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- Very direct and responsive steering
- Excellent grip and braking on dry tarmac
- Safe ride in rainy conditions
- Easy to drive on snow-covered roads
- Quiet and comfortable for the performance it provides
- Exceptional treadwear warranty for the category
- Lower wet traction than its main premium competitors
Just four years ago, Bridgestone launched the RE980AS – an all-season ultra-high-performance tire that promised year-round traction and driving fun. But only three years later, the largest tiremaker in the world launched an improved version – the RE980AS+.
The RE980AS was already an excellent tire that competed for class honors, but the competition wasn’t standing still. Michelin has recently launched the outstanding Pilot Sport All Season 4, Continental refreshed its popular ExtremeContact DWS 06 with the “Plus” model, and Vredestein presented the excellent Hypertrac All Season. Bridgestone needed to react to the recent market movements, as it always wanted to compete for class honors, and thus the RE980AS+ was born.
Bridgestone’s latest UHP all-season tire isn’t all-new – the tread design is similar to the RE980AS, and the only difference is the new tread compounds. Nevertheless, the company promises improvements in ride comfort, snow performance, and tread wear, categories where the predecessor was slightly behind the curve.
But does the RE980AS+ deliver on its promises? And, more importantly, how does it compete with the Continental DWS 06 Plus and Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4? Let’s find out in my in-depth Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ review!
What are the features of the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+?
The Potenza RE980AS+ has an asymmetric tread pattern and Bridgestone’s latest and most advanced tread compound to provide a dependable year-round tire for drivers of hot hatches, sports cars, sporty coupes, and performance sedans.
The new compound is the most significant update of Bridgestone’s updated UHP all-season tire. The company utilized soybean oil to make the rubber more pliable and improve snow traction while improving the wear characteristics. Softer rubber usually wears faster, but Bridgestone’s R&D department seems to have found a way to improve both characteristics.
However, the asymmetric tread pattern remains the same as before, with lateral slots to improve handling and braking on dry roads. Meanwhile, four circumferential grooves and open shoulder slots channel water out of the tread and minimize hydroplaning. Finally, the 3D full-depth sipes and chamfered slots increase the biting edges when driving on snow over the tire’s lifetime.
Inside, the Potenza RE980AS+ comes with the usual twin steel belts reinforced by a spirally-wound nylon wrap. The tire also packs three polyester sidewall plies and two polyester plies under the thread to increase responsiveness without sacrificing ride comfort. But since this is a Potenza tire, Bridgestone also included a sidewall filler to increase stiffness, which is crucial at high cornering speeds.
Overall, the Potenza RE980AS+ seems like a feature-packed tire that includes all the latest technologies Bridgestone has available. But the question is – does that translate into a superior product compared to its rivals?
What are the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ maintenance indicators?
Bridgestone hasn’t developed unique and easy-to-read maintenance indicators and instead uses the industry standard wear bars in the tread grooves.
These indicators only show when the tire is at its minimum legal tread depth. Thus, they can’t precisely monitor how much tread is left throughout the tire’s lifetime. For instance, for proper snow traction, you’ll need at least a 5/32-inch tread depth left, and the wear bars are useless in that scenario.
Continental, on the other hand, cleverly uses the D, W, and S letters on its DWS 06 Plus tire. They are imprinted on the tread blocks, each with a different depth. When the letter S (snow) is not visible anymore, it means the tire won’t be able to provide safe snow traction, and it’s the same with W (wet) and D (dry).
Providing the driver with means to monitor the tread depth more easily is crucial for safety, and I implore big tiremakers to start including better indicators in their products.
What is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ warranty?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ has an exceptional 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes. However, you’ll get half mileage if the front and rear tires are different sizes, which is very common in rear-wheel-drive sports cars.
The RE980AS+ nearest competitors, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus and Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4, come with a 50,000-mile and a 45,000-mile warranty, respectively. Some cheaper models, like the Sumitomo HTR A/S P03, come with a 65,000-mile warranty in units with lower speed ratings but at the expense of grip.
Overall, the RE980AS+ seems like one of the longest-lasting UHP all-season tires. Still, we’ll need to wait a few more years to see what owners say, as the RE980AS+ arrived just last year (2021).
How does the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ behave on dry roads?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ is one of the best all-season tires on dry tarmac regarding steering feel, grip, and braking.
This behavior didn’t surprise me, as I was always a fan of how Potenza tires feel behind the wheel. Although it’s just an all-season model, the RE980AS+ feels almost like a max-performance summer tire. The steering is very responsive and direct, and you’ll always know what the tires are doing, making the driving experience more enjoyable. The RE980AS+ makes it easy for the driver to attack corners fast, which is all you’ll ever need from a performance tire, right?
But there is more to it than just a steering feel. The Potenza RE980AS+ also provides immense lateral grip, even when it’s cold. Put more heat into it, and it comes even more alive, gripping the road almost like a summer performance tire. Besides, the stopping distances are among the shortest in the category, and there is more acceleration traction than you’d ever need on public roads.
With that said, this is not a tire for track use, as performance quickly deteriorates at very high temperatures. For those conditions, max-performance or extreme-performance summer tires are still kings, particularly if you are chasing faster lap times.
Compared to its rivals, the Potenza RE980AS+ trails slightly behind the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus and Pilot Sport AS4 in terms of traction. However, the differences are only measurable on the track, and on public streets, Potenza’s higher steering precision comes into play and gives you a more pleasurable driving experience.
How is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ on wet and slippery roads?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ is a very good performer in rainy conditions, though it ultimately falls behind its closest premium rivals from Continental and Michelin in overall traction.
That’s unexpected because when Bridgestone launched the initial RE980AS, it quickly set new standards for wet grip in the category. Thus, the tiremaker probably didn’t see the need to improve the wet traction in the upgraded model, so it’s the same as you get in the predecessor.
Meanwhile, the competition has made a big step forward because the Pilot Sport All Season 4 and the ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus offer higher longitudinal and lateral traction on wet tarmac, meaning shorter stopping distances and higher cornering speeds.
But that’s not to say the Potenza RE980AS+ is a bad wet tire. It’s still in the top echelon regarding traction, making it easy for the driver to keep the vehicle in the desired line. Namely, unlike some other UHP all-season tires, the Potenza RE980AS+ understeers slightly at the limit, so you can easily shorten the line by lowering the speed. In that sense, it’s a very safe tire.
Besides, you won’t have any issues with hydroplaning, as the tread pattern seems capable of channeling large amounts of water from the tread.
Nonetheless, considering how much Bridgestone asks for a set of these Potenzas, I can’t close my eyes to the lower wet traction. It won’t be problematic to most buyers, but still, stellar performance in every area is expected from a premium tire.
With that being said, how is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ on snowy roads?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ isn’t suitable for extreme winter weather, but you’d be surprised at how good it handles light snow. It shows how far ultra-high-performance all-season tires have come in recent years and is a testament to the upgrades Bridgestone made in its latest model.
You can actually cover miles on roads covered with light snow on these tires. The stopping distances are among the shortest in the category, and there is more acceleration traction that you’d need in the winter, meaning you won’t get stuck.
Now, if I nitpick here, the Potenza RE980AS+ feels slightly nervous in the corners. The grip is there; ultimately, your vehicle won’t spin, but you’ll need to be more engaged with the steering wheel. For instance, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 feels more balanced but offers similar traction levels.
However, while Bridgestone’s latest UHP all-season tire is good on light snow, you should still be careful when driving over deep snow. Also, the ice traction is much lower than on a proper winter tire.
Therefore, if you live in an area with harsh wintry weather, I recommend a combination of summer and winter tires. For everyone else, though, the Potenza RE980AS+ will work just fine.
Is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ suitable for off-road driving?
The Potenza RE980AS+ is only designed to work on paved roads and isn’t suitable for off-road driving. Prolonged trail use, especially on hardpacked surfaces, can damage the tread and shorten the tire’s lifespan.
Is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ a run-flat tire?
No, the Potenza RE980AS+ is not a run-flat tire. Bridgestone brands its run-flat tires with RFT, though it doesn’t offer a UHP all-season run-flat tire in North America. The company also offers a run-flat-only portfolio of tires called DriveGuard.
How are the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ road noise and comfort performance?
The Potenza RE980AS+ is not the quietest nor the smoothest UHP all-season tire, but it still performs admirably for the category, providing a relatively refined ride.
But what does that mean? Well, UHP all-season tires had come a long way from the initial days when harsh and noisy rides were the norm. Most premium models are quiet and smooth nowadays, and the RE980AS+ isn’t an exception. This is great news for drivers of performance sedans and grand tourers, but also for everyone that uses their vehicle as a daily driver.
Since Bridgestone designed the Potenza RE980AS+ to be more responsive, the ride is tauter than its competitors but never harsh. I actually prefer this behavior when hitting a bigger bump because the tire quickly settles down, and there are no reverberations.
As for the noise, you’ll hear a slight tread growl at higher speeds, but nothing too serious. And the noise is even less pronounced on modern performance cars with better sound insulation.
Overall, I find it hard to fault the Potenza RE980AS+ for its slightly stiffer and noisier ride because it provides such an entertaining drive. If you are an enthusiast like me, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the refinement of Bridgestone’s UHP all-season tire.
Should I buy the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+?
If you are in the market for an accomplished ultra-high-performance all-season tire, you should put the Potenza RE980AS+ on your shortlist. Bridgestone’s latest Potenza tire isn’t without its faults, but it has enough qualities to stand out from the crowd.
For instance, it’s the most entertaining tire to drive from all of its competitors, thanks to the sharp and responsive steering. It also provides excellent grip on dry tarmac and works well on light snow. Its rain traction isn’t as good as its closest rivals – the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 and Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus- but it is still very good in isolation.
As a cherry on top, the Potenza RE980AS+ comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty – the highest you’ll get in its category.
What sizes does the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ come in?
The Potenza RE980AS+ comes in 53 sizes, ranging from 16-inch to 20-inch wheel diameter. Each model has a “W” speed rating, meaning it can be used at up to 168 mph (270 km/h). Please refer to the table below for an overview of all available sizes.
|Tire Size||Load/Speed Rating|