Sometimes Mother Nature does not cooperate when test vehicles are delivered to "Drive...He Said" for evaluation.
Case in point our Sterling Gray Metallic 2011 Ford Mustang GT 2+2 sports coupe. Stuffed with 5000 cc of V8, belching out 412 horsepower through a 6 speed manual transmission.
The spec sheet says our Mustang GT was fitted with the optional taller final drive rear axle and riding on 19" alloy wheels blanketed by 255-40 Y ultra-high performance summer only tires.
Wait a minute...Did we read correctly "summer only tires??"
As our Mustang GT was delivered December 20, just in time for Christmas, Ford had the good sense to have the car fitted with Pirelli's new 240 series Sottozero Winter Tires.
It turns out that was a good thing considering the 5" or snow, or so, that fell over metro Chicago between early Christmas Eve and late Christmas night.
No, the Mustang didn't shake it's rear end with each tap of the throttle. Nor did it quiver in the shadow of any 4x4 bearing down hard. Climbing the icy 10 degree incline on the relatives' driveway in the 'burbs, without bottoming out, could not have been surer than having done the deed on tank treads.
The best part is that the Pirelli Sottozero(e)s aren't like the snow tires of old. First take a heaping helping of advanced siping or cut patterns in the tire tread, which pushes snow aside. Then add a dash of special rubber compounds that stay soft and pliable even in subzero temperatures. The end concoction is a tire which has makes sufficient contact and develops decent friction with the pavement. To boot, these tires are V-speed rated - Pirelli and the U.S. DOT say they can handle internal stress and heat produced by highway speeds of up to 149 mph. And they are about as quiet and comfortable on the road as many All-Season tires.
Make no mistake, these Pirelli Sottozero 240 winter tires aren't cheap. In this fairly large size they go for about $900 for a set of four (un-mounted) at some discount outlets. Soft tread means that they probably won't last more than two or three winter seasons. These babies will gobble up extra space in your garage. But be forewarned. Economizing with only two winter tires for the rear driven wheels will only result in front tires that could not gain traction at the same rate as the rears.
English translation: the Mustang's lighter butt would slide out towards the front.
The payoff of the winter tires is taking an otherwise un-driveable Ford Mustang GT out in winter's fluffy white & slippery clear stuff, and teaching Mother Nature a thing or two.
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