Have I mentioned that I’m not a fan of all-season tires? Indeed, I have. And yet, tire companies continue to invite me to all-season tire launches, promising fast cars with lots of horsepower channeled through LSDs for good-time sideways pleasure, as well as good food. I am easily cajoled. In this case, Goodyear held its tire launch at the Bob Bondurant high-performance driving school – and if you know anything about former Formula 1, LeMans, and Nascar driver Bob Bondurant, you’d know that a day at his school is not to be missed.
As a tire extremist (give me the stickiest summer tires, the meltiest R-comps, and the softest, squishiest winter tires, please) I haven’t given much thought to all-season tires, shy of conjuring a few disapproving glances while traversing the automotive isle at Costco. By definition, all-season tires constitute a compromise; they are, at best, great at nothing, good at everything – at worst, good at nothing, bad at everything. I shudder at the thought of equipping a high-performance BMW coupe or sedan in such compromised rubber.
And so it was with much trepidation that I boarded a plane to Phoenix, Arizona to test Goodyear’s latest all-season tire. While the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season is indeed an all-season tire, it is also a tire birthed from Goodyear’s Eagle F1 sport line – a line worthy of high performance sports cars. This, along with the smoky, rubber-striped letterhead background on the invitation, kept me optimistic.
Goodyear put on a great program, allowing all journalists in attendance to thoroughly test the tire on wet and dry track surfaces. Given the target market’s expectations I believe the tire will be a success, but let me be blunt: I wasn’t terribly impressed by the tire – at least not dynamically.
This tire test came on the heels of Michelin’s Pilot Sport A/S 3 performance all-season test (click here for the full review), and the bar was set very, very high. Scary high. Afraid of heights, high. Perhaps if I hadn’t have tested the Goodyear shortly after testing the Michelin my expectations would not have been so high, and thus, I would not have been disappointed by the Goodyear’s performance (I’m not a fan of all-seasons, remember?). Regardless, ultimate grip levels were mediocre in comparison to Michelin’s all-season Pilot Sport A/S 3 tire and when pushed to the limit, the Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Seasons complained, squealing in protest. They are not sporting by any measure – at least not to my taste and expectations.
They are, however, long lasting and durable tires – in fact, shockingly so. Remember the compromising equation of all-seasons? It turns out that Goodyear sacrificed some wet and dry traction to create an incredibly long-lasting tire – Goodyear warranties the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season to last at least 45,000 miles (72,420 kilometres) before you hit the tread-wear indicators. When I learned of this tire-life warranty a mischievous glint flashed in my eyes and I was overcome by sneaky, tire-roasting, devious thoughts. “What if I wrapped my M3 in Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Seasons and then hit up a few track days?” – I asked of Goodyear’s PR team. The answer I received was tantalizingly attractive: “This guarantee is limited to a square setup – staggered tire sizes are not covered by the warrantee.” My sly querying continued, “And what if I were to have a square wheel and tire setup installed on my M3?” Clouds parted, angles sang, and the answer came back, “Well then, that would be covered.”
That certainly changes things. Ok, so you won’t be winning any time attacks with these tires on your BMW or MINI, but you will be able to have lots of fun wearing these tires thin while not wearing your bank account thin. Not only is the purchase price very reasonable – far cheaper per set than Michelin’s Pilot Sport A/S 3, but the tires are long wearing, and should you wear through them in less than 45,000 miles, you’ll have a brand new set on your car at no cost to you.
Now, before Goodyear sends a tire assassin to take me out for spilling the warrantee track day beans (I specifically mentioned tracking a square-setup M3 in the hypothetical warrantee questioning, and got the positive response as mentioned above) – I should state that moderation should be exercised so as not to take advantage. I don’t think the tire executive I spoke with quite understood what I do to tires on track days. As the old saying goes, “It all goes up in smoke.” Long lasting or not – full opposite lock, full throttle second-gear drifting will have you on the belts in no time – long wearing tire be damned. And so as a good-faith disclaimer, I would beseech our readership to be reasonable with the track day fun and act with mindful conservatism. Nobody respects the teenager that stays at Burger King all day long from 9-5, topping up his Coca-Cola because the sign says free refills. Moderation people, moderation.
Should you, however, drive on the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season year round, and throw in a few (non drift-filled) track days in the summer, Goodyear will stand behind their warrantee, and replace your tires should they wear thin prematurely.
Depending upon your driving style and needs, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season could be your ticket – particularly if your decision is stacked heavily on the value quotient. Drivers who focus on getting from ‘A to B’ with periodic back-road blasts and light-hearted track days in the mix will be well served by the Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season. W and Y-speed ratings ensure that the tire can handle the high-speed demands of the track without delaminating off your wheels.
If deep snow is in your forecast, you’ll be better served by winter tires when Old Man Winter unleashes his fury. If you live in a climate where snow storms are far and few between, these all-seasons may suffice (I still recommend winter tires, as long as the temperature is due to drop below 7 degrees celcius, click here to read our article on the virtues of winter tires and the technology included within).
The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season is available in 36 different size combinations, so it’s likely that this Goodyear tire will fit your BMW or MINI. Hit the jump to take a closer look at the Eagle F1 Asymmetric at Goodyear.com.
A special thanks to the Goodyear team for hosting the event at the Bob Bondurant race and high-performance driving school. It was an honour to meet Bob in person and humbling to tour his facilities, laying eyes on his numerous trophies and classic race cars. Click here to check out the Bob Bondurant high-performance driving school.