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Part 3: Asia and the Lexus GS 350

            For our city drive, we chose to mount the V105 on the Lexus GS 350. The exciting Japanese sports sedan comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 with VVT-I (Toyota's valve timing technology) that produces 306 bhp at 6400 rpm and 276 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800. The shifting duties are performed by a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode, and although the hardware is basically carryover from the past model, new features have been added to make the driving experience sportier. But as sporty as the GS350’s specifications are, the rear-drive sedan is a capable touring machine, with a remarkably comfortable cabin that accommodates five people.

            Through the crowded city streets of Tokyo’s Asakusa District, the Lexus GS 350 exhibited a silky smooth ride, with the tires and suspension soaking up road irregularities in a very efficient manner. The new matrix body ply structure gives the V105 high side rigidity that provides highly efficient rolling qualities, so the tread and the bead roll in proper positions. This also sharpens the car’s steering response, which was very helpful when weaving through heavy traffic.

           It wasn’t until we found ourselves on the Tomei Expressway that we realized how quiet the new V105s were. As the car reached a cruising speed of 130 km/h (about 80 mph), the cabin of the Lexus GS 350 remained eerily silent. Engine noise was just above a whisper, and road noise was virtually non-existent. Some of the credit here goes to the V105’s asymmetrical pitch variation that optimizes pitch on the inside and outside of the tire to achieve both enhanced maneuverability and quietness. Also, Yokohama’s silent sipe technology, which is incorporated into the tread pattern, plays a big role, too. The silent sipe consists of thin slits positioned on the inside of the ribs to suppress external vehicle noise.

            After our experience in Europe and North America, we knew that the V105s were very capable when hard driving was the order of the day, but we were quite impressed on how civil these tires could be when the driver just wanted to relax and cruise on the open freeway. The sharp steering response the V105s provided was a welcome trait on both the race track and crowded metropolitan roads. What’s more, the ADVAN Sport tire is more fuel efficient than their predecessor, the V103. Not only has rolling resistance been decreased as mentioned before, the tire weighs 4.6 percent less than the V103s, all while improving stability. True to Yokohama’s motto regarding the ADVAN Sports, these tires were definitely “comfort even at high speed.”

Final Word  

Three different continents on three different driving venues with three different vehicles: It was a fun and educational trip, one that revealed the versatile nature of the new Yokohama ADVAN Sport tires. The Triple Play convinced our testers that Yokohama’s new flagship tire is ideal for driving enthusiasts of all levels in any setting imaginable, and can be called one of the the best road tires in the world.