April 5, 2011
Potenza RE960AS RFT. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Grant Yoxon
Bridgestone summer performance tires
Phoenix, Arizona – There may still be snow on the ground in many parts of Canada and even places where the snow has already disappeared, temperatures are still on the chilly side. But it is a time when Canadians start thinking about, and yearning for, summer.
While your thoughts may centre on warm days at the lake, it would be a good idea to think about how you will get there. Whether you are an enthusiast with a summer-only sports car tucked away in the garage or an owner with a daily driven sports sedan in desperate need of spring cleaning, now is the time to think about summer tires.
Before heading out on the highway or pulling off the winter tires in favour of summer rubber, take a close look at the condition of your old summer tires. Look for uneven wear, possibly caused by uneven inflation or incorrect wheel alignment. If your old summer or all-season tires are done, the wear bars will be visible. They appear when there is two mm of tread left. These bars show up as solid bands of rubber across the face of the tire. If you have wear bars showing, the tires need replacing.
Potenza S-04 Pole Position. Click image to enlarge
Tire technology is constantly evolving, so it is a good idea to check out the new offerings from tire manufacturers. Recently, we had the opportunity to try out three new ultra high performance tires from Bridgestone. As the name suggest, ultra high performance tires are intended for sports cars and sedans where enhanced handling and a superior driving experience are the goals.
Potenza S-04 Pole Position
The Potenza S-04 Pole Position is Bridgestone’s newest flagship entry into the summer performance tire line-up and replaces the RE050A Pole Position. The S-04 PP has been engineered with features to provide improved wet and dry handling. Wide circumferential grooves provide rapid water evacuation. High silica content improves traction in wet conditions by increasing the flexibility of the tread compound, while the footprint has been optimized for even contact pressure across the whole tread surface, compared with its predecessor the RE050A.
Large, stiff, high grip shoulder blocks on the Potenza S-04 help maximize road contact and handling through corners and a continuous interlocking centre rib provides quick response to steering inputs.
To help minimize noise, Bridgestone incorporated an advanced pattern design with Resonance Noise Attenuated (RENOA) Silencer Groove. Essentially, the RENOA are small grooves cut into the tread which are not connected and do not open up into a larger groove. As a result, the tires generate less noise.
To demonstrate the new ultra high performance tire, we drove an S-04 PP equipped Audi S4 through a variety of high speed slalom manoeuvres on a dry track, along with an Audi S4 equipped with a competitive brand.