New Advantage T/A Sport launching this summer, plus a Ford Mustang cone blast in latest g-Force Comp-2 against some pricier Continental rubber rivals
Just because a tire’s reasonably priced doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. That’s the main take-away I had after sampling BFGoodrich’s new Advantage T/A Sport on an everyday Mazda3 on a curvy pylon course in the middle of a dealer demonstration day. This is a day, or half day in this case, in which tire dealers are brought out to actually sample new cars coming to market against their main competitors.
This new BFG was lined up against an identical automatic Mazda3 fitted with, perhaps surprisingly, the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max, another moderately priced all-season tire, but which emphasizes efficiency and all-weather comfort over the BFG’s mainstream performance and reasonable price. This may sound like it’s BFG setting themselves up to look good in this back-to-back test, but after asking about the rival choice, it apparently was the local BFG tire dealers themselves in each area which voted on which tire they’d like to see compared with the all-new Advantage T/A.
Even on this relatively low-speed parking lot playground, the Advantage T/A still stood out as notably more fun than the Fuel Max: initial bite seemed quicker and quieter, while steering response was slightly sharper, the Mazda3 not quite seeming as squishy on its sidewalls as the efficiency-labeled Goodyears.
A splash of water in one section provided a brief experience of its greater traction in wet conditions, which company reps attributed to BFG’s (and parent Michelin’s) early start with silica, which apparently doesn’t naturally play nice with rubber. BFGoodrich says wet traction is up 12 per cent from the last gen Advantage T/A, and 15 per cent improvement in both snow traction and dry pavement.
Mustang V6 mania
But the real fun came when it was time to play with the twin Ford Mustangs.
“You’ve been to the appliance section, now welcome to sporting goods,” said one of our BFG Performance Team racer hosts, nodding to the brightly inviting 300 hp Mustang V6s waiting just behind us. In this case, the competitive tire was the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06, which is a serious performer from a premium Tier 1 European manufacturer.
In fact, the extensive consumer survey at tirerack.com ranks these Conti tires at #2 in their category, behind the BF Goodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S, which have been refined for 2016 (see all survey results at http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=UHPAS). Interestingly, the BFGs cost about 10 per cent less than the Contis, which typically line up closer to ultra-high performance category Michelin tires in terms of price and overall grip.
Upon an initial hard launch, both tires hooked up quickly, the BFG’s chirp slightly quieter than the Conti’s. Steering response upon turn-in was slightly sharper for the Comp-2, while both tires offered impressive grip in the tight cone course that really required caveman-esque pounding of the throttle or steering to provoke the rear end enough to break away on dry pavement. Both slid more on the few wet corners of the course, with the BFG coming back on line slightly more swiftly.
Whether on dry or wet pavement, however, the differences were minimal, at least as far as was discernible in a couple short parking lot hot laps. Making that price difference perhaps the most notable of all.