Bridgestone Potenza Sport Review – Remarkable Grip at the Expense of Wear

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Bridgestone Potenza Sport

Dry

93%

Wet

93%

Steering

95%

Comfort

73%

Noise

70%

Treadwear

65%

Overall

81%

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Pros

  • Best-in-class wet grip and shortest stopping distances
  • Exceptionally balanced and easy to drive at the limit in rainy conditions
  • Very good hydroplaning resistance
  • Outstanding grip on dry tarmac, accompanied by a very agile handling
  • Short stopping distances on dry tarmac
  • Very sharp and responsive steering with excellent feedback

Cons

  • Wears more quickly than other premium max-performance summer tires
  • High rolling resistance equals worse fuel economy
  • It can be noisy and uncomfortable, particularly over coarse and broken roads

Bridgestone’s Potenza family of tires has long been a favorite among car enthusiasts, bringing racing-derived technology to the casual buyer. Not only that, but Potenza tires show what Bridgestone is capable of, particularly when compared to similar tires from Michelin, Goodyear, Pirelli, and Continental. For that reason, Potenza tires are often put on the proving ground against its competitors, with the winner being much talked about in automotive circles.

Perhaps the most popular performance category is the max-performance summer category, where Bridgestone recently launched its latest model, the Potenza Sport. This tire aims to beat its rivals regarding performance and once again entice owners of performance cars across the globe.

It will have a very tough job, though, with Continental launching the ExtremeContact Sport 02 recently and Michelin dominating the category with the Pilot Sport 4S. Not to mention, Pirelli’s excellent P Zero (PZ4) is also a strong competitor, and Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 is very popular among American buyers.

In addition, modern performance car owners expect their cars to be comfortable, not just fast. As such, max-performance tires today are also designed with comfort in mind, a quality that is increasingly important in the category.

So, how does the Potenza Sport perform across all categories? And more importantly, does it deserve its place on your vehicle? Let’s find out in my in-depth Bridgestone Potenza Sport review, where I will uncover everything you need to know about this tire!

What are the features of the Bridgestone Potenza Sport?

Bridgestone used many innovative technologies, materials, and design practices in the newest Potenza Sport to maximize tire stiffness and grip. On the outside, the Potenza Sport looks pretty benign, with three large and one smaller circumferential groove and multiple lateral grooves.

However, what is inside matters here, with the Potenza Sport boasting an all-new cutting-edge tread compound, which aims to maximize stiffness, improve dry/wet traction, and reduce the tire’s carbon footprint. Although it doesn’t look particularly ground-breaking, the tread pattern promotes even contact pressure across the contact patch while significantly improving hydroplaning resistance.

Furthermore, the internal construction of the Potenza Sport features what Bridgestone calls a “new hybrid reinforcement.” The brand-new technology aims to improve the tire’s stability under hard cornering and at higher speeds, and it is accompanied by a sport carcass that increases steering response while optimizing rolling resistance.

As a result of all these advancements, the Potenza Sport comes as the OE tire of choice in many supercars, like the Maserati MC20 and Lamborghini Huracán STO, but also BMW’s 8 Series coupe and convertible cars. Still, the Potenza Sport can be installed on pretty much any premium sedan, hot hatchback, or lightweight sports car.

What are the Bridgestone Potenza Sport’s maintenance indicators?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport comes with industry-standard tread wear indicators. These narrow rubber bars sit inside the tire’s grooves (in this case, the circumferential grooves), protruding 2/32 inches (1.6 mm) from the bottom.

The idea behind these bars is pretty simple: they tell the driver when the tire needs replacing. Namely, the minimum legal tread depth across most countries in the world is 2/32 inches, and when your tires reach that point, the wear bars will be flush with the rest of the tread.

Tires with less than 2/32 inches of tread depth are considered unsafe in rainy conditions because the grooves won’t be able to successfully dissipate water from the tread. However, the hydroplaning resistance doesn’t magically become unsafe when the tread reaches its lowest legal depth; instead, it gradually decreases over time.

And on the Potenza Sport, you can’t tell whether your tire has 5/32 inches (4 mm) or 6/32 inches (4.75 mm) of tread depth. Some tire manufacturers developed special indicators that can show the driver when the tread reaches a certain deepness. Bridgestone still has not incorporated any unique indicators in its tires.

With that said, if you are serious about monitoring the tread depth of your tires (and you should be if you have a performance car), we recommend acquiring a tread depth gauge. It is an inexpensive tool that can give you the exact depth of any tire groove. Thus, you can use it to monitor the depth and whether the tire wears evenly across the tread.

What is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport warranty?

Bridgestone doesn’t offer any treadwear warranty on the Potenza Sport. This is not unusual for a max-performance summer tire, as most models in this category don’t have any warranty.

Still, some manufacturers started offering warranties on their max-performance summer tires. For instance, Continental and Michelin offer 30,000-mile warranties on their ExtremeContact Sport 02 and Pilot Sport 4S tires. That is a pretty sizeable competitive advantage these tires have over the Potenza Sport, and for some people, it might be the reason why they didn’t choose Bridgestone’s tire.

But it is not just the warranty that plagues the Potenza Sport. Namely, numerous independent tests showed that it wears faster than its closest rivals when driven on the track and on the road. We didn’t have the Potenza Sport for long, but we could also tell that the rubber compound was less resilient than the ExtremeContact Sport 02 and Pilot Sport 4S.

The Potenza Sport is not bad regarding wear, as many cheaper max-performance summer tires will wear even faster. However, Bridgestone’s model is quite expensive and should be more durable. As it stands, you will get around 20,000 miles of this tire if you don’t push it to the limit on the track, but not much more than that.

How does the Bridgestone Potenza Sport behave on dry roads?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is one of the most enjoyable max-performance summer tires to drive. It is super responsive and agile, offers exceptional grip, and works equally well on public roads and track duties.

We really like how the Potenza Sport feels behind the wheel. It is an alert tire that is always eager to accept and transfer your inputs onto the road. Sure, it might lack some “meatiness” of some of its rivals, but we think that most drivers will prefer the hyper-sensitive nature of the steering, which is particularly enjoyable down a winding road.

The steering is also precise enough to place your car wherever you want on the road, and there is enough feedback to let you know when one tire loses traction. Overall, we think that the steering on the Potenza Sport is currently best-in-class if you value the on-the-edge feeling similar to some track-focused tires. Yes, the Potenza Sport might be too responsive and fast for some drivers, but considering the category, we would say it is a plus.

Bridgestone also did a great job with the grip. The Potenza Sport can achieve some exceptional speeds in the corners, similar to other max-performance summer tires at the moment. But the way the Potenza Sport feels subjectively is even better – we felt like the car danced around the corners with agility and playfulness that is hard to match in other tires.

Furthermore, the Potenza Sport felt very predictable once you surpassed the limit. Unlike most of its rivals, Bridgestone’s tire lost traction gradually and did so without disturbing the handling balance. This, of course, invites drivers to push the car even harder through the corners, which we guess is the whole idea when it comes to max-performance summer tires.

The Potenza Sport also provides very short stopping distances, but more importantly than that, it feels very stable under braking. Thus, it invites trail braking, which you can use to enter a corner more sharply. In addition, the acceleration traction is excellent, allowing you to accelerate earlier out of a corner.

In general, the Potenza Sport is an exceptionally inviting tire to drive. It has a ton of grip, feels sharp and alert, and provides a very agile and playful handling. Its rivals are also excellent, though, with the ExtremeContact Sport 02 and Pilot Sport 4S being the most closely matched tires in terms of grip. Still, none of them offers the playfulness of the Potenza Sport.

It is important to note that Bridgestone achieved that excellent grip by sacrificing rolling resistance. We don’t have the gear to test rolling resistance, but the Potenza Sport fared relatively poorly in every comparison test from big publications. Thus, if you opt for Bridgestone’s max-performance summer offering, you might experience a slight fuel economy penalty (1 mpg at worst).

How is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport on wet and slippery roads?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is one of the best wet tires on the market, period. It provides excellent lateral grip, short stopping distances, and good acceleration traction while feeling agile and playful in the rain.

Max-performance summer tires are known for delivering outstanding wet grip, so this should not come as a surprise. Still, some tires do it better than others, and relative to its peers, the Potenza Sport is one of the best wet tires in the business.

This is particularly evident when you press the left (or middle pedal, you real enthusiasts), as the Potenza Sport has some of the best braking performance in the rain we have ever experienced. The stopping distances are shorter than almost every other tire on the market, but the stability under braking also impressed us.

Furthermore, Bridgestone’s max-performance tire is also one of the best regarding acceleration traction. Rare will be the times when you experience wheel spin with the Potenza Sport, even during rainy conditions. Accelerating out of a corner is also a breeze – the Potenza Sport can put the power down as a few other tires can.

As for lateral grip, it is among the highest in the category. Not only that, but the Potenza Sport feels incredibly stable in the corners, with well-balanced handling and predictable behavior at the limit. Crucially, the tire didn’t lose its cheerfulness and continued to put smiles on our faces when it rained. In that sense, it is a tire you can enjoy driving in the rain, as it feels safe and fun to drive.

In addition to that, the Potenza Sport has excellent hydroplaning resistance that few other max-performance summer tires can match. Driving through puddles of water is a non-issue with this tire, as it slices through the water and provides the necessary stability.

The Potenza Sport is an impressive wet tire, though only if the temperature is high enough. Remember, this is a summer tire, meaning the rubber compound will be too brittle to provide useful traction in colder conditions, particularly on wet tarmac.

With that being said, how is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport on snowy roads?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is a max-performance summer tire not designed to be used at temperatures lower than -7 °C (20 °F). It also provides almost no traction on snow, making it utterly useless in the winter.

Also, like with most other max-performance summer tires, Bridgestone recommends heating the Potenza Sport to at least 5 °C (40 °F) before installation if it was stored in freezing conditions, as not doing so could warp the tire or introduce cracking on the surface.

Therefore, we highly recommend keeping your performance summer tires at room temperature, preferably in a dark and dry place. The sun’s UV rays and humidity can also affect the rubber compound and cause dry rotting, which could lead to a premature replacement.

Bridgestone Potenza Sport AS Hero Image
Bridgestone Potenza Sport AS

Bridgestone recently launched the all-season version of the Potenza Sport, which succeeds the excellent Potenza RE980AS Plus. The Potenza Sport AS is Bridgestone’s first UHP all-season tire with its ENLITEN™ technology, promising even higher snow traction than the RE980AS Plus, along with improvements in the driving experience and dry/wet grip.

We still haven’t had a chance to test the Potenza Sport AS, as it launched just recently, but keep an eye on our website for a full review in the coming months.

Is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport suitable for off-road driving?

The Potenza Sport is designed as a road-only tire and doesn’t have any feature that would help it off the beaten path. In other words, you will struggle with traction, and rocks and other debris can damage the tire.

Max-performance summer tires also have a very sticky tread, which helps with grip but is also a magnet to small rocks. Once these rocks stick to the surface, it will take time to remove them while driving, and they might need a pressure wash on some stickier tires.

With that said, you could drive for short periods on gravel, like when you need to reach a certain beach. Still, we recommend being very careful when driving over sharper rocks, as they could damage the precious high-end tread or pierce through the tire and make an irreparable puncture.

Is the Bridgestone Potenza Sport a run-flat tire?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is not a run-flat tire, and there is no run-flat version of it in Bridgestone’s lineup. The closest run-flat model in the Japanese tiremaker’s lineup would be the Potenza S007A RFT.

The S007A RFT is a pretty good tire option for owners of cars that have run-flat tires from the factory. However, it is an older model (launched in 2018) that can’t match the Potenza Sport in any category, particularly regarding wet grip. Therefore, if you own a vehicle with regular tires, we won’t recommend switching to the Potenza S007A RFT, except if you need the run-flat convenience.

How are the Bridgestone Potenza Sport’s road noise and comfort performance?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is not an exceptionally comfortable tire, as it can be harsh over roads with sharp creases and loud at higher speeds.

It is interesting that various drivers in our team who tried this tire reacted differently to its ride quality. Some liked the taut feeling when it goes over a bump. And understandably so, because it means that the tire quickly settles once it hits a pothole, providing a taut and stiff feeling.

Still, most of us were not fond of the constant jolts from the surface, which were present on roads with frequent creases. Sure, the Potenza Sport kept its composure over repetitive impacts, but despite that, the initial impact was always jarring. Notably, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a more comfortable tire, combining flexibility with composure better than the Potenza Sport.

But the good thing about how the Potenza Sport rides over bumps is that it always informs the driver of the surface below. This is a quality that only the driver can enjoy, but it is still attractive to drivers who enjoy every aspect of driving, including feeling the road below. It might not be your cup of tea, but it has its followers.

As for the noise, it is not high-pitched or annoying, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Potenza Sport is a noisy tire. That is particularly true when you compare it to other premium tires; for instance, the Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) is much quieter at speed, and the same is true for the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.

The Potenza Sport is generally not overly harsh or loud, especially considering its other performance capabilities. However, the Potenza Sport might not be for you if you own a performance sedan, like an Audi S4 or a BMW M340i, and value comfort/quietness.

Should I buy the Bridgestone Potenza Sport?

For drivers who value driving involvement, exceptional performance, and, crucially, fun, the Potenza Sport is one of the best tires out there. This tire can elevate the driving experience, bring a smile to your face, and make your car faster, both on dry and wet roads.

Of course, the Potenza Sport isn’t without its downsides. We had some concerns about wear, as the tread seemed less resilient than other premium max-performance summer tires we tried lately, which we later confirmed by looking up online and finding that other publications had the same issue.

Moreover, Bridgestone doesn’t provide any treadwear warranty, although some competitors started offering warranties on their performance summer tires. Besides its longevity troubles, Bridgestone’s tire also has a higher rolling resistance, leading to slightly higher fuel costs.

Besides, the Potenza Sport is not an exceptionally comfortable tire. Sure, max-performance summer tires aren’t known for comfort, but the Potenza Sport is harsher and more vociferous than most rivals.

That said, enthusiast drivers are famous for turning a blind eye to issues like a stiffer ride and higher running costs if they could enjoy driving more. And if you are such a person, the Potenza Sport is perhaps the best tire currently on sale.

You might want to also consider other options, though. Continental’s recently launched ExtremeContact Sport 02 matches the Potenza Sport in dry/wet grip while providing a more comfortable ride and a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty.

The Pilot Sport 4S is also more comfortable, quieter, and durable (30,000-mile warranty), but it lacks the precision and fun-to-drive aspect of the Potenza Sport. The Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) is another excellent max-performance summer tire that provides class-leading comfort and good overall grip, though it also can’t match the Potenza Sport’s driving experience.

The Yokohama ADVAN Apex V601 is another solid option if your budget is more limited. Interestingly, it matches the Potenza Sport regarding steering sharpness and driving enjoyment while having a slightly harsher and louder ride than the class average. Still, Yokohama’s tire can’t match the Potenza Sport in the rain, as it feels quite edgy at the limit.

What sizes does the Bridgestone Potenza Sport come in?

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport comes in numerous performance-oriented dimensions, ranging from 16-inch to 22-inch wheel diameter.

With these sizes, Bridgestone covered many types of vehicles, including compact hot hatches, mid-size sedans, performance sedans, luxury sedans, coupes, sports cars, fast crossovers, and performance SUVs.

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