Bridgestone need no introduction. They've long been a market leader amongst tyre manufacturers. Drawing on their race-proven Formula One technologies, the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A car tyre is designed for high-performance coupés, sport saloons and sports cars. It is the standard factory-gate tyre on the Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG, for example. A version of the same tyre, the Potenza RE050A Scuderia, is even fitted to the Enzo Ferrari supercar.
RE050A is a summer tyre developed to provide excellent traction, firm control and responsive handling in all road conditions and is clearly aimed at drivers who love to drive for the fun of driving.
It's not surprising if a tyre designed with fun in mind makes a few compromises with everyday practicalities. The RE050A is not well suited to freezing temperatures and doesn't handle very well in snow or icy cold conditions. Wear resistance is certainly not the best available, and motorists more accustomed to crawling along in the daily commute are inclined to find it on the "uncomfortable" side.
In its sporty element, however, its market-leading high-speed handling and superb dry braking performance are what matters most. It has a lot to do with the style of driving you expect to get out of them.
The Potenza RE050A uses an asymmetric tread pattern featuring a continuous centre rib and large tread blocks. Twin steel belts reinforced with spiral-wrapped nylon bolster the shoulders to guarantee high-speed stability, exemplary handling and superb traction on dry roads.
A combination of wide circumferential and lateral grooves expel water from beneath the crown of the tyre, avoiding aquaplaning and keeping maximum rubber in contact with the road for wet braking performance. Variable tread block sizes are used to diminish road noise (again, they achieve this best at higher speeds). Long-link carbon incorporated into the material of the tyre resists cracking and tearing, and a raised rubber ridge protects the rims from collisions with curbs.
Official EU ratings for the different rim sizes prescribe speed ratings ranging from V to Y (a V rating sets a maximum speed of 149mph, a Y rating one of 186mph), fuel economy of E-F, braking distances in the wet between A and C, and a noise level around 71dB (actually ranging from 69 to 72dB for different rims).
The Potenza RE050A is also available in a run-flat variant for some rim sizes. The RE050A was introduced as a replacement for and improvement on the RE040.
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