A few would tell me new tyres on the 9-3 have been a long time coming, too long, in fact I might have got into trouble if I hadn’t changed them!
The 9-3 Aero has been in need of new tyres pretty much since I purchased it 2 years ago, not that they were illegal, more the combination of Summer and Winter tyres and varying degrees of wear.
Concentrating more on the fun things – 2.3 block, new turbo, exhaust, lowered suspension, springs (the list goes on), but obviously each and every upgrade puts more emphasis on the tyres to perform well, so it was time, new tyres.
This might be painful for some Saab folk to hear, but both my Lexus (sorry) and Porsche (sorry) run on Bridgestone, both perform amazingly well, so the Saab had to have Bridgestone too. After a bit of research, I found a wonderfully gorgeous type called the Potanza Adrenalin. Reviews gave them seriously high ratings with great grip in wet and dry conditions, a more connected drive, low road noise and excellent longevity.
A very reasonable £320 and a few hours later, the Saab is now proudly sitting on brand new rubber, and from a short drive, it already feels so, so much better. I’m looking forward to a proper, spirited drive home later to see how they really enhance the Saab.
‘Saab, because you’re worth it ‘.
Just over a year ago, I wrote about our choice of tyres for the SportCombi, Kuhmo Ecsta Sport KU39s. Since then, we’ve covered around 15,000 miles and don’t really have much to complain about, they’re provided excellent grip and reasonable longevity for the price, but…
We’ve been suffering from increasing noise levels from the rear of the SportCombi for a few months now. My initial thought was that the rear bearings needed to be changed, but on closer inspection, everything was good, so whilst it was having the front tyres replaced, we thought we’d swap them around to see if it made any difference, it did.
The noise had moved to the front, so surprisingly, the rear tyres also had to be replaced, they had 5mm of tread remaining, so I was a little annoyed, I’m giving the Kuhmos another chance, but if it happens again, it will most definitely be their last.
So, after a rather expensive visit to our local Saab Service Centre, the SportCombi has a set of new tyres again, and I can’t quite believe the difference, the noise i’d slowly got used to has gone, there is almost no road noise.
We’d also got used to having the Saab roof bars on permanently, so I’ve removed those as well and we now have a 165,000 mile SportCombi which is luxuriously quiet to drive again.
Take a powerful, front wheel drive Saab add a set of 8×18″ Hirsch alloys shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres, a whole lot of driving pleasure and I didn’t quite now how long the tyres would last.
I’ve driven 27,000 miles in my 9-3 and it seems the front tyres are about ready to be replaced. I must admit, I’m pretty impressed with Michelin’s longevity, for a car with a decent amount of power going through the front wheels, I was possibly expecting half that.
It’s hard to rate them against other brands, as these are all I’ve known on my 9-3, but needless to say, the English weather throws every imaginable extreme at you. Thick snow and sub zero temperatures one moment to 35 degrees the next, flash floods, horizontal rain and even the odd giant hail storm, the Michelins have performed faultlessly throughout them all.
Not once have I felt they’ve been pushed to their limit, and believe me, I’ve tried, rain and shine, roadholding has been exceptional and even at high (high) speeds, road noise has been superbly low.
I could try another brand – Pirelli, Continental and Hankook all have superb reviews, but I think I’ll stay loyal and head to Bond Street for a new set of Michelins and look forward to another 27,000 miles of inspiring Saab driving, thanks Michelin.