Why it’s great
- A hydrophilic coating keeps the tire firmly gripping the road in the snow and ice.
- Improved tire cavity shape helps spread the load, for better performance and an even wear.
- Sipes and miniature studs give increased handling and breaking in winter conditions.
- Angled tread blocks and increased block edges increase grip.
Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS70 tires have long been a stalwart of the winter tire world. Their successor, the Blizzak WS80, has built on those solid foundations to deliver an excellent upgrade. A host of improvements make the WS80 better performing in nearly every aspect of winter driving. We’ll take a look at some of the key areas below.
Handling and Performance
The Blizzak WS80s are a fantastic choice of winter tire, comparable with the Michelin X Ice XI3 in terms of performance. There are so many aspects of the tire that are designed specifically for the mixture of snow and ice that you’re likely to encounter on the road in winter. The Blizzak WS70s were excellent on the ice, but users often found them slightly lacking when it came to snow grip. The WS80s vastly improve in this area. Breaking and cornering are both excellent, even in the most challenging conditions. The ride itself is firm yet smooth on just about every surface. Steering on these tires feels controlled and responsive, without any softness creeping in.
Traction is phenomenal on the Blizzak WS80s, even in the deepest of snow. Its unique design forces water and ice from the tire cavity, with a hydrophilic coating helping to keep the tire planted on terra firma. Handling and performance are definitely the strong points of this tire, boosted by the fact that the ride is comfortable and quiet.
The great performance of the Blizzak WS80 comes down to a wide range of innovative technologies that Bridgestone has included in the design and construction of the tire.
Here are some of the most notable:
- Next Generation Multi-Cell Compound: although this sounds fancy, it’s a simple and very effective way of improving grip in adverse conditions. The Multi-cell compound coats the tire and means that excess water that could cause slippage is absorbed instead.
- 3D Zigzag Sipes: sipes are the grooves that run across the tread, and the 3D zigzag sipes on the WS80 increase the number of biting edges on the tire. This means it grips better in slush and ice.
- Improved Tire Cavity Shape: the improved footprint of the tire spreads the load of the vehicle, which both increases handling in the ice and in dry conditions, and means that the tire wears evenly.
- Unique Polymer Composition: the unique polymers Bridgestone use in the WS80 keep the tire soft and supple even in the coldest of temperatures. A softer tire keeps the vehicle better planted on the road surface.
- Angled Tread Blocks: The improved tread on the WS80 are one of the factors that contributes to the tire’s improved grip in snow. The angle, along with an increased number of edges, delivers excellent traction.
- On sportier chassis, softness does creep into the handling.
- They can be a little noisy in dry conditions.
Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS80 tire is definitely one of the top winter tires available. However, there are some slight imperfections. The most notable is that this is definitely not a sporty winter tire. It doesn’t claim to be, but users with a sportier-than-average vehicle may find the performance a little bit sluggish. Another tradeoff is the performance when conditions are dry. Road noise is certainly more than a little audible when taking these tires out on dry roads. Again though, they’re not designed for this, so it can be mostly overlooked.