If First You Don't Succeed...Why Your BRZ or FR-S Needs Better Tires

Thumbing through the March round of car magazines, I came across an interesting comparison between C7 launch articles. Sweet car, by the way, that C7. The comparison test? My Subaru BRZ versus another favorite of mind, the 2013 Ford Focus ST.

A lightweight rear-wheel drive junior Cayman against a roomy, practical and powerful front-wheel drive hatch? Kind of an odd couple to test with their only real commonality being their $25,000-$30,000 price point. Both cars tested well, but at the end of the day, the BRZ was about a second slower than the Focus ST on a 1.6-mile road course.

Did I buy the wrong car? No, not at all. I bought the right car that happens to be sold with the wrong tires. The BRZ and FR-S come equipped with 215/45R17 Michelin Primacy HP tires, while the Focus ST has the 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. It's true the Focus ST boasts a huge power advantage, however stickier rubber would allow the BRZ to maximize its cornering grip. I suspect a simple swap to either a Max Performance Summer or Extreme Performance Summer tire would easily close that gap.

For those interested, before I got my BRZ, I had a set of Extreme Performance Summer tires in mind. After getting my new car, I was leaning towards the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. After about 1,600 miles on my Original Equipment tires, I decided on the Michelin Pilot Super Sport in 225/45R17 on 17x7 48ET Sport Tuning T8 wheels. Michelin's Pilot Super Sport provides great wet grip and I wanted to avoid the harder ride of the Extreme Performance Summer tire. I noticed improvements across the board with the tires with no significant difference in ride or tread noise.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013 by Joe

But the Focus ST is such a better looking car!

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