100 meters in 9.63 seconds, that was Usain Bolt's winning time at the 2012 Olympics. This is approximately 1.2 seconds faster than the winning time in 1912. How did we become this much faster in 100 years? Well, competition definitely played a part. The better the competition, the harder athletes work to reach the top. Just like athletes, tire manufacturers are constantly challenging one another. They're always looking for ways to improve grip, efficiency, ride compliance, tread noise, treadwear and a myriad of other traits.
Recently, we tested some new competitors in the Grand Touring All-Season class. We compared the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus (replacement for the Turanza Serenity), Yokohama AVID Ascend (H- or V-Speed Rated), Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, along with Michelin's Primacy MXV4.
All four tires offer good ride compliance and low tread noise, however we noticed variations in the wet grip portion of our testing. The new Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology excelled on the wet track. It stopped 8 feet shorter than the second place finish of the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus. Overall, the tire bested its competitors across the board in wet cornering grip, slalom time and wet lap time.
I view wet traction as the most important differentiator between average and great tires. Most tires are competent enough in the dry so that dry grip variances aren't felt in day-to-day use. Wet grip differences will be noticeable as a less effective tire slips and spins on wet surfaces.
Given its stellar wet performance, I feel that the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology is our best Grand Touring All-Season tire. Although our official test report found the PureContact somewhat lacking in ride compliance, I personally didn't feel a significant deficiency during my time testing the tire. The bottom line is that the tire is a great choice in a very competitive field.
To see how our testing of these tires went this summer, watch "Testing Grand Touring All-Season Tires."