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero which suffers due to its high price and a few weaknesses in wet conditions.

9 “good” tyres tested

Next comes 9 tyres which deliver very similar performances. Without excelling, they offer a good level of winter performance and safety at a reasonable price.

The Barum, Uniroyal, Giti, Fulda, Apollo and Dunlop tyres are penalised by their braking distances which are slightly too long in wet conditions. The Vredestein Wintrac Pro is a good all rounder despite its high price and wear, which needs to be reviewed according to Auto Bild. The Semperit Speed-Grip 3 is good in all winter conditions except for aquaplaning resistance where it has a little more difficulty. The Continental WinterContact TS 850P is sporty above all, delivering dynamic handling and precise steering. Only its dry braking distances which are slightly longer than the best and its high price prevent it from obtaining a higher rating. But it is by far the best in wet handling tests.

6 “exemplary” tyres 

Just launched by Hankook, the Winter i*cept evo3 has been included in this test and the newcomer obtains a great result with good performances in all winter conditions: snow, ice, wet or dry roads. It impressed Auto Bild with its sporty handling which comes at a cost on the fuel consumption side.

The Kleber Krisalp HP 3 and BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2 tyres obtain almost identical results: same braking distance on snow and a 30 cm difference in wet conditions. In terms of weaknesses, the observation is the same with a higher rolling resistance which can be explained by their balanced and safe handling in all winter conditions.

Winter tyre test: Auto Bild has compared 51 winter tyres on snow

© Anuscha Sonntag / Auto Bild

Efficient on snowy slopes and in dry conditions, the Goodyear UltraGrip Performance + only needs a slightly shorter wet braking distance to take the top spot of this comparison test. Otherwise, it delivers good aquaplaning resistance and safe handling in wet conditions.

The Bridgestone Blizzak LM 005 delivers convincing all round performance with excellent winter properties, and is the tyre with the shortest wet braking distance. It also has a low rolling resistance compared with competitor tyres. But its slightly low mileage prevents it from knocking the Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 of the top of the podium. Good all rounder, better on snow, the French tyre manufacturer’s tyre has fully satisfied Auto Bild despite its relatively high price. A tyre which is well worth the investment thanks to its very low wear and low fuel consumption.

Top 10 winter tyres

+

-

1 - Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

Snow, longevity, mileage

Highest price

2 - Bridgestone LM 005

Wet braking, comfort

Mileage

3 - Goodyear UltraGrip Performance +

Snow, dry handling, aquaplaning

Braking in wet conditions

=4 BFGoodrich g-Force Winter 2

Price, snow handling, aquaplaning

Fuel consumption and wet braking distances

=4 = Kleber Krisalp HP 3

Price, safe handling, aquaplaning

Fuel consumption and wet braking distances

6 - Hankook Winter i*cept evo 3

Braking, sporty handling

Fuel consumption

7 - Continental WinterContact TS 850P

The best in wet conditions with sporty handling

Dry conditions, price

8 - Dunlop Winter Sport 5

Snow, aquaplaning

Wet braking, price

=9 Apollo Aspire XP Winter

Good aquaplaning resistance, dynamic handling

Cornering on snow and wet braking

=9 – Semperit Speed Grip 3

Wet braking, dynamic handling and high mileage

Aquaplaning

The full results and the braking distances of the 51 tyres tested are available in German on the Auto Bild website.

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