The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport; just reading the reviews makes one want to purchase them. Whether it’s a fair and balanced test such as those on Tirerack or the weirdly compiled mish-mash of UHP, Max, and Extreme Performance Summer tires that Car and Driver did a while back, it’s all enough to make you click “Add to Basket.”
So I did. Twice.
My first go was a set of 245/45R17 tires for my RX8. I like to think I have a very good grasp of what different tires can do, and that I can discern minor details of each tire I purchase. The tire history is as follows for this car:
- 225/45R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE040 (original equipment)
- 225/45R18 Dunlop Direzza DZ101
- 245/40R18 Dunlop Direzza Z1 (non-star spec)
- 225/45R18 Goodyear Eagle GT
- 245/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport (the subject of this review)
- Front: 275/40R17, Rear: 285/40R17 Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval (how the car sits now)
Wow, writing out that list really makes me depressed in regards to how much I’ve spent on tires in the last two years. Yay for aggressive driving (and selling off wheels/tires because I’m bored of them) I guess.
When I purchased the tires I had already read the two previously mentioned reviews and knew what I wanted to get. In those reviews they mentioned the tires had “good road manners” and respectable dry and wet performance. I’m here to explain how they stack up to my previous tires, some of which many of you may have driven on with your vehicle.
I’ll start with the first thing I noticed: the ride. My previous two sets of tires were extremely noisy. The Goodyears probably more so than the Z1s, surprisingly. Both of those tires are in different categories (the Goodyears being an Ultra High Performance All-Season and the Z1 being an Extreme Performance Summer/track oriented tire) but this aspect is apples-to-apples; anyone can appreciate good ride quality, and the Potenza RE760 Sport delivered. I immediately noticed that the tread noise was appreciably subdued compared to the loud and, frankly, more aggressively-designed tread of the Eagle GTs. They were also quieter than the Firestones I have now (which are, in turn, quieter than the Eagle GTs and Z1s). I also noticed that the impact harshness was noticeable less. This is not apples-to-apples because I went from a lower-profile 18” tire to a higher-profile 17” tire, but my perception is that the reduction in impact harshness was not proportionate to this change in profile (i.e. a same-sized GT or Z1 would probably ride more harshly). The only tire that comes close to the RE760 Sport that I’ve driven on would be the Direzza DZ101 in terms of ride quality. This tire is the reason why I think the improved ride quality is not proportionate to the increased sidewall height. My recollection is that the DZ101 rode similarly if not just slightly harsher than the RE760. Overall, of the performance tires I’ve driven on, the RE760 Sport, to me, provides the best ride quality.
However, most value handling performance over ride quality, and in this measure the RE760 Sport does not disappoint. In my opinion from driving these tires fairly aggressively, its performance belies its category. I feel it handles very similarly to the Direzza Z1, though in the interest of full disclosure I did have the non-star spec model which don’t have great performance when not fully warmed up, and I never tracked the car so I may have not actually experienced the full potential of the tires. The RE760 Sport provided great initial turn-in response, and excellent mid-corner correction response.
Wet traction was never an issue for me, as I never drove them in the rain, but from the reviews it should have been above average but not class leading. My only complaint was straight-line traction. I went to Sacramento Raceway and did 14 runs at the drag strip. Traction was an issue at launch, and between all shifts (1-2, 2-3, and 3-4). This may have been due to the semi-aggressive camber I was running in the rear (-2.0 degrees) but my 60’ times were worse than my runs at Infineon with the Eagle GTs (off by about .2-.4s on any given run) though the significantly lighter 17″ wheel and tire setup dropped my quarter mile times by .12s on my best run. Straight-line performance is not a strong point of many UHP tires and, thus, should probably not deter anyone from purchasing.
As for my second go; I recently finished building a budget “hellaflush” 2003 Mazda Protégé5 as a daily-driver/beater. By budget I mean I bought the car for $800 and put about a grand in parts and modifications getting it running and properly fitted and stanced. I got the car with some old General Exclaim tires (not the newer UHP model, the older all-season model) sized 205/50R16. They were noisy, producing almost as much road noise as my Wide Ovals do on my RX8. I picked up a set of 17×8 +38 stock Evo IX wheels from my best friend in return for doing his front and rear brakes (good deal, though it took a few hours) and put a set of 205/45R17 RE760 Sports on them. Upon fitting them on the car I immediately noticed that the ride retained about the same harshness (maybe very slightly less harsh), but the road noise had been reduced somewhat. This is mildly astonishing as the tire was lower-profile and the tire pressure I was running was increased from 30psi to 36psi (higher pressure necessary due to running a stretch-fit tire/wheel combination). Handling, predictably, was greatly improved over the Generals. Overall, a huge improvement in my book.
This second experience cemented my belief that this tire belongs at the top of the shopping list for any car enthusiast or, really, anyone interested in extracting great handling out of his/her car without sacrificing ride-quality. Hopefully you’ll agree by selecting “Proceed to Checkout” immediately after clicking “Add to Basket.”