Pirelli has a long tradition in winter tyres. The first model was launched back in 1930. Such a long history is proof that the manufacturer has always taken the performance of tyres in winter, when visibility significantly drops together with grip on most European roads, very seriously. It has been calculated that the average temperature on at least 45,000 kilometres of roads across the continent in winter is under zero degrees Celsius. As a direct consequence of this, many countries have issued laws concerning the obligation of fitting tyres suited to the vehicle during given periods of the year. Mid-way solutions like All Seasons tyres or snow chains can be the fix in some cases, but good winter tyres are the only solution in particularly tough cases. The new Cinturato Winter implements a number of technological innovations aimed at maximising efficiency as demonstrated during the official presentation in a particularly harsh environment: the Langjökull glacier, in Iceland.
Pirelli chose this wilderness of perpetual snow stretching as far as the eye can see to showcase the results of a project that required no fewer than 141 days of testing and over 250,000 kilometres of road tests. As mentioned, the Cinturato Winter introduces three great Active Safety innovations. The Snow Wear Indicator is the first. The words “Now Snow” are cut into one of the sipes. Cleverly, the first letter “w” is less deep and when the wear exceeds 4 mm, the words simply read “No Snow”, indicating that the tyres need to be replaced.
The Water Escape Accelerator is the second innovation. The new “gullwing-shape” channels of the tread pattern are designed to convey water out towards the sides more efficiency. The data presented by Pirelli indicate that the water displacement of these tyres is improved by 76%, with a consequent reduction of aquaplaning by 8%. The third and last innovation are the new 4D sipes, in which the fourth dimension is the directionality of the tyre during operation. Behaviour of the sipes changes to enhance performance according to the situation. While braking, for instance, the sipes are compressed to improve braking efficiency. While accelerating, instead, they broaden out to displace more water or snow.
These extremely important features were put to the test in Iceland. Langjökull is the island's second largest glacier with an extension of over 1000 square kilometres. To make matters even tougher, visibility was very poor during the test. This harsh backdrop was perfect for a product like the Cinturato Winter. Fitted on a range of SUVs and sedans, the new Pirelli tyre demonstrated all its potentials managing the short course perfectly without damage. Grip on the snow-covered road was always excellent and in combination with the safety assist systems directionality could be maintained also in the riskiest circumstances. Despite the winter vocation of the tyres, the cars travelled on clear, tarmac roads for the transfer from Reykjavík to the glacier. Needless to say, Cinturato Winter tyres should not be used in summer but Pirelli engineers have successfully achieved the goal of equalising product wear to maximise mileage as a consequence.