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The limits of traction

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This has been my second full winter with the Evora S and I thought it time to share some impressions. I use the Evora as my daily driver, meaning it has been getting some winter driving, though mostly the daily commute. We have had an on/off winter, repeatedly getting a thin and icy snow cover on the street.

 

So, I've had ample opportunity to get some driving on snow and ice with the Evora. In a few words, it has been an exprience. There are fun moments, when you have time and mood to enjoy going sideways from the moment you leave your garage to the moment you reach your destination. :unworthy:  But, there have also been enervating moments when it is 7 am and you have to do the daily commute sideways in traffic. :help: In any case keeping the Evora straight on snow seems almost impossible, so you will be an eyecatcher for everyone on the street anyway..

 

I have the Yokohama winter tires (215/40R18 front, 235/35R19 rear) and have not been impressed by them. The V-index means they are good for 240 Kph and do OK in the wet, but are obviously not tuned for actual snow or icy conditions. 

 

Normaly pushing the sport button is the first thing I do after starting the engine. However this does not seem to be a good idea on snow. The quicker gas response only has the wheels breaking traction with every heartthrob! And your pulse will go up quickly if you weren't expecting it. :huh:

 

On the other hand, I normaly leave the ESP on, but on snow its responses seem to become unpredictable. The Evora is anyway slipping and sliding on snow, but turning ESP off at least gives me some control. And it certainly makes driving on snow much more fun. If you're going to be sideways all the time you might as well enjoy it. :unworthy:

 

What I really don't like is that I've been shying away from long distance trips with the Evora in winter. In the summer the Evora outclasses all other cars on the road, giving you large safety margins in comparison to all other contenders in traffic. In the winter it seems every Prius is better suited to handle the conditions.

 

My previous cars were all Audi Quattros and I never worried about the weather underway. Never got stuck in snow and the Audi would just plow along safely at high speeds even laying new tracks in the heaviest snow. So, maybe I'll need a winter car next year.

 

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Throw away those crappy Yokos. I run Michelin Pilot Alpin 3 the second season in 225 front / 255 rear on OEM tires. No prob to keep the car straight, did 1,000km runs on wet streets and had even to pull a stunt on the Autobahn >200km/h when an idiot came from right lane to left at much lower speed without reason and without looking... car completely stable despite the evasive double lane change.

ESP working fine and very good. Sport mode is fun mode with drift angles but still safety net engaged. Never felt unsafe in the car and don't mind taking it out into the snow, even did holiday trips to the Alps.

Have the Michelin PA3 also on my Opel / Vauxhall Insignia 4x4 Turbo, the tire is fantastic, gives you awesome traction.

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I've been running Conti Winter tyres in std sizes and they are excellent - even 6inches of snow in January proved no problem for them. Had some funny looks and plenty of curtain twitching when I decided to 'test' them at the snows heaviest at 9 o'clock one night - think the neighbours were waiting to see me stranded and probably thought me nuts. :-)

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Sounds like I'll need different winter tires next year. Fortunately the Evora is a tire eater, so they will be due anyway.

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I've been very impressed with the OEM winter rubber. Much less of a compromise than the Goodyear Ultragrips I had on my Honda S2000 which were awesome in 4 inches of snow, but poor on dry and warmer wet roads.

Very reassuring in torrential rain, and still made the car fun on cold damp roads.

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Whatever winter tire, just make sure you go OEM 18/19 inch summer tire sizes. Got even a letter in addition to my COC that those sizes are fine (have forged diamond rims in the summer), and wouldn't want to go smaller that that.

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I stayed on the factory P-Zeros over the winter and ate them in less than 4000 miles. Very uneven wear, despite a recent geo and optimum pressures (if we're believing the TPMS). And when I say 'wear', I mean down to the canvass. I hope this was just the snow and ice, otherwise next set of tyres will have to be a different make/ model. Was shocked when I found this out today -sweaty palms on the drive home- and ordered another set to be put on tomorrow by eTyres (£460 all in).

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I didn't take my pride and joy out in the snow but it held things together well on the ice. I was at B&C last week though and Phil was telling me how when on the day the snow first fell the only car to make it down for a service was an Evora from Luton. Apparently 3 Saab's fell by the wayside. 

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As sports cars go the Evora is better than most others with 2WD, thanks to its mid-engined layout. A friend of mine has a Nissan 370 Z which is utterly useless, even with snow tyres. The same can be said of a number of BMWs, even the lighter ones.

 

I have found the Pirellis to be reasonably sticky on dry roads even in sub-zero temperatures - stickier than any other 'summer' tyre I have used in the winter.

 

A RWD car will go sideways when it loses traction, and that can scare other road users, especially when it is as wide as the Evora. But if it is mid-engined it usually keeps going. I can think of at least one occurrence when, in a (smaller) mid-engined car, I was able to climb a steep hill in the snow, sideways admittedly, when other front-wheel drive cars were stuck.

Edited by Anthony27

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Sorry to hear the reviews here about the Yokohamas. Having bought my car in October I bought a set of them and put them on in November. I have never had winter tyres on any car before (my other cars are Volvo XC90, Toyota Aygo and Yaris) and so I had no experience nor expectations. I have previously owned a BMW 120 which, at the first sign of ice or snow, was rendered virtually undriveable so decided to take no chances with this car, especially with my limited driving experience of such an awesome car . I have to say I have had such fun in the snow and at no point have I felt vulnerable. Indeed when going out one evening when the snow was forecast to be heavy I elected to leave the XC90 at home and take the Evora. One cold afternoon when the snow had been settled and packed for several days I took a little used and icey stretch of road on the school run and thought I'd give it a little test. From stationary I gunned it with no swerving or slipping then slammed on the brakes. The car stopped incredibly quickly and with no loss of control. I was impressed. I'm not going to try any summer style driving in the winter on the winter tyres but I sure as hell feel confident in them. If I still had the summer tyres on it would not have left the garage this year.

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I have found the factory suggested Yokos (18's &19's) fine over last 3 winters and certainly do what I need of them.  No complaints there and they have lasted well with even wear and no huge use although my winter mileages haven't been that huge granted. As I live at the top of a steep hill with an off camber hairpin in the middle it can sometimes be exciting going both ways and why we always have a 4x4 in family, but I'll take the Evora out when I'd never have used the Boxster S which only ever had Michelin standard tyres.

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