Disclaimer – Vredestein sent me these Vredestein Hypertrac tires to test on my 2008 BMW 128i autocross/track car. Due to it doing things that old German cars often do (such as break), I had to test them on the Quarter Million Mile BMW E90.
Daily-driving the same vehicle that you do any sort of high performance driving or competition with is inevitably a compromise. You might not like to admit it, but your passenger who just spilled their drink down their face because of a bump in the road would argue otherwise. So would the child covering their ears because your track pads let out a deafening screech as you stopped to let them cross the street. Yes, both of those things have actually happened to me. But while suspension and brakes can’t realistically be swapped out every time you go to the track, tires are something that can.
Tires Make All the Difference
Everybody is always preaching that your tires are the only thing that connects you to the road and they’re obviously right! Except what most people don’t realize is just how big of a role they play in your driving experience. When you are able to feel major differences back-to-back, their role immediately becomes apparent. Tires have the ability to improve or ruin things like ride quality, steering response, and road noise with differences that can be drastic.
So while any given tire can be made to do one thing very well, it is inevitably compromised in other ways. Not unlike your (or my) dual-duty track car as a whole! In the case of nearly every street-legal track tire, the compromise is always noise and ride comfort. The solution for most enthusiasts is to have a dedicated set of track tires that they put on before a track day and then have a set of streetable all-season tires for the rest of the time.
I very much needed a set of good all-seasons to make my E82 BMW 128i livable on a daily basis. Vredestein Tires set me up to try a set of their Vredestein Hypertrac All-Season tires for the times the 128i isn’t at the track. I mounted those tires to slightly undersized wheels for some extra sidewall and ride comfort.
Who is Vredestein?
Vredestein is a European tire company from the Netherlands who has been in business for over 100 years, making them one of the oldest tire manufacturers in existence. That means they’ve spent the last century successfully slicing through the European market. But after all that time in Europe, Vredestein is only now producing tires exclusively for the North American market. That is good news for us enthusiasts, because Vredestein has been supporting high performance driving via motorsports events like rallies since the 1950s.
The Vredestein Hypertrac High Performance all-season tire that I was provided is one of their series of tires designed specifically for North America. Interestingly, I believe that becomes immediately apparent in both the driving dynamics and outright looks.
Vredestein Hypertrac Design
Something I’ve never really thought twice about is how the sidewalls of tires look, but Vredestein has made sure I (and everybody else) will pay attention. The sidewalls on the Vredestein Hypertrac are designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the design genius behind iconic cars like the BMW M1, the Lancia Delta, Volkswagen Golf, DMC DeLorean and countless others. The Giugiaro-designed sidewalls are a next-level touch that I hope starts a trend in the tire world. They’ve managed to create something unique and interesting without making it distracting.
Beyond the visual design of the tire, it’s worth mentioning the specs of the Hypertrac all-season. The Vredestein Hypertrac is dubbed an Ultra-High Performance (UHP) all-season tire with a 500 treadwear rating. It’s available in 38 sizes, to fit wheels sized 16 to 20 inches in diameter. I was sent a set sized 225/50-16 for my slightly-undersized-for-the-car 16-inch wheels.
Vredestein Hypertrac Performance
The main reason I asked to work with these Hypertracs was to improve the ride on my BMW 128i, a car built for autocross and track days that I drive to and from events. Performance tires have incredibly stiff sidewalls that are harsh over any pavement imperfections, and it’s easy for a manufacturer to go the opposite direction and make a sidewall so soft that it ruins the accuracy of the steering all-together. Vredestein has struck a perfect balance between those two extremes. Even with the added sidewall of my test tires the steering stayed responsive and accurate. The weight of the steering got considerably lighter, but no road feel has been lost.
Meanwhile, ride comfort and noise levels are where it’s clear the Hypertracs were designed for the North American market. In the United States, we drive long distances at highway speeds more often than most European countries. There’s no other word for the Hypertracs at highway speeds other than smooooth. Pavement imperfections you don’t want to feel or hear are quietly filtered out. There is no tread noise over specific pavement types, and most important on my personal commute, the ride over expansion joints on bridges is superb! My track tires rattle my teeth and interior to pieces over the seemingly smallest expansion joints. The same road on the Vredestein Hypertrac was shockingly quiet and not even something I would consider jarring.
Ultimate grip is not what these tires are about, but it’s worth mentioning they still grip incredibly well for their category of tire. More importantly, they are predictable at the limit, even with the thicker sidewalls on my tires specifically. Larger sidewalls usually make things feel a little spongy as you near the limits of grip, but the Hypertracs were stable even during mid-corner bumps.
While I have not been able to test these tires in the type of snowy conditions they’ve been rated for, I have been able to drive them in the rain. Rainy conditions are when predictability and feedback of a tire are the most important, and both of those things are just as strong in the wet as they are in the dry on the Hypertracs.
Wet performance and/or cold conditions are the reason a second set of tires should be necessary for myself and anybody else with a dual-duty car. Summer tires are appropriately named because they are not designed to be used in conditions below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While I have driven on my summer tires in sub-50 temps to get somewhere in a pinch, it’s not safe for yourself or the tires. Many tires rated at 200 treadwear or below lose their ability to warm up and cool down as designed once they’ve been exposed to temperatures below freezing. For the safety of everybody on the road as well as next season’s lap times, it’s usually best to bring your leftover summer tires inside for the winter.
Buy the Best Tire for Your Budget
As with anything else that goes between your body and the ground, it’s important to get the most tire you can afford. And when talking about driving, tires are indeed the only thing connecting you to the pavement. Having the best tire for your needs ensures you aren’t just optimizing lap times, but also your overall experience behind the wheel. The Vredestein Hypertrac is priced right in line with the competition – prices range from $132 to $211 per tire – and performance proves they’re a fantastic option to consider when you’re shopping for your next set of street tires.