Bridgestone over trouble water

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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 ‘.

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Twin Turbo 200 bhp Saab vs Michelin Pilot Sports

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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.

The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

Another week, and another Saab story to share.

Driving back from the airport last weekend in the SportCombi, we had the unfortunate luck of suffering a blow out –  one of the rear Bridgestone tyres completely gave up the ghost. Luckily though, we had just pulled off the motorway, and my son and I were able to hop out and change the offending tyre for the spacesaver which carried us all safely home.

This morning, I arranged to have 2 new rear tyres fitted, but as it turned out, these weren’t my worst type problem. I regularly check the tyres on all three Saabs, I hadn’t done a thorough enough job on the SportCombi, as although the tread depth was still legal, the far inner (hidden) edges of both front tyres were literally close to exploding; the rubber had begun to pull away and reveal the inner thread, not good.

Two hours later, nearly four hundred pounds worse off, and the SportCombi is a happy, safe Saab again, it’s also had some tracking alterations to ensure the new front tyres don’t suffer the same fate again in the near future.

When things like this happen, it serves to remind me just how important taking care of tyres are. One of the reasons I love Saabs is their superior safety, however, they still depend on 4 simple cylinders of rubber to keep my family safe, and at speeds Saabs are happy at, you can never underestimate their importance.

So what rubber best suits a Saab? Although I worship the handling and refinement of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s on my 9-3 saloon, I’ve become increasingly impressed with the all round capabilities of Kumho’s.

I recently put a full set on the Carlsson alloys for the 900, and the Mercedes Coupe before that, and they’ve performed faultlessly; great handing in both wet and dry conditions, extremely quiet, and a very attractive tread pattern. Although not cheap, the Kumho’s do represent a saving over say the Michelins and seem to suit Saabs well, so the SportCombi now proudly sits on a set of Kumho ECSTA LE Sport KU39’s.

I’ll report on their longevity in a few thousand miles, but until then, the SportCombi’s looking good with its new rubber.