It has been nearly a year since Apollo tyres introduced the high performance designer tyre brand from Netherlands, Vredestein, into the Indian market. The highlight of these tyres lies is that tread designing has been done by that famous Giugiaro design studio, to add a touch of appeal and class to a product that does not get much attention in terms of styling. We get a day on Buddh International Circuit to test the performance of these imported performance tyres.
Mainly focusing on the tyre sizes of luxury cars, SUVs and sports cars, Vredestein sizes range from 15 inch rims to 20 inch rims. Four types of tyres are offered in India by Vredestein, depending upon the different segments of cars they cater to. The Ultrac Sessanta and SUV Sessanta are the ones carrying Giugiaro design lines the most in their construction.
Ultrac Cento range is part of the efficient and mileage (not fuel efficiency) running tyres which fit in daily running luxury saloons. Then is the Sportrac 5 which is a sport tyre for saloons and performance hatchbacks, with enhanced water removal and better sport stability. We got to test the Ultrac Sessanta, Sportrac 5 and the Ultrac Cento slapped onto Audi cars.
Slalom and wet grip
The cars on test were Audi A3, A4 and A6 equipped with the three different tyre sets on test here. A quick slalom proved the enhanced grip of the Sessanta’s on a partial tarmac and concrete surface.
The heavy A6 with Sportrac’s was able to grip a bit more confidently on tight turns around the test circuit set up by Apollo. All three tyres had excellent grip when full brakes were applied on a very damp surface. Particularly the Ultrac Sessanta won us over with great grip and their stunning visual appeal.
And these are all everyday use cars which are running slaloms here comfortably. What worries us is the expected shorter lifespan of the Sessantas attributed to their soft compound rubber. The Ultrac and the Cento look more suited to our conditions, so if extreme performance is not your priority, then go for these two.
This is where the Ultrac Sessantas smile bright. The vehicles to test these tyres were Audi S4, S6 and TT. The super sticky rubber and the Quattro system make it a no-nonsense track focused combination for serious lap times.
We wondered whether the designer tread pattern would hamper the performance of the tyres, but these Vredestein perform excellently. The slight safe under steer behaviour of Audi, especially on the TT, was slightly reduced because of the grip provided from the tyres.
The launch of performance cars also gets benefitted as the power from the engine is quickly converted into speed rather than wheel spin. The Ultrac Sessanta can handle speeds till 300kmph and hence become a preferred choice for high performance cars.
The market for these high performance tyres is fairly small in India, just about 5 per cent, and the pricing is a bit on the higher side. But then you have to shell out more for absolute performance, and also because they are imported directly from Netherlands. The Ultrac Cento range is priced between Rs 10,500 to Rs 14,100 and the Ultrac Sessanta will set you back from about Rs 14,100 to Rs 24,300. Apollo’s offering is expensive, but very intriguing.