Review And Compare Tires Before You Buy
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Tire Review
Late fall 2014, Bridgestone’s product management team made a visit to well-known Tire Rack headquarters and brought with them a set of production specification Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires to be tested on the test track. For a point of controlled reference, Bridgestone also brought along the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A to help compare performance gains of the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R.
Using the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A as a baseline, The drivers followed the standard test protocols, each taking several fast laps around the track. Like we have found in the past tests, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A proved to be Jerry responsive, predictable and planted with plenty of communication to know what’s happening in the contact area. Front/rear balance was good with the rear of the Vehicle rotating ever very little to help with the last bit of car yaw, allowing the driver to start unwinding the steering wheel early and pick up the accelerator to accelerate away from the apex. Ultimate grip level in the dry was good, but anecdotally not quite at the front of the Extreme Performance pack. Past experience shows the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A (and companion, Bridgestone Potenza RE-11) trades a little ultimate track handling for a more civilized demeanor on the road, but we wouldn’t be evaluating ride and noise comfort today.
Moving over to the car equipped with Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires, it was back out on the track for more laps. It was apparent right away Bridgestone the RE-71R has more grip than the RE-11A, helping the car really pull down to the apex. In the transitions of our five-cone slalom and at turn-in while still trailing the brakes, the car with Bridgestone RE-71R tires felt locked down, especially at the rear where it didn’t seem to have the subtle slip angle the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A used to round the corners. With the rear end well planted, the front tires still had enough authority to keep up, preventing painful understeer that could slow down lap times.
A look at the data from our Race Technology data loggers showed the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R was more capable everywhere. The time advantage grew steadily through the lap, illustrating that our drivers were going a little quicker all the time, underscoring their observation of a gain in ultimate grip and the ability to push harder in all phases of the corner, thanks to increased driver confidence.
We also took the opportunity to turn on our sprinklers to make our own rain and find out how well the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R worked when roads or track are wet. Our test evaluates wet traction, but not hydroplaning. The volume of water we put on the track and typical vehicle speeds around the track doesn’t create hydroplaning with new tires, even for those with massive tread blocks and low void ratios like the Extreme Performance Summer tires we drove on for this test. Again starting off on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A, we found overall traction to be good (for an Extreme Performance Summer tire), with good feedback and stable handling.
Just as it had done in the dry, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R showed a gain over the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A when the track was wet, thanks again to noticeably higher overall traction. The increase in grip boosted driver confidence, and when the limit was reached the inevitable breakaway was predictable, and easy to manage.
|Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A||29.64||35.20|
|Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R||28.89||33.46|
|2014 BMW F30 328i Sedans using new, full tread depth 245/40R18 tires mounted on 18×8.0 wheels. Cold inflation pressure set to 35psi front/rear, with no adjustments made during the test.|
Unfortunately our brief drive on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R didn’t give the opportunity to test it against other competitors from the Extreme Performance Summer category. But the feel from behind the wheel and some quick napkin math suggest its lap times in both dry and wet conditions are competitive with the newest and quickest Extreme Performance tires on the market. We’ll be doing a full road, dry and wet track evaluation in the early summer of 2015 to see how well it performs both on and off the track.