One thing about owning a modified S4 with a LSD is that you go through tires pretty quickly – the good news is that gives me plenty of opportunities to try new tires out, the bad news is that I end up spending a lot of money on tires. Since my last set was a super cheap set (~$100/tire) of Nankang Noble Sports, I wanted to try something “high-end” next to see what the extra money got you. I purchased a set of Hankook Ventus R-S3 tires in 235/35/19 size which ran about $250/tire, about 2.5X what my last set cost. Was it worth it? Read on to find out…
Daily Driving Impressions
I was worried about these tires, as they’re pretty much as close as you can get to a R-compound / race tire but still be street oriented. Many track tires are very loud and noisy, but thankfully these tires are very quiet and pleasant for daily driving. Now that they’re almost completely worn out (3/32s of tread) they’re a little more noisy, although that’s pretty common as tires wear out and honestly still not that bad, much cheaper than the rubbish Falken FK452s I’ve had in the past. The ride is fairly smooth too, and I was seriously impressed with how good these tires were for daily driver/street duties even though the tire is really meant for high performance driving. I didn’t take them through much snow or rain, but I do not think they’d do well in wet conditions, so keep that in mind depending on where you live. The tires need to warm up a little before they become grippy, so I would think in colder climates this could also be a challenge.
Track / Performance Driving Impressions
These tires were a hoot on the track. While not as grippy as R-compounds, they did incredibly well on the track and withstood a lot of abuse and maintained grip the whole day. It was a hot day at the track and I aired my tires out a little too much so the only downside is that I went through nearly 40% of the tire tread in one day, although we were running 30 minute sessions on a private track day and I probably had 6-7 sessions, so they had between 3-4 hours of track time which is quite a bit. Like noted earlier the tires can take some time to warm up before full grip is realized, but once they’re warmed up they hold very firm…even when trying to do donuts I have trouble breaking them loose if they’re already warm, so I typically try to showboat only when the tires are cold and I know they’ll give up easy.
Overall, they’re great tires for anyone who lives in sunny climates and wants a very high performance tire that can do daily driving + track/autocross use. The main drawbacks are twofold; high price, and short lifespan. I have had these tires for less than a year and they’re due for replacement, which kind of sucks. If you are torn between getting dedicated track tires/wheels with R compounds, or finding a tire that can handle both well, then these are a great choice, just be prepared to go through tires a lot quicker than most daily drivers would, since these tires are pretty soft.
Overall, I’d recommend these but probably won’t be buying them again due to the high price, and instead opt to get separate track tires/wheels for the track and get something more durable for daily driver duties.