ATLANTA-Two new additions to the Potenza line, incorporating the company's latest technical innovations, are about to be marketed by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. The new Z-rated Potenza S-02, scheduled to become available to dealers this summer, is being billed as the ``global flagship'' for Bridgestone's Potenza family. It is the product of a new tire design method the manufacturer said eliminates traditional compromises in performance.
The new ``ultra-high-performance'' tire also incorporates new bead construction for rounder mounted tires and new compounds containing long-chained carbon black structures for improved treadwear and grip.
In May, the Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker will release the H-rated Potenza RE930, a tire the company said offers some of the same technological innovations as the S-02-but at a lower price.
Both of the newest members of the Potenza line were introduced to trade journalists at the Road Atlanta race course in late March.
``Our radical new Potenza S-02 is Bridgestone's global flagship for the performance revolution,'' said Mike Cerio, Bridgestone brand marketing manager. ``Our Potenza RE930 brings advanced Bridgestone technology to the H-rated, all-season (high-performance) market, and the Potenza RE900 will introduce the performance neophyte to Potenza performance.''
The S-02 features a ``HydroDynamic'' unidirectional tread design with a variable-radius groove pattern that facilitates water evacuation and improves both wet and dry handling, BFS said.
The S-02 will be original equipment on the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Mercedes Benz/AMG W210 and will be available to dealers beginning June 1 in seven 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes, from 205/55ZR16 to 285/30ZR18.
The H-rated Potenza RE930 also features variable radius groove technology on a non-directional tread that contains twin circumferential tread grooves.
The Potenza RE930 will be available May 1 in 10 sizes, from P185/70R14 to P215/60R15, and carry a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Both tires join the Potenza RE900, a T-rated, entry-level performance tire that the company introduced last year as part of the Potenza family.
All Potenza tires carry a full replacement warranty for workmanship or material defects down to 2/32-inch of tread.
In addition, the company is offering a 30-day test drive for the new generation of Potenza tires. Consumers not satisfied for any reason can return the tires for a full refund, BFS said.
Performance tires constitute about 35 percent of the U.S. replacement market, Mr. Cerio said. But the Bridgestone brand, with its focus on upscale, brand-conscious, premium tire consumers, derives 60 percent of its sales by volume in the performance arena, BFS officials noted.