It can be easy to forget that – among all the components that make up a car – it’s only actually the tyres that are the part that connect you to the road.
Good tyres are important on any car because they can improve grip and braking performance in all weathers, but it’s on performance cars where this really counts – these being the models that are the most likely to be pushed to their limits.
And it’s what leads us to these Bridgestone Potenza Sport tyres – the brand’s replacement for the long-running Potenza S001 rubber. Available since February 2021 in the UK, and being chosen as the ‘original equipment’ on performance cars like the upcoming Maserati MC20 and Lamborghini Huracan STO, this was our first chance to put the brand’s new sporty rubber to the test.
We’ve been testing Bridgestone’s flagship tyre over a series of months on an Audi TT Quattro Sport – already a sure-footed performance model thanks to its quattro all-wheel-drive ability – but one that gratefully benefits from having the right rubber around its deep-dish 18-inch alloy wheels. For the tyre anoraks, the size is 225/40ZR18 95Y.
Speaking of sizes, the Potenza Sport is available in an impressive 96 sizes – ranging from 17 to 22 inches – meaning there’s a good chance there will be a tyre to fit your car, whether you’re rocking the latest Lamborghini or just wanting the best for your family SUV.
One of the innovations on this latest tyre is 3D sipes (the channels in the tread of a tyre that improve grip), which provide greater stiffness, especially under hard braking, The carcass of the tyre has also been designed to offer greater steering response.
But does it pay off in the real-world? In a nutshell, absolutely. The dry performance is seriously impressive, with the tread pattern really allowing us to push our TT to the limits far more than we’d usually feel comfortable with, as the Potenza Sports really help the car to feel planted and stable. Even in the recent 30-degree temperatures we’ve experienced in the UK, these tyres didn’t falter, with great traction and grip in all conditions.
And though the Potenza Sport might be classed as more of a ‘summer’ tyre, there’s a pretty high probability that in a UK summer it will rain, meaning wet performance certainly can’t be neglected.
Admittedly helped by this car being all-wheel-drive, the performance of the Potenza Sports in the wet really wasn’t too dissimilar to their performance in the dry, That really is quite the compliment and the area where Bridegstone’s new flagship tyre seems to outclass the rest in this field.
It’s particularly noticeable if you turn in sharply to a corner at speed. Where normally you’d likely feel the front end beginning to lose grip and have a feeling of instability, this really isn’t noticeable at all on these tyres.
This is reflected in the Potenza Sport’s rigorous independent testing by TÜV SÜD, which said that the Potenza Sport was the best tyre in its class for dry braking (the shortest braking distance on a dry surface), while also being ranked as the best performer in wet cornering and handling.
The downside? Well, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that Bridgestone’s flagship tyre isn’t the cheapest option, with prices ranging from around £80 on the smallest sizes through to a steep £275 for the largest diameter and width rubber.
Perhaps one other plus side is that Brigestone says you’ll get 10 per cent more time out of the Potenza Sport than its S001 sibling, which is also thanks to the 3D sipes in the tread pattern. Even six months after being fitted to our test car, they’re still looking as good as new.
So, is Bridgestone’s Potenza Sport worthy of your attention? Without a doubt, yes. Their ability to help unlock additional grip and traction will be welcome on any car – performance or otherwise – while the fact they perform so well in wetter conditions means they’ll likely have a greater all-year-round ability than their ‘summer tyre’ billing suggests.