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- Good wet handling and resistance to hydroplaning
- Comfortable and quiet for a high-performance tire
- Excellent treadwear warranty
- One of the cheapest tires in its category
- Not as responsive as the best in the category
- Traction and grip are limited when compared to premium high-performance tires
- Not usable in snow
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When it comes time to replace the touring tires that came from the factory on their vehicle, a lot of people who are into cars choose to go with high-performance tires instead. The rationale behind it is that they will receive significantly improved treatment, which in actuality is fairly accurate. On the other hand, the vast majority of high-performance tires are not nearly as comfortable as grand-touring tires and generate a great deal more noise when driven on the highway. People who choose these tires quickly come to regret their decision and express regret that they did not install grand-touring tires instead. Fortunately, there are some high-performance tires that will keep the riding quality of grand-touring tires while providing you with improved handling in practically every regard. These tires fall into the category of all-season tires.
A tire that fits this description is the Firestone Firehawk AS. The Firehawk AS is a high-performance all-season tire that was developed with the intention of meeting the needs of drivers who place a premium on improved responsiveness in the bends but don’t want to compromise the level of comfort provided by their vehicles. To be more specific, this tire is designed for customers who drive sporty sedans and sporty coupes, such as the BMW 3-Series and 4-Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, C-Class Coupe, and A-Class Sedan, the Audi A4 and A5, the Lexus IS and RC, the Infiniti Q50, and the Q60, and the Acura ILX and TLX. If you possess a sporty hatchback like the Volkswagen Golf GTI or the Ford Focus ST, but not a particularly powerful version like the Golf R, Focus RS, or Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, you should also think about purchasing these tires. The Firehawk is offered in sizes ranging from 40 to 65 millimeters in sidewall height, 185 and 275 millimeters in tread width, and 15-20 inches in diameter (rim size), respectively.
This indicates that the Firehawk AS was not built to provide the best handling performance possible; rather, it was designed to provide a combination of sporty handling in the majority of conditions as well as a comfortable ride quality. The Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, Yokohama AVID Envigor, Goodyear Eagle GT, and Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS are some of its primary rivals. Each of these tires is extremely well-liked among members of the enthusiast community. In this exhaustive analysis, in which we discuss every facet of the tire, let’s see how the Firestone Firehawk AS stacks up against those other tires and see which one is the better option. First things first, let’s take a look at what Firestone has to say about the all-season high-performance tire they’ve developed.
What are the features of the Firestone Firehawk AS?
According to Firestone, the Firehawk AS offers sport performance in addition to all-season capability, including enhanced traction in the snow and on wet surfaces. This is something that we hear a lot about all-season high-performance tires lately, yet the majority of the time, they do not deliver when it comes to snow traction and braking capabilities.
The Firehawk AS makes an effort to accomplish all of these goals by incorporating deep tread characteristics that maintain the tire’s dynamic performance throughout its entire treadlife. Most crucially, the new model comes with expanded channels that allow for improved water evacuation, resulting in better control on wet roads and reduced hydroplaning during heavy rain. These improvements were made possible by the new model’s increased channel count. It is encouraging to learn that the more recent model of the Firehawk AS has twenty percent more biting edges for improved performance in the snow. This is especially encouraging when one considers the unimpressive snow performance of the model that came before it.
The Firehawk AS, like like the majority of other high-end Firestone tires, has a tread compound called Long Link Carbon that has been sculpted into an asymmetric tread design. When compared to the earlier model, this compound ought to deliver enhanced levels of grip and traction, in addition to enhanced levels of durability.
Casing made of either one or two layers of polyester is used in the construction of the Firehawk AS, with the exception of smaller models, which only receive one layer of polyester casing. In addition, the Firestone is stiffened by wide high-tensile steel belts that are reinforced with a spirally-wrapped nylon casing ply, just as one would anticipate from a tire that falls into this category. This design makes a significant improvement to the responsiveness of the handling, and it also has a good effect on the high-speed stability of the vehicle, even when the vehicle is cornering aggressively.
What are maintenance indicators?
We were unable to locate any maintenance indicators on the Firehawk AS itself, and the website that Firestone maintains for its products does not provide any relevant information. Instead, they recommend doing the well-known penny test to determine how much tread depth is still available on your tires. Before you perform the penny test, you should be aware that the legal limit of tread depth is 2/32 inches for safety concerns. This is because having a tread depth that is any less than this can drastically reduce the tire’s ability to function well when it is wet.
However, the test is not overly complicated; all you have to do is insert a penny into the grooves of the tire’s tread. If the tread on the tire is at least touching the top of Abraham Lincoln’s inverted head, then the tread depth is at least 2/32 inches. Having stated that, Firestone should have included treadwear indications on the Firehawk AS, just like the majority of its primary premium competitors do.
On the bright side, Firestone backs the Firehawk AS all-season high-performance tire with a treadwear warranty that is good for 50,000 miles. This is an excellent result for an all-season high-performance tire. There are not too many businesses in our industry who provide a longer warranty. In point of fact, several premium competitors offer an even shorter warranty despite having prices that are far higher than those of the Firehawk AS.
That is excellent news for anyone who might be interested in purchasing something, but how does the Firehawk AS carry itself in the real world? If you do the majority of your driving on city streets, you should be able to get at least 40,000 miles out of it, which is about equivalent to four years. On the other hand, if you want to use it on the track, the treadlife may be reduced by fifty percent. However, to be really honest, this is not a tire that is intended to be used on the track, thus doing so is something that should be completely avoided. If you intend to drive your automobile on a racetrack, you should at the very least think about purchasing ultra-high-performance tires or perhaps max-performance tires for your vehicle.
Is it good for off-road driving?
God forbid, no. Because it was developed solely for use on paved surfaces, the Firehawk AS is not suitable for use when driving on unpaved terrain. Granted, you could get away with it on gravel, but even so, grand-touring tires will provide superior traction than other tires in these conditions. Off-road driving is not the place for high-performance tires; please take this warning seriously.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
Sadly, there is not a clear response to this question. When it comes to handling, the overall performance of the Firestone Firehawk falls short of that of the greatest all-season high-performance tires, particularly those manufactured by Michelin, Bridgestone, and Goodyear. Having said that, it is far superior to the very best grand-touring tires in this regard, which means that it is unquestionably an upgrade for drivers who are interested in improving the way their vehicles behave.
You may be dissatisfied with the performance of the Firehawk AS tire, however, if you have previously purchased and owned, for instance, a Goodyear Eagle GT and are looking for a tire that is more cost-effective. Immediately upon driving, the Firestone tire gives the impression of being heavier and less responsive. Because the steering input is not directly communicated to the ground in the same way that it is in other tires in this category, the Firehawks do not react very well to abrupt changes in the vehicle’s course. Additionally, it seems as though the sidewall is not as rigid during heavy turning, which is something that can be felt particularly on heavier vehicles.
Although there is a noticeable improvement in traction, more powerful vehicles still have a higher volume of tire squeal in comparison to lower models. In spite of this, the side-to-side grip is very decent; you can take corners gradually at higher speeds without encountering any difficulties, and the overall braking performance is satisfactory.
In a nutshell, the driving dynamics of the Firehawk AS should be satisfactory for the vast majority of average drivers, but the total performance will likely dissatisfy hardcore aficionados.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
Because it is an all-season tire, the Firehawk AS is designed to perform well in a variety of weather conditions, including those that are wet. As a matter of fact, it produces some truly impressive outcomes in moderate to severe precipitation, avoiding hydroplaning like a pro. Additionally, the braking performance is excellent, while the traction is decent for the category. As is to be expected from a high-performance tire, the Firehawk AS demonstrates very good traction in wet circumstances. If you want the finest possible traction in rainy conditions, however, you should look into other available solutions, even if they come at a higher price.
With that being said, how is it in snowy roads?.
According to Firestone, the new Firehawk AS has much improved snow traction in comparison to its predecessor, which the company attributes to the addition of 20% more biting edges. Although they do provide superior traction and shorter stopping distances in practice, this does not necessarily mean that this tire is suitable for use in conditions when there is significant snowfall. The Firehawk AS has worse traction and braking performance in comparison to grand-touring all-season tires, and even certain all-season high-performance all-season tires have greater performance than the Firehawk AS.
To tell you the truth, there aren’t too many tires in this category that are suitable for driving in the snow, and the Firestone isn’t one of them. Having said that, the Firehawk AS can still give good traction and grip in colder weather, even if you live in a location where it doesn’t snow throughout the winter.
Is it comfortable and refined?
It would appear that Firestone prioritized the development of a comfortable tire with sporty performance over the development of a tire that is a handling champion in its purest form. As high-performance tires go, the Firehawk AS offers an exceptional level of ride comfort over uneven terrain. Additionally, it has a decent amount of silence, particularly on luxury models that already have improved sound insulation. This is also the only category in which the Firehawk AS is capable of competing with the greatest all-season high-performance tires now available, and even outperforming some of those tires.
More Firestone Firehawk AS Review films were produced by HILLYARD’S RIM LIONS and are available here for your viewing pleasure.
Should I buy the Firestone Firehawk AS?
If you are looking for a high-performance product that can be used throughout the year, you should look elsewhere. When it comes to raw performance, the Firestone is in the back of the pack behind practically all of its rivals. However, it is more affordable than most, which helps to compensate for the reductions in performance-related benefits. If you previously had a set of grand-touring tires, purchasing a set of Firehawk AS tires will not result in a significant reduction in the level of comfort and silence your vehicle enjoys.