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Bridgestone has unleashed its flagship, the Potenza S007A, which will replace the outgoing S001 in the flagship Potenza range.

14 Sep 2018

007. The number synonymous to a certain British spy - we wouldn't fault you for getting reminded of James Bond when the Bridgestone Potenza S007A is mentioned.

The S007A is suited for premium performance cars, like the Volkswagen Golf GTI
In fact, the relationship with these tyres is apparent with Aston Martin, Bond's car of choice. The definitive British sports carmaker has the S007 in factory specification for the current DB11.

S007, without the 'A', is meant to be original equipment for manufacturers like Ferrari or Aston Martin, and the S007A's target audience is premium performance cars. The S007A replaces the S001 as the brand's flagship ultra-performance tyre offering under its Potenza range.

The S007A offers various improvements in areas of performance, grip, wet weather, as well as tyre longevity over its predecessor.

To test these improvements, Bridgestone arranged a track day at Sepang for us to push its latest tyres through a series of set courses.

The braking exercise turned out to be a wet one, but the S007A still inspired confidence
Stopping on a dime

Starting off with a braking exercise, we were given two Volkswagen Golf GTIs, one of which equipped with the S001, and the other, the S007A.

Mind you, Sepang was pretty much soaked in water, as it rained throughout most of the event. Consider it a wet weather braking exercise then - something that the S007A has improvements over the S001.

Under hard braking from 80km/h, stopping distances were short for both tyres, but the S007A had better steering feel. Due to this, the S007A gave us the confidence we needed if avoidance whilst braking was required. Due to improved chamfering in the S007A, it allowed the tyres to maintain increased contact area under braking without deformation.

During the quick lane change exercise, the S007A immediately shows improvements over its predecessor. The S001, through quick lane changes, felt a little 'loose' in steering feel - perhaps due to the sidewall flex, but the S007A felt sharp and direct. 

The S007A did not have an issue bringing the 530e around tight slaloms and high-speed corners
Flexin' rubber

The S007A has a Kevlar flipper + Hybrid spiral incorporated to its sidewall, which increases sidewall stiffness. This usually means more steering response and feedback, ideal for the performance-oriented driver.

Starting off with some high-speed corners, we were given two units of the BMW 530e iPerformance, again with the S001 and S007A each.

Through corners at about 110km/h, steering feel with the S007A is noticeably improved over the S001, and there was no hint of understeer at the same limit compared to the S001.

The wet slalom was a good exercise, which sets it in stone for us about the S007A. Between 40-50km/h, the S007A kept its cool and negotiated the tight slalom course well, bringing the large executive sedan around without a fuss. The S001 on the other hand, started to understeer and ran wide after two to three quick successions through the slalom.

Pushing the S007A a little further through the night proved it to be a good all-rounder
A 'leisurely' drive at night to think about it

With the day's activities done, Bridgestone brought the same cars out at night for us to have a go on the south section of Sepang.

Newly fitted with bright flood lights, Sepang at night is truly a unique experience - with the added benefits of the hot sun not bearing down on us and the cars. With a dryer track on hand, the S007A comes to life.

With an instructor pushing us on, the S007A was predictable through corners. In fact, it was forgiving, as small steering adjustments mid corner did not upset the car.

On another note, wheel hop - something prevalent in front-wheel drive hot hatches and especially the Golf GTI - was reduced further with the S007A, and there was little to none of those agonising 'banging' sensations through the drivetrain as the wheels try to gain traction under full throttle.

The improvements over the S001 are good, but what is surprising is how similar the S007A is in normal driving conditions. Having a stiffer sidewall is great, but it usually translates to harsher ride quality. But the S007A's ride quality didn't seem less impressive than that of the S001, which had a good balance of comfort and performance.

If you found the S001 pretty good, the S007A then is a good upgrade. Well, it is what James Bond would pick.
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