High performance

High performance

When Cooper set out to make the CS5 Touring line of car tires , it didn’t want to create just another tire. It wanted to celebrate what it has built and grown into over the last 100 years. It wanted to create one of its best tires ever. More than that, the company wanted to prove that it could create tires that are world-beating, and every bit as impressive as those from companies like Michelin and Pirelli.

Cooper invited a collection of journalists including myself to come to its tire testing facility in Texas to give these tires a real test . We spent time doing laps in wet and dry to push these slabs of rubber to the breaking point. As there are two models in the lineup, Grand Touring and Ultra Touring, Cooper was even kind enough to round up cars wearing competitor rubber from Pirelli and Hankook to prove just how good the new tire really was.

Cooper threw the gauntlet, handed us the keys to some BMWs and Mustangs , and let us decide who the winner was. Does the CS5 live up to all the hype?

Read on to learn more about the Cooper Tire CS5.

Once Wintertime falls upon us sports car owners, we typically park our babies in the garage for the season to avoid slipping and sliding all over the place in the snow and ice. Well, Goodyear has released a tire that helps eliminate slipping and sliding and is sized just right to fit your sports sedan and coupe.

Enter in the all-new Goodyear Ultra Grip 8, which is available in 11 popular sports sedan and coupe sizes, including ones that fit the Audi A6 , Cadillac CTS , BMW 3 Series and many more. These tires feature a saw-shaped center section to help plow the snow out of the way when braking and variable-edged angle to grip firmly in the remaining snow and ice under the tire. Additionally, the Ultra Grip 8 features a directional pattern that helps usher water away after the snow melts.

Another common complaint about sports cars in the Wintertime is the fact that the tires never properly warm up, leaving the sidewalls and tread stiffer than normal, which lowers ride quality and reduces handling capabilities. Well, Goodyear solves this with its special blend of polymers and silica to keep the rubber compound soft and tacky, even in very cold conditions, so you can enjoy the twisties below freezing without drastically reducing handling capabilities.

We’ll get a full review on the all-new Goodyear Ultra Grip 8’s as soon as possible, but like all Goodyear tires, we expect them to live up to the hype.

With summertime about halfway over and fall bearing down on all of us, the thought of taking the summer tires off of your beloved ride in favor of all-season rubber that just doesn’t perform the same is depressing. With exception to us southern-state dwellers, you need a set of tires that can handle the rain, snow and ice that the winter, fall and spring present us, and most summer tires simply can’t handle the elements. Well, Michelin has an all-new all-season tire that packs summer tire-like stickiness with an all-season design and features: the Pilot A/S 3.

This all-new Pilot Sport tire uses a special blend of silica to help enhance the "sticky" feeling of the tire and a tread design that helps jettison water from under your car’s footprint. The combination of water channeling and extra silica really helps the tire bite down on the road. Additionally, variable-thickness sipes on the outer section of the tread help break up the tension in the water and then lock together to create maximum rubber contact to the asphalt.

When it comes to tires, you cannot base purchasing decisions on sheer performance, unless you have tons of money to blow. You also have to consider how long the manufacture guarantees the tire will last. Most summer tires don’t include a mileage warranty and most all-season tires with any sort of warranty are too hard to perform well. Michelin obviously found a nice balance with the Pilot A/S 3,as these shoes come with a 45,000-mile warranty.

A truly unique feature on the A/S 3 that surprises even me - a seasoned expert in the tire industry - is Michelin’s Helio Compound, which helps the rubber retain its soft and sticky properties in cold temperatures. This is a frequent complaint of all-season tire users, as it can take seemingly forever for your tires to get up to temperature on a cold day. Not only does this increase cold-weather grip, but it also increases comfort in cold weather.

You can snag up these tires now between the sizes of 175/65R15 and 285/35R20, which covers cars ranging from the Fiat 500 to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG . Once we get our hands on a set of them, we will let you know just how well they do, so stay tuned!

Click past the jump to see detailed videos on these all-new tires and the crazy tests they underwent.

BFGoodrich is coming up with a new extreme-performance tire, the Rival. That category of tire is the last street-legal step before you go to the dark side with race-only tires. If you are looking for mind-blowing performance, you owe it to yourself to shop in that category. The usual suspects are the Hankook RS3, Toyo R1R, Yokohama AD08, Kumho XS and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup.

Until now, BFG’s most extreme street tire was the Comp-2. Launched in 2012, the Comp-2 tire received first place on TireRack’s ultra-high-performance tire survey, not bad.

Michelin acquired BFGoodrich in 1988, so while BFG tires are solely manufactured in the USA, BFG benefits from all the research and development Michelin can offer. Think about it, all the goodies at a lesser price and made in the USA!

The Rival offers a couple of very distinctive features that make BFG hope it will be the next big thing. To prove its worth, they invited us for a full day of torture testing against the competition. Keep reading for our impressions first hand.

UPDATE: BFG posted two new videos to promote their new Rival tire, check them out after the jump.

Posted on by Alexander + 9

The beautifully exquisite Porsche 911/991 made its debut earlier this year and the number of people wanting to own one probably far outweighs the number of people who have enough money to do so. For the latter, Falken Tire is hosting a huge social media campaign that will see the grand prize winner driving away in a new Porsche 911/991 Carrera . Okay, so technically, the amount of money you make has no influence whatsoever on your chances of winning, but you get our point.

Falken Tire’s sweepstakes will launch today on their Facebook page, marking the beginning of the ALMS 12 Hrs of Sebring race weekend (March 16th-18th, 2012). Falken will actually be competing in the GT Class of the American LeMans Series with a 2012 Porsche GT3 RSR. Veteran Drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers will return to pilot the car.

For a chance to win the 911/991 sports car, all you have to do is head to Falken Tire’s Facebook page and "Like" it. Once that is done, players will be able to compete on a Falken-branded racetrack on CityVille and be entered to win the 911.

For official contest rules, please visit www.facebook.com/falkentire.

Source: Falken Tire
Posted on by Thomas Nelson 2

Porsche can’t seem to shake the lemons off it’s model tree. Once again the Stuttgart manufacturer has been forced to issue a recall, this time centering on 235 2011-2012 models which may have had defective seat belts installed. According to Inside Line, the models that are affected include the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS , 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS , 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster , 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4 , 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4S , 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo , 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S , 2012 Porsche Boxster S , 2012 Porsche Cayman , 2012 Porsche Cayman R , and 2012Porsche Cayman S . The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration points out that these defective seat belts are centered on the mounting holes in the seat belt anchor plates fitted to the vehicle being too small. If the hole diameter is too small, the anchor plate may not be able to rotate about the fastening bolt as designed. Should this occur, the seat belt may not be routed optimally around the occupant, or may potentially loosen at some point in the future increasing the risk of injury during a crash. Although this problem is serious, it is noted by the NHTSA that no deaths or injuries have resulted from these defective seat belts. Porsche also says this defect stems from a "manufacturing issue" at their seat belt supplier.

We don’t think this will affect Porsche at all. We still look at Porsche cars as the one of the finest sports car manufacturers in the world.

Source: NHTSA
Posted on by Thomas Nelson 3

In the gear head community, the arrival of a new Shelby GT 500 Mustang is always eagerly awaited. The 2013 Shelby Mustang is no different and this anticipation has been exaggerated because of rumors of a new power plant.

Car and Driver points out that, initially, a turbocharged engine was rumored to be under the hood, but Ford has confirmed that the 2013 Shelby Mustang will keep its supercharged V8. This supercharged V8 will reportedly put out 600 horses. There’s been no word on the price of this top-end pony car, but it will most likely remain in the $50-60K range.

This latest Mustang will face stiff competition from its muscle car rivals from Chevy , Dodge , and Chrysler . The list of rivals from these manufacturers include the Camaro ZL1 , and the Dodge Challenger and Chrysler SRT-8 , if they get the addition of a supercharger.

This is another example of the renewed Detroit civil war and this "conflict" is pushing innovation and engineering to the forefront again in a cut throat competition for the toughest crowd of all: automotive enthusiasts.

Posted on by Thomas Nelson 6

The Audi A7 has not even been on US shores for a year and already the engineers from Ingolstadt are busy making this hatchback a land rocket, as shown by new spy images of the RS7 version . The tuned up S and RS versions are reportedly going to be propelled by the brand new turbocharged Bentley V8. In the RS, the engine will produce about 600 horsepower. In addition to more horsepower (20 more than the outgoing V10 from the previous RS6 ) this engine weighs less than the outgoing engine, which points to the fact that Audi appears to working hard on lightening and improving the balance of the RS7. What makes us salivate even more is the fact that an Audi engineer admitted that the RS7 won’t just be a Bavarian drag racer. He said, "The last RS6 has focused too much on straight-line performance. We want to put more emphasis on cornering ability...We want to bring back the feeling of raw power that the first RS6 gave drivers. That means more sound, more responsiveness, more connection between car and driver."

Full story after the jump.

Posted on by Thomas Nelson 7

When Mazda first introduced its Wenkel engine in 1961, the automotive world was set alight it. Soon after, many manufacturers clamored to build their own. This engine was an automotive Gibraltar, no matter the challenges it faced, the Wenkel soldiered on. These challenges came from every angle from new emissions standards in 1970 to an oil crisis three years later, in addition to innumerable engineering issues. Mazda cultivated their Wenkel engine and planted it in their sporty RX-7 and it was an instant hit. Even when the RX-8 emerged as a successor to the RX-7 in 2001, the Wenkel heart beat on. Now as the RX-8’s production run is scheduled to end in 2011, a steady stream of rumors about the current Wenkel engine’s successor have flown past our desks.

First, we are going to ask all Mazda fans to take a deep breath. Okay, now that that is taken care of, we have some bad news according to Ward’s Auto Mazda is considering putting the new engine development on hold. The reason for this cutback was that at this time of economic woe, Mazda was looking for a way to reduce expenses and apparently this new engine program is very expensive.

We hope that even as the bean counters are clamoring about diminishing profit margins, Mazda continues to develop this engine. It provides the RX-8 and it’s successor with fantastic high performance and, in the era of pretty and almost all identical cars, Mazda offered a unique take on a sports car. We all hope that Mazda comes to their senses and keeps this iconic power plant.

Source: Jalopnik
Posted on by Thomas Nelson 8

When the BMW 1-series was debuted in the US as a 2008 model, comparisons were immediately made to the iconic BMW 2002 . We were skeptical of this little coupe trying to cash in on the legacy of classic BMW models, but as we got behind the wheel of this BMW Mighty Mouse, we quickly realized it stuck to a successful sports car formula. This equation references classic BMW performance and yet moves the marque forward. When you get behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 128i it’s like hearing your favorite Eagles song, it takes you back to a simpler time. This time capsule also teaches a new generation what a sports car can be.

The micro-sized sports car that is the BMW 128i has proved very popular since its introduction for the 2008 model year. The 128i is a new take on the BMW philosophy of excellent handling and superb engineering. Whereas many models in the line are now turbocharged, the 128i stubbornly sticks to the naturally aspirated inline 6. In addition to this, BMW "roots album" presents the full package for a driver that wants a car with two distinct personalities: a) a cheap and "chuckable" sports car and b) a pleasant everyday driver. These personalities always meet in the middle and never force the driver to pick which he wants.

More details on the BMW 128i after the jump.

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