PREVIEW: YOKOHAMA ADVAN SPORT V105

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GTChannel
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       Yokohama Tire Co. has just introduced its new flagship tire, the new Advan Sport V105, to the global market, with the anticipated launch in the U.S. scheduled for later this year. We at GTChannel.com decided to get a jump on everyone else, by making our way to Yokohama’s non-U.S. media event in Malaga, Spain, to see if the new Advan Sport summer tires were as good as, or better than, its predecessor, the high-regarded V103. Tucked away in the Andalucían countryside is a little-known, but challenging racetrack called Ascari Circuit, where we unleashed a variety of sporty luxury cars fitted with the new Advan Sport tires.

       The Advan Sport V105 is Yokohama’s new flagship product, replacing the Advan Sport V103. While the V103 was among the most critically-acclaimed touring tires in the world, Yokohama claims the V105 surpasses the V103 in every way. It performs better on wet (improved stability and braking) and dry surfaces (improved braking and equal stability), and it’s much quieter. The key to the V105 is its new construction; the V105-specific matrix body ply greatly improves steering stability, while the high-rigidity Rayon body ply is less susceptible to heat. All in all, the new structure results in a 4.6-percent weight loss when compared to the V103 with significantly better performance. And Yokohama is quick to remind us that the V105 includes the company’s patented orange-oil technology, which is not only good for the environment, but makes rubber more pliable, improving adhesion to the road.

       On the track, we first tested the wet performance of the V105, fitted on the BMW 3 Series sedan, on a small autocross course that included a slalom, skidpad and braking zone. Despite the wet surface, these tires gripped the driving surface in remarkable fashion, as the tires maintained consistent grip and traction through varying depths of water. Where other tires would cause the car to understeer heavily through the slow turns, the V105 guided the car precisely where it was steered, with good turn-in feel to boot. When the speeds increased, the tires seemed to get better, actually making it hard to get the car sideways on purpose. Much of the credit here can be attributed to the innovative new asymmetrical tread pattern of the V105 that features a larger inside groove area to resist hydroplaning at high speeds. We didn’t knock over one cone, despite going hard. Impressive!

       The V105s are OE (Original Equipment) on several sporty luxury cars that include the Mercedes-Benz SL and CLS. According to Yokohama engineers, they worked quite closely with Mercedes-Benz to develop a tire that measured up to the German company’s high standards regarding comfort and performance. The engineers said they overcame many obstacles to create the “ideal performance tire for high-end luxury sports vehicles.” Their claims were confirmed when we took the M-B SL and CLS for some hot laps around the Ascari track. The cars turned in with amazing crispness, despite being heavy beasts with suspension settings that were tuned on the soft side. The high level of grip encouraged us to brake late in corners, and if you really got on it, the tires would slide just enough to allow the driver to throttle steer through tricky sections of the track. In fact, from the driver’s seat, these felt more like “R” compound tires than grand touring tires, except that they were amazingly quiet.

       We’ll have more on the new Yokohama Advan Sport as the launch date in the U.S. nears, including price. After our impromptu preview of the V105 in Spain, we at GTChannel.com can’t wait for this tire to come to the U.S. market.