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Pirelli Scorpion Winter Tires & Audi quattro: Winter Blues No Longer

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Let’s face it, I’m not an All-Season tire guy. I like the best of the best. For that reason Automotive Rhythms swaps out summer and winter rubber twice a year to provide us with the greatest traction for each driving condition. With that in mind we went with Pirelli’s performance SUV winter tire on our long-term Audi Q7 since we reside in a snowbelt region of Maryland. The Ibis White Q7 TDI quattro Tiptronic featuring the S line plus package, the Prestige package and the $2,600 adaptive air suspension, with a base price of $51,450, totaled out at $70,625. With 21” S line alloy rims, the appropriate tire specs for this set-up were a pair of 295/35R21XL, 107V, EcoImpact tires which retail on www.TireRack.com for $345 each.

The winter of 2015 has been very challenging from Florida up to Boston. In fact, it was 30 degrees in Charlotte, NC this past weekend. It’s as if Jack Frost and Frozen’s “Snow Queen” Elsa collaborated to bring the East Coast one of its harshest seasons yet. Though, more frequent snowfalls and record low temperatures certainly justified our choice of tires for the wintry season. Specifically, today the whiteout said hello a few hours early creating havoc and a cold, frigid mess on the roads. We witnessed pickups getting stuck on hills, SUVs spinning out, FWDs sliding backwards, RWDs at full throttle and going nowhere and a boatload of sports cars ice drifting like they belong. Yet, we didn’t have that problem as our Q7 quattro wearing Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires cut into the worst of old man winter like Nike football cleats through Green Bay’s frozen tundra. The Q7 blew through it all with no qualms whatsoever. Frosty, as the ladies on the staff call her, easily scooted up snowcapped hills, first through unplowed 6-10″ dry snow and then through slush and around slippery slopes. We also didn’t have problems with extended brake distances. Simply braking with a light foot and a few car lengths prior kept us out of harm’s way. Of course exercising intelligence and driving with patience and awareness plays a key factor, but your mind is surely brought to peace when the task at hand is eased by the appropriate technology.

Audi-Q7-quattro-Pirelli-Scorpion-Winter-TiresNow, I’ve tested countless rides in my 20-year career with various tires and the winter Scorpions are one of the greatest at what they do in such conditions. Similar to summer tires which provide elevated performance and better handling in the rain, on dry roads and stick like glue to the asphalt in mid April though November, winter rubber is optimized when temperatures drop below 32 degrees and carved with tread patterns that push out snow and slush. Comparing winter tires in 10-degree weather to All-Seasons (do everything ok, but a master of none) is likening James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix to any other guitarist. Most people take the cheap and convenient route with tires when they should look at the best rubber for their circumstances. And winter tires are actually reasonably priced. You don’t wear Converse sneakers and jeans to a prom do you? No. More education is certainly needed on why tires are the most important component to your ride. Think about it, it’s the only contact patch between the road and the vehicle. Wouldn’t you want the best in the business? Yes, AWD and traction control systems manipulate or reduce your vehicle’s acceleration, torque administration, cornering and braking capabilities, but it’s the tires providing the necessary traction.

Audi-Q7-quattro-Pirelli-Scorpion-Winter-Tires-RearAudi has always been that out-of-the-box performance and luxury automaker from Germany. Their road to customer satisfaction is expressed from dominance in the fields of engineering, design and telematics. Aficionados know exactly what to expect when the German purveyor of finely tuned, opulent vehicles announces another hit. Whether the ride is for mom or dad the Q7 SUV is breathtaking with every increasing mile. To begin, you are assured added safety and performance measures by way of Audi’s patented quattro permanent AWD system with its 40/60 torque split. Quattro is confident in both increment weather and helps track dynamically on and off road. It is phenomenal how savvy Audi’s AWD technology administers grip from the Pirelli performance winter rubber. The two go together like snowboards on slopes in Vail, Colorado.

Specifically, the Scorpion tread design and compounds are designed to master cold, snow and some ice. The tread rubber compound is engineered with a newfangled polymer blend and added silica to augment grip. More technology includes:

  • Directional and symmetric tread pattern design with modular block geometry and sipe layout
  • Circumferential grooves
  • Stable shoulders to enhance dry road handling
  • A 5-rib tread design
  • New mould profile

Driving in the snow never felt better and as fun. Usually this scenario is viewed more as a task than excitement. For detailed information and sizing charts for Pirelli winter tires visit www.Pirelli.com or www.TireRack.com. Be safe out there and drive smart!

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