Features

Cooper Zeon 4XS Sport - performance SUV tyre review

We test Cooper's new UHP tyre at Austria's Red Bull Ring

High performance SUVs. You either love them or you hate them – and, since you’re reading evo, there’s a good chance you’re leaning towards the latter. But while a two-ton off-roader on stiff suspension and low-profile tyres appears completely at odds with itself, there’s no denying today’s top crop of super-SUVs are remarkably capable machines.

They also provide tyre-makers with a unique set of challenges, and Cooper Tires believes its new Zeon 4XS Sport is able to effectively meet them all. To test those claims, we headed over to the Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian GP, to sample a Cooper-shod SUV.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Our Mercedes ML63 AMG test car couldn’t have looked much further from home than it did parked in the pits of a Grand Prix circuit (the big SUV stands 1.8 metres tall), and it only served to emphasise how tricky a job the tyres faced – they’d soon be juggling 518bhp and 516lb ft of torque between them, with a hefty 2270kg to make matters significantly harder. That’s a serious workout on the road, let alone on a track…

A two-ply Rayon casing and extra layers of sidewall reinforcement are key ingredients that Cooper claims give the Zeon 4XS Sports enough strength to cope with such an ordeal, and their effects are immediately noticeable as turn one is dispatched without any of that wallowy feeling conventional SUV tyres give under hard driving. It’s also pretty clear that Cooper’s new rubber has no intention of ever venturing off-road, but no off-road claims are made for the tyre.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Zeon 4XS Sports were also able to effectively manage a car that, to put it bluntly, struggled to contain its own mass. The body ducked, dived and leaned through corners, while hard braking sent a worrying, slow-motion wobble through the whole car as the suspension fought to keep the body flat. But, even in these conditions, the car braked straight and true, with no intervention from the ESP to keep things pointing ahead.

A morning of hard laps on track not only confirmed that these tyres offered consistent, dependable grip, they were also  proving very durable, with minimal signs of wear on all four corners.

Admittedly, this durability did appear to be slightly at the expense of ultimate grip, as the tyre’s adhesion to the asphalt was more comparable with a sports summer tyre than the stickiest of ultra-high-performance products. But this sort of compromise makes sense in the performance SUV sector – the vast majority of Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport SVR and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 (the ML63 AMG’s successor) owners will never venture on track, so a tyre with consistent and dependable grip will likely appeal over one that chases the ultimate lap-time.

Though we weren’t able to test it during our dry session, Cooper also claims that the tyre’s silica-rich tread helps it achieve a Grade A for wet grip, emphasising the security 4XSs could provide. With all of this in mind, if you must own a high-powered SUV, a set of Cooper Zeon 4XS Sports deserves a place on your replacement tyre short-list. Sizes range from 215/70/R16 to 295/35/R21; maximum load rating is 825kg per tyre and maximum speed rating is 186mph. Pricing is to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/tyre-reviews/13761/best-winter-tyres-2020
tyre reviews

Best winter tyres 2020

20 Jan 2020
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/used-cars/20402/cheap-fast-cars-2020-the-best-budget-performance-cars-on-the-market
used cars

Cheap fast cars 2020 – the best budget performance cars on the market

The cheap fast car is a wonderful thing, if you buy right and do your research. These are our favourites from £1000 to £10,000
4 Jun 2020
Visit/features/17660/the-best-four-cylinder-engines-ever-we-pick-our-favourites
Features

The best four-cylinder engines ever

We've gathered a selection of our very favourite four-pots ever produced
27 May 2020
Visit/bentley/mulsanne/202688/bentleys-675-litre-v8-engine-is-no-more-we-pay-homage-with-a-classic-road
Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8 engine is no more: we pay homage with a classic road trip

After 61 years of service, the end has come for Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8. To mark the occasion, we take one on a road trip from London to Geneva
3 Jun 2020
Visit/chevrolet/202690/c8-chevrolet-corvette-uk-prices-and-specifications-revealedchevrolets-new-mid
Chevrolet

C8 Chevrolet Corvette UK prices and specifications revealed

Chevrolet’s new mid-engined C8 Corvette is an American supercar for less
3 Jun 2020