Couple weeks ago, I have done my first tire change on my Lotus Evora and I've installed WRG4 all-weather tires.
As I have Autocross/track wheels and tires set (Team Dynamic Pro 1.3 and RE71R that I bought from one of the members of Lotustalk), I kinda wanted to save some cash by having options that I could drive all year around. At first, I was just going to buy Winter Sottozero 3 tires and dedicated summer tires (595RS-RRs) but then the Tire-rack did not have them in stock any more and I did not feel like getting non-performance "real" winter tires because winter tires are bad at rain. This was actually the factor that kind of forced me to look for other options.... some people do not know this but winter tires are very bad at dealing with rain... however, I live in mid-west where there are a lot of rain during the winter seasons. (performance winter tires are bad at dealing with ice/snow compared to legitimate winter tires, but they have acceptable performance in rain, therefore, hence why I was looking at winter sottozeros.)
That being said, Nokian WRG4 seemed like a great option. Nokian WRG4 is, as far as I know, the only all-weather tire option for the Lotus Evora. (Base 18/19 inch setup) All-weather tires are similar to all-season tires but put more emphasis on winter/ice/snow driving than all-season tires. In fact, the WRG lineup of Nokian tires are developed by changing the compound of European spec performance winter-tires so that it can deal with the heat of summer, hence making it all-weather.
So how is it?
- Decent snow, ice and good cold weather capability.
As you guys might know, the winter tires are the safest option in the winter as they grip the ice really well. However, temperature is also another factor that impacts the grip. I had numerous 5 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 15 degrees Celsius) weather, and WRG4's grip was great. At the same time, ice and snow driving performance was not as good as regular winter tire options imo (I do have experience with snow tires on RWD cars BUT never driven with snow tires w Evora so keep that in mind.) However, car was able to grip everything well if I kept my driving civilized. (I had two snow days with this tire and I drove icey road just to check the tires out) I would drive my car with this tire when it's snowing... but at the same time I've driven my car with summer tires in the snow so.... take that with the grain of salt?(just kidding, it was a decent driving experience in the snow, I would drive with these tires in snow).
(I know.. I know... who is that stupid guy?... I was driving with bald Michelin PSS)
-Good ride quality and noise level
One thing I noticed with this tire is that ride quality and noise level is excellent.... probably because of soft-side wall... I think it is even comparable to some grand touring tires.
- Progressive loss of grip
This tire does not have a ton of grip in the warm weather, however, I felt that it still had a decent amount of grip and tire loses grip progressively so that drivers could compensate for that.
- Weak side wall?
I felt that tire was kind of soft overall. Rapid and high speed lane changes in the highway got more scarcely than before. Also, during high-speed corner, the car felt unbalanced in mid-corner not because it lost grip but because side-wall could not handle the weight.... but I'm comparing this to PSS and I think that's unfair for this tire. (So, I do have some track experience but I'm not expert so take this with grain of salt.)
- Kills the steering feel.
Obviously, comfortable and soft tires provide less steering feel to the driver. I think I still do get the feedback from the road, but it's not as good as before... this was disappointing... but at the same time, WRG4's reviews clearly point this out... so I knew it before I made a purchase.
- Not as good as winter tires on snow and ice.
I mentioned this above but I can't emphasis it more... I would say that this tire provides 80~90% of winter tire performance and for me that is enough... and personally, for most people I think this tire is capable enough to deal with the winter. However, I would definitely say that this tire does not provide full winter tire grip and that can greatly effect the safety and winter drivability.
Conclusion - I think WRG4 is an interesting choice of tire for Lotus Evora owners who want to drive Evora all year around. I personally would not recommend this unless you don't have 2nd tire/wheel set with dedicated summer tires. I think I am a niche among sportscar owners that this tire makes sense because the tires that I use for autocross are basically R-compound tires that have really bad mileage. If you have two sets of wheels like me, I think it makes more sense for you to get winter tire set and summer tire set.
I am going to the tail of the dragon with this tire on next week and I will report back on how it felt!