Wheels & Tires

Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 Review

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I’ve owned a number of high end tires in the past including Michelin Pilot Sport PS2, Michelin Super Sports, Hankook RS-3s, Bridgestone Potenza, and some others I’m probably forgetting, so I was skeptical to try my first “cheap” tire. At about half the cost of Falken, these Nankang Noble Sport NS-20s were only about $110 per tire shipped in 235/35/19 sizing on Amazon, and sometimes even cheaper on eBay through wholesalers, which was pretty much the cheapest tire I could find in this size by a substantial margin, with the name brand tires like Falken and Continental starting around $180/tire for the same size. There weren’t a ton of reviews out there, but I figured how bad could it be? Turns out they’re not bad at all, dare I say even impressive at points…

Daily Driving Impressions:

The Nankang NS-20 carries a 240 UTQG treadwear rating, and while these numbers aren’t super scientific, that seemed about right – it’s a summer tire that does well in performance driving, but it’s not super aggressive either. The road noise is minimal, the ride is comfortable, and for daily driver purposes, the tire does a VERY good job, much better than my previous Falken FK452s as well as my Hankook RS-3s in terms of comfort. They come new with plenty of tread on them and the tread seemed to last long, so there would be no concerns on that regard too.

Performance Driving Impressions:

Generally, a tire that is good at daily driving sucks at performance driving, and vice versa, so after several weeks of great experiences around town, I took my car for a spirited 200 mile drive to the Palomar Observatory carving up some canyon roads with my friend expecting to be disappointed. It was a hot day and a long, windy road, and the tires impressed me again. They squealed here and there, but for the most part held their grip, experienced little fade, and my understeer was minimal and predictable. Even with traction control off and my LSD engaged, I rarely had my back tires break out, even if I tried. They did really well, and I was shocked…the tires carry a Z speed rating and 91 load index rating, so in theory it’s capable of speeds of 150mph without cause for concern, although I didn’t test that claim myself.

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Pros & Cons:

While I only kept these tires for a short time before selling them with my BBS CHs, I’ll definitely buy another pair when my Hankooks wear out on my other set of wheels. The only downside I found from them was that they weren’t name brand, so those who are trying to win shows or impress their buddies aren’t likely to succeed at that – but if you’re looking for a an all-purpose performance-oriented tire that is great for daily driving, then this is a value that will be hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Low Price – cheapest tire in my size
  • Quiet, Smooth Ride
  • Performs well, even when pushed
  • Good treadwear & lifespan
  • Z speed rating
  • Directional tread, better for performance

Cons:

  • Off-brand tire
  • Load rating of 91, ideally should be higher for this car (most tires in this size have the same problem however)
  • Directional tread, so can’t be rotated
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Nick Roshon

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

20 Comments

  1. Hey Nick, Bought these for my OEM S5 Peelers (255/55/19) do you think I will have a problem stretching? The tire is 235/35/19. Thanks

  2. I think you should be fine there, you’re not stretching much. Let me know if your tire installer disagrees though, they’re the final say, but that’s not really an aggressive stretch so I’d think it shouldn’t be an issue.

  3. I was thinking the same exact thing. Do you think my car will look like a monster truck with 19′ and stock non-sport suspension?

  4. Suspension is coming this winter I just want to run them before the joys of Iowa winters come. I guess I will see how they look. I suggest your blog to all B7 guys if they don’t know about it already. Thanks for all the DIYS, you definitely have helped me 🙂

  5. Did you ever get to run these tires through some water/rain? I hear generally bad things about Nankangs in reviews from 2011 and earlier with regard to wet handling. But when reading reviews about NS-20 circa 2014 and later they parrot your review – along with high notes for wet handling.

    Just curious is you had any negative experience in the wet.

  6. To be honest, living in Southern California in the midst of a severe drought, I really didn’t get a chance to test them much in the rain. I think it might have rained once or twice and I don’t recall any negative experiences, but our rain tends to be pretty light and absorbed by the ground pretty quickly.

  7. Great write up Nick. SD Tire and Wheel recommended the NS-20 for my Infiniti Q50. I’m getting 255/25/20’s so we’ll see if I have the same results as you did. See ya around SD!

  8. Thanks for the test and write-up…awaiting arrival to run on a A6. Have you had to replace the glass lens on your fogs before? Can the lens (glass) be replaced without the whole housing?

  9. Put a set on the rear of my 330i. The tires exhibit bad tramlining on SoCal freeways. High speed sweepers are almost dangerous. Stock camber setting is at -2 deg, so I am giving them two weeks to “break in”. Buyer beware.

  10. I would check to see if they’re over inflated or something too, I never experienced that issue on mine but we’ll see if others chime in here or not.

  11. Nearing 500 miles and the tires have settled in a lot. They are still squirrely on I-5, but are fine everywhere else. I have had the pressure at 35, 50, and have settled at my normal 40. The pressure did not seem to matter.

  12. My 2009 VW Passat Komfort came with Yokohama AVID Ascend 235 /45 R17 97V XL BSW cost $152 each they were very load, wore BADLY (after 20,000 miles) but handled well fair or foul weather. I finally replaced them with the Nankang Noble NS-20s for $71 each with lifetime road hazard protection and super fast free shipping ($284 Total) ONLINE from James Drank (800) 589-6789 Ext.51866 Discount Tires Direct. I had them mounted and I could not believe how quiet and how well they handled. THESE ARE FANTASTIC TIRES!!!!!! I am pleased.

  13. I’ve read many mixed reviews and was apprehensive about these tires until I read your blog. Actually, I recognize Nankang from a fabulous vacation in Taiwan, Republic of China, where these tires are made. Got a set for my 2016 740i G11, staggered M wheels 245/40-20 front and 275/35-20 rear. Nankang NS-20 is one of the few with sizes available to nearly all of the performance vehicles at unbelievable prices; I think that’s the NS line’s niche. They are quieter and far more comfortable than the OE run-flat Bridgestone Potenza. I didn’t notice any tram-lining and I’ve traveled up and down FWY 5, 60, 710…everywhere around LA and beyond. I got these tires after the rain season that ended the drought, so I haven’t had a chance to drive them on wet surface yet. To my surprise the softer Nankang tires have near equivalent dry grip as Potenza, but the cornering isn’t as precise (these tires do stick), but little more corrections are necessary sometimes. The only complaint is at speed over 100mph, these tires become a little floaty and slightly louder compare to the OE Potenza. This could be an issue as most modern performance vehicles accelerate beyond that speed un-noticeably.

    I find the complaints about excess road noise and traction problems untrue. Nankang NS-20 tires render one of the quietest, comfortable, and stable rides under 100mph. Overall, I’m very satisfied with Nankang NS-20’s transcended comfort and how it “tires” my spirited driving on this over 4,000lbs full size sedan.

    This offbrand actually looks better than the original. The rear set has a little angle that makes it look like it’s stretched. I don’t know how to upload photos on this reply.

  14. Update: I’ve to get another set even though I’ve only 5,000 miles left on my lease. New set of tires in every 10,000 miles is normal for staggered wheels, because most performance tires are directional thus rotation is impossible. G11 isn’t a vehicle I’d own out of warranty, so I’ve been driving it hard before the lease is over. The observed tread life is the same as OE Bridgestone Potenza at around 12,000 miles. I’ve gone through a few heavy rains without any notable slip, hydroplane, or control issues. I’ll be installing the NS-25, Nankang’s latest version of the NS-20. I doubt, but will update if the new NS-25 rolls any differently.

    These Nankang NS20s have convinced me to put a set on my 2013 MDX (YD2). It still had the OE tires, because the odometer’s only 23,000 miles; I hardly drive it. Unfortunately, I’ve to settle for Nankang’s SP-9 due to availability of size and inventory of the local installer. As usual, Nankang is far more comfortable and smoother than the OE Michelin Latitude HP because it’s softer. However, I’m not so sure about the softer sidewall this time, because the vehicle stands a lot higher. That and the SP-9 doesn’t seem to be as good of a performer as the NS-20 make me feel like I’ve made a mistake. I’ve observed slightly more body roll and squeal during hard cornering. The AWD traction control’s slowing the vehicle down more than the OE Michelin on corners I’d cut through with speed and confidence. Again, SP-9 is smoother, far more comfortable, and quieter than the OE Michelin, but the performance does not seem to measure up so far. I just got these tires so I don’t want to jump into conclusion just yet. I’ll break them in and see how they roll. I can tell right now the SP-9’s very stable and comfortable for daily driving. However, what I really need is a solid performer to push and unleash this vehicle’s torque vectoring AWD on dry, wet, and snow. I need a true SUV version of NS-20.

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