As cars manufacturers continually strive to deliver a quieter motoring experience for the masses, every aspect of the car has been built around delivering a quieter drive experience for the driver and occupants of the car. They call it “NVH” – Noise, Vibration and Harshness reduction, which does translate many hours of design and material engineering.
Tyres on the other hand, are the main source of road noise, usually generated by the thread coming into contact with the road. This is where tyre manufacturers continually strive to develop new designs that fight off the noise monsters.
The development of Yokohama tyres is a worldwide effort, with tests conducted in Japan, Europe, the US and more recently, Asia. The Yokohama Tyre Test Centre of Asia, completed in 2009, was the venue for the Yokohama Advan dB V552 Test Drive event.
The Advan dB V552 premium comfort tire is the latest addition to Yokohama’s global flagship brand: Advan. It is currently available in 24 sizes, ranging from 265/35R18 97W XL to 155/65R14 75H, with a planned expansion of available tire sizes.
This premium comfort tire that was developed based on the concept of “an unprecedentedly silent tire that changes the in-car atmosphere.” Yokohama claims to have started from a clean sheet during the tyre’s design, and improved the tire’s wet grip performance and fuel efficiency with a new compound with increased dispersibility of silica.
To prove the new tyre’s performance, Yokohama had set up several stations, each designed to highlight the strengths of the tyre. First up was the wet braking and handling circuit, where we were told to accelerate up to 80km/h and hit the brakes hard to get a feel of the tyre’s grip in both dry and wet conditions. Following which, a fast slalom through a wet circuit, with standing water at 50km/h (we tried to go faster, of course!). This was followed by a dry lane change and a quick u-turn for a feel of dry handling and grip.
The second station was about the quietness of the tyre. Utilizing two similar Toyota Camrys, we got into the first car fitted with the older V551, the other with the V552. The first part of the track was smoothly paved, in order to demonstrate thread pitch noise. The return leg of the circuit was rougher, designed to mimic an average road condition. In both tests, the V552 demonstrated a noticeably quieter thread pitch noise than the V551. In the actual road condition demo, the V552 edged ahead at soothing the aggressive cabin droning noise of the road surface to a more pleasant level.
Of course, the quietest tyre wouldn’t be very good for road use if it doesn’t deliver a dependable grip level. For that, the last station we visited was a wet skid pad and a dry handling circuit. On the skid pad, we were given the task of trying to go around as fast as we could on two different tyres, the V551 and the V552. On the V551, we managed a top speed of about 51km/h, while the V552 could easily maintain a higher speed of 56km/h and felt more communicative at the limits of grip.
The last station was arguably pushing the new V552 tyre to the limit, which is a special test course filled with tight corners on a sweeping road, akin to nice B-roads you would find in a typical Asian countryside. The car was a Mercedes-Benz C-class hybrid, which added an extra element of fun with its instant-torque RWD configuration.
Fitted with the V552 tyres, we could push this hefty sedan around the tight corners with free abandon. Approaching the limits, the tyres exhibited a very progressive breakaway characteristic. Even with a heavy sedan, the steering response to directional changes were sharp, and highlights the new design that that Yokohama put in the V552 sidewall to aid in enhancing the rubber contact with the road, and in turn, improve the grip and handling behaviour.
As a parting gift to all the participants, Yokohama organized a small gymkhana challenge for everyone, in a Civic 1.6 equipped with a sporty member of the Advan family, the Fleva V701. Everyone had their go in crushing lap times – with the Malaysian and Hong Kong journalists proving their supreme driving skills and finishing on the podium.
In all, the Yokohama Advan dB V552 has the qualities of a premium comfort tire in the company’s global flagship brand which epitomizes “Yokohama’s Pursuit of Driving Pleasure”. The high-performance Advan family includes the Advan Sport V105 and our favourite, the Advan Neova AD08R street sports tire. Keen to get your hands on the latest quiet high-performance tyres? We’ve attached a list of sizes available now:
Yokohama Tyres are exclusively distributed by YHI Singapore. For more information of Yokohama’s extensive range of tyres from passenger cars that cater for different market needs, please visit www.yhiautomotive.com.sg or “YHI Singapore” on Facebook.