Tested: What Are the Best Winter Tires?


It’s winter time and for some drivers, that means swapping out their tires for ones that perform in the ice and snow.

This year, Tire Rack took a 2014 BMW 328i sedan and put it to the test using two different winter tires: Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Continental WinterContact SI. Both are Studless Ice & Snow winter tires with the Continental WinterContact SI replacing the ExtremeWinterContact tire. Sporting a new winter tread compound blended to remain pliable at cold temperatures to help improve traction, the Continental WinterContact SI has an aggressive directional tread with biting edges and zigzag sipes to aid grip in slippery road conditions.

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is the current leader in the company’s consumer survey ratings and reviews as well as being the top finisher in the most recent test.

SEE ALSO: Winter Tire Buyer’s Guide

To evaluate each tire, Tire Rack went to the local hockey rink, where the smooth ice replicates the packed snow and polished ice that is encountered during winter months. For measurements, the company observed the time needed to accelerate the final 60′ to the center ice line as well as the braking distance to stop from 12 mph.

Both tires delivered very good performance with identical stopping distances of 28.4 feet. The Bridgestone helped the BMW accelerate marginally quicker, 4.255 seconds versus 4.276 seconds, and for this reason, they win the comparison.

Further testing on both products will be conducted when temperatures get colder than 40-degress Fahrenheit at Tire Rack’s Indiana headquarters. A more comprehensive test with a full gamut of snow testing will be done in Northern Sweden further into the winter season.