Winter tyres: advice for safe driving - Rezulteo’s test: Are Pirelli’s winter tyres compatible with high performance vehicles? - rezulteo

Rezulteo’s test: Are Pirelli’s winter tyres compatible with high performance vehicles?

Winter tyres Published the 02/03/2017 by Julien Taillandier

Pirelli has never been so involved in the winter tyre world. The Italian tyre manufacturer gave us the opportunity to test its winter tyres at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup at St. Moritz.

Pirelli-winter-experience Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 tyres tested on the Maserati Ghibli - Copyright © : Pirelli 2017

Pirelli chose the Swiss town of St. Moritz for us to test its two iconic winter tyres: the Scorpion Winter and the Winter Sottozero 3. An invitation clearly focused on high performance and fresh snow, allowing us to give you some background on performance requirements of today’s winter tyres.

Pirelli-winter-experience-Sottozero3Copyright © : Pirelli 2017

Over the years, developments in the automobile industry have complicated the work of tyre manufacturers. Indeed, they have had to adapt to increasingly heavier and more powerful vehicles, with tyre sizes following suit and the use of more intrusive electronic devices. The problem is more acute for a brand like Pirelli who, in addition to producing tyres for standard vehicles, are specialised in equipment for some exceptional vehicles. In this segment, performances are even more important and physical limits are constantly being redefined. To understand this, take a quick look at the technical specifications of the Bentley SUV, the Bentayga: with an unladen weight of almost 2.5 tonnes, a 6.0 litre twin turbo W12 engine producing 608 hp, and a tyre width between 275 and 285 mm, it is a real challenge to drive such a machine on snow.

Pirelli-winter-experience-BentleyCopyright © : Pirelli 2017

The prerogative to test the Pirelli Scorpion Winter and Winter Sottozero 3 tyres was particularly interesting and allowed us to assess whether a heavy, high performance vehicle can be driven in winter conditions.

Test: 100% snow 

The test Pirelli organised for us had no scientific value whatsoever. The objective was quite different: highlight the fact that a heavy, high performance luxury vehicle is perfectly suitable for use in extreme winter conditions as long as it is fitted with the right tyres.

Pirelli-winter-experience-BentleyCopyright © : Pirelli 2017

The test was not about tyres competing with each other or even assessing their real performances, but to demonstrate that these vehicles handle well even in a considerable amount of snow, as was the case for our test.  

Our test base was a small hilly circuit, very technical but with little relief; ideal to assess what the tyres were capable of delivering in terms of traction, lateral grip and braking performance.  

The vehicles provided for the test included a Porsche 991 Carrera 4S, a Bentley Continental GT and a Maserati Ghibli fitted with the Winter Sottozero 3, and the Bentley Bentayga and Maserati Levante with the Scorpion Winter.

Pirelli-winter-experience-PorscheCopyright © : Pirelli 2017

All of the vehicles tested were four wheel drives which allowed us to address certain potential traction problems. In any event, problems with grip on snow when driving heavy, high performance vehicles normally occurs for lateral grip or in braking phases. And in this case, even if it’s necessary to anticipate manoeuvres with heavy 4x4 vehicles and accelerate quite hard, like with the Bentayga, it must be said that the tyres work with the vehicle’s electronic devices to offer an extremely comfortable drive. By disconnecting the driving aids, we also had a bit of fun and let the car slide around a little. In these conditions, the cars all handled perfectly well and are within the grasp of any driver.

So, to the question of whether Pirelli’s winter tyres allow drivers to get the best out of their high performance vehicles in snow, the answer is decidedly, yes!

>> Prices for the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

>> Prices for the Pirelli Scorpion Winter

The Pirelli tyre manufacturer’s Design department chose the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup at St. Moritz to present its “Sport Carve Ski" range. The result of a new partnership with Blossom, these skis are inspired by a colour coding system that Pirelli uses to manage its Formula 1 racing tyres to recognise the various models. 

Pirelli-Sport-Carve-SkiCopyright © : Pirelli 2017