After seeing the Yokohama YK580 review by Bob Faieta on YouTube.com, I was extremely pleased to find out I would be going to Miami, Florida to push the YK580 to it's limits at Homestead Miami Speedway. Here's what Bob had to say about the new Yokohama YK580.
YOKAHAMA YK580 REVIEW - YouTube
I arrived in Miami Monday, April 9th late in the afternoon and after a nice dinner at Tarpon Bend in Corral Gables, I went to bed early in anticipation of the following day's action. With the three hour time zone difference I would be getting up at 3 AM Arizona time so a good night's rest was in order.
After a quick continental breakfast at our hotel we arrived at Homestead Miami Speedway around 8:30 AM. After passing through security we pulled into the center of the track where a couple of Mitsubishi Evolutions were sitting with YK580 tires installed. Seeing these vehicles immediately got my adrenaline flowing. I would come to find out later that the Evolution would be one of five different vehicles we would be testing the YK580 on.
From the bus the Yokohama Representatives led us through the paddock to the drivers meeting room where we would get a run down on the day's events and what makes the YK580, the YK580.
The first thing we were told from the Yokohama Representative in charge of product development was that the YK580 is the new benchmark for future Yokohama products and is one of the best tires Yokohama has ever produced. Needless to say, this was quite a statement which made me even more enthusiastic about testing the YK580 and pushing it to the limits.
But what makes the YK580 one of the best tires ever produced by Yokohama? It's predecessor, the YK520, was a good model. So what did Yokohama do to make the new YK580 even better? Compounding and enhancing the tread design were part of it, but it was the testing, testing, and more testing that led to these changes and elevates this tire to the top. The YK580 was put through it's paces two times the regular amount a tire is usually tested to ensure it lives up to the expectations set by Yokohama and Discount Tire. The YK580 was tested under aggressive driving conditions, on severe test courses, for a significant number of miles and through every test Yokohama learned from it and made appropriate changes. Through this rigorous testing utilizing multiple vehicles, Yokohama can confidently say that the YK580 will not only reach it's prescribed tread life but will provide predictable handling and superior ride quality while doing so.
After our briefing we were split into four groups and sent out to test the YK580. We were going to test the tire on multiple courses and my group was headed for the 0-60-0 braking course first. Here we tested the YK580's braking ability on the Evolution and Nissan 350Z.
I do not have any stopping distances to report as the vehicles were not equipped with data loggers. What I can tell you is that the YK580 gripped extremely well off the line (much to my surprise) with the peddle straight to the floor and had very limited pull when I slammed on the brakes. Granted the vehicles we were driving were Brembo equipped, but none the less I was very pleased with the grip the YK580 offered from a dig.
Next up, the dry autoX course. Dry autoX courses are my favorite for testing a tires ability to corner and respond to my steering inputs. The YK580 didn't let me down. We challenged this course in a brand new Mustang (v6) and Scion TC. The RWD Mustang weighs more than the FWD TC which allowed us to test the YK580 on two vehicles with completely different dynamics.
I noticed entering the first turn how quickly the front tires responded to my input which allowed me to drive the course with less input throughout in both vehicles. Taking corners the YK580 held tight and gave me ample notice when pushed to the limit. This was surprising as most all-season performance tires I've tested in the past gave me very little to no notice before the limit was reached. I contribute the YK580's responsiveness and predictability to the uniblock shoulder and large notched blocks which adds stiffness, grip, and support to the tire under hard cornering pressure.
From the dry autoX course we headed over to the wet handling course. Yokohama set up a small course with a long wet sweeper that turned into a wet skid pad (to simulate ice). We tackled this course again in a Mustang (v6) and Scion TC. I was only able to test the tires on the Mustang as I got held up taking photos.
I entered the sweeper with a good amount of speed and the YK580 held the line perfectly and with limited roll. Upon hitting the skid pad I could certainly tell a difference in traction but I was easily able to maintain my line by letting off the throttle slightly. The sweeping rain channels and lateral grooves do an excellent job evacuating water from underneath the tire allowing the YK580's tread compound to really stick. Coming off the skid pad in the Mustang was a blast as I was able to smash the throttle and maintain a short but controlled drift.
After the wet handling course we made our way over to the road noise test. Yokohama set up a 12 mile trek on public roads outside of the speedway where we could see how comfortable and quiet the YK580 rides.
In the Nissan Maxima there was little to no road noise on the surrounding roads even with the equipped lower profile 245/45-18 tires. It was a nice change of pace from all the fast action we were experiencing earlier. The cool AC (the humidity was pretty gross that morning) and smooth, quiet ride almost put me to sleep while I was sitting passenger. That was short lived though as we turned down a rocky and dusty dirt road. The ride wasn't so quiet any more, clearly, but we did manage to have some fun dusting out the other test car behind us.
After a catered lunch of wraps and subs we headed to our final test of the day, the high speed road course! We utilized the 2.2 mile infield road course for this test where speeds near 90 MPH were reached at times.
After a crash course with performance driving tips from a professional Skip Barber Instructor, I made my way to the only open vehicle, the Scion TC. The 350Z, Mustang, and Evolution were taken already. I was ok with that though as I was very excited to drive this course. Falling into line behind a driving instructor in a Nissan 370Z, we hit the course. The YK580 was predictable under braking and consistent through the corners. Like we observed earlier on the dry autoX course, not much steering input was needed and the grip off the corner exits was precise and smooth. The optimized contact patch talked backed if pushed too hard. After running 3 laps around the road course I was amazed that an all-season performance tire was able to perform so well on this fast course.
After completing all five tests I was convinced that the YK580 will satisfy the needs of today's performance vehicles and their drivers who need an all-season performance tire without compromise. The wet traction, steering stability, dry grip, and responsiveness makes the YK580 an excellent model to consider for your next purchase.
Here's what the YK580 installed on one of the Scions looked like after a hard days beating.