Tire Review: Cooper Zeon RS3 S tire reviews auto product reviews
Cooper Zeon RS3-S. Click image to enlarge

Tire Review: Cooper Zeon RS3-A

Manufacturer’s web site
Cooper Tire North America

By Michael Schlee; photos by Michael Schlee and courtesy Cooper Tire

Photo Gallery:
Cooper Zeon RS3-S

Cooper Tire may not be all that well-known in Canada. Even though the company has been around since 1914, their presence in our country thus far is perceived by many as relatively small. Make no mistake though, Cooper Tire is not a small company; in 2011 they achieved $4 billion in sales and currently hold a 13 percent share of the replacement tire market in North America. Their focus is not on building tires for OEM business as it is not as profitable. Instead, they focus on making replacement tires that exceed the performance of a vehicle’s original factory-installed tires both under the Cooper brand as well as several other nameplates. Currently, it seems to be working for them as 1 out of every 2 tires they sell is a replacement tire.

That brings us to this week’s tire review, the Zeon RS3-S—Cooper’s ultra-high performance summer tire. Cooper markets this tire as being the ultimate dry and wet max-performance tire for summer. It features a 300 tread wear rating and AA traction and A temperature ratings. The tire is available in W and Y speed ratings and features an asymmetrical design pattern. As with most asymmetrical tires, the outboard section of the tire is for grip while the inboard area is designed to channel out water.

Tire Review: Cooper Zeon RS3 S tire reviews auto product reviews
Cooper Zeon RS3-S. Click image to enlarge

If you are not interested in the construction of this tire, but rather how it performs, I give you permission to skip to the next paragraph. For the rest of us, the dry handling on this tire is created by large intermediate and shoulder tread elements. To give the car great ‘on-centre’ feel, two continuous strips of rubber run the circumference on the tire slightly offset from the middle. The tire’s wet weather performance is created by wide circumferential lateral grooves complemented by variable draft walls that channel water away from the tire and resist hydroplaning.

As with all the other tests performed at Cooper’s Test facility near San Antonio, Texas, a key competitor was brought along to test against these Zeons. For this test it was the BFG g-Force SportComp2 ultra-high-performance summer tires. The first test featured some wet handling laps around an autocross course Cooper created on their 14 acre VDA test pad; an asphalt field with a constant layer of water on it. To test these high performance tires you need a high performance vehicle, so Cooper brought along two late model convertible Corvettes; one with a set of their Zeon RS3-S tires installed and one wearing a set of the BFG g-Force SportComp2 tires.

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