Tires that Give Your Luxury Car the Ride You Paid For

Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 on the Porsche 718 Boxster 
The only part of a $100,000 Mercedes-Benz S Class luxury sedan that actually touches the road is the same part that touches the road on a $17,000 Kia Rio, the tires. Despite all the incredible, variable, suspension systems that are designed to give the luxury car driver the ride they want, tires still have an important influence on how the car performs on the pavement.
JUN 05, 2019

If you have invested in a luxury sedan or sport sedan, and there’s just something missing in the way it rides, you should check out the wheels and tires you are riding on.

Here’s the problem.

Traditionally, people (including auto manufacturers) thought of luxury cars as being royal coaches. They wanted ultra-smooth rides and never feel a bump in the road again. But then these luxury cars, like the BMW 7 Series, started dropping 600+ horsepower engines under the hood and suddenly the luxury car was no longer a coach, it was a performance ride.

Today’s luxury car buyer is likely to want the smell of leather, all the technical toys, and a 24-way power adjustable seat with a hot stone massage function, but they’ll also want to go zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds or less. The standard 18” wheels wrapped in All Season rubber are not going to satisfy the desires of the driver who wants it all.

Enter the Ultra High-Performance Tires for Luxury Cars

Ultra-High Performance (UHP) tires have been around forever but they were mostly mounted on sports and performance cars. Today you can find them on luxury rides as well as muscle cars. UHP tires are engineered differently from standard tires to provide better grip, cornering ability, and most importantly, they dissipate heat much faster than standard rubber. They are rated to 147 mph.

They do increase performance. Acceleration and braking both benefit from the better grip. They are engineered to endure the increased torque resulting from the larger engines and increased Gs involved in carving a corner. The UHP “Summer” tire has no competition when it comes to grip and traction both in dry and wet conditions. The “Winter” tire for luxury cars (which is only available in larger sizes) does well in snow and ice but not on dry roads and they are incredibly noisy. The “All Season” version is the compromise that many people, particularly those leaning towards comfort versus performance, tend to go with.

UHP tires are your best bet to get both performance and comfort for your luxury ride. They are pricey, particularly if you buy them from the dealer. Fortunately, you have online options that can save you a significant amount.

We know you only want the best so here’s a recap of the best UHP tires as rated by Consumer Reports.

Best UHP All Season Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ All-Season Radial Tire - 225/40ZR18 92Y

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+

Rated best of the UHP All-Season tires tested, the Pilot Sport ranked “excellent” in dry braking and handling, “very good” in wet braking, hydroplaning and noise. A “good” rating was awarded for snow traction, ice braking, and ride comfort. The expected tread life of this tire is 55,000 miles. The price at the time of testing was $152 per tire.

Pirelli P ZERO ALL SEASON PLUS All-Season Radial Tire - 225/50R17 98W

Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus 

This Pirelli garnered an “excellent” rating for handling, braking, and noise and a “very good” for braking in both dry and wet conditions. “Good” ratings were awarded for snow traction, ice braking, and ride comfort. Tread life is about 50,000 miles and the cost of the tire is $126 per wheel.

Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 All-Season Radial Tire - 225/40ZR18 92Y

Continental Extreme Contact DWS06

This asymmetrical tread design has a life expectancy of 45,000 miles. It rated “excellent” in dry braking, “very good” in wet braking, handling, hydroplaning, and noise, and good in ice braking and ride comfort. Snow is not its forte ranking “fair” in snow traction. This third place All-Season tire costs $136.

Best UHP Summer Tires

Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105

Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105

Yokohama’s performance in dry braking, handling and hydroplaning all scored “excellent.” “Very good” ratings went to wet braking and noise while ride comfort scored a “fair.” Tread on this tire is expected to last 35,000 miles and the price per tire is $225.

Nokian zLine

Nokian zLine

Known for their snow tires, this is Nokian’s first entry into summer tires and they placed second. An “excellent” rating was awarded for dry braking, handling, and hydroplaning. A ‘very good” ranking was assigned for wet braking and noise a “good” for ride comfort. This tire has a 35,000-mile life span and runs an economical $129.

Performance Winter Tires

Consumer Report only had a single performance winter tire that they would recommend and that’s the Yokohama W Drive V905. This tire for luxury cars is great for winter conditions but not in warmer weather. It comes in H, V, and W speed rated sizes suited for use on sports cars and luxury performance cars.

Yokohama W Drive V905
Yokohama W Drive V905

So, there you have it. The key is deciding what you want most out of your luxury ride. Once you decide on that, you can explore UHP tires that fit your profile.