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Part 2: North America and the D3 Cadillac ATS

            Continued from Part 1, the Yokohama tour of the Advan Sport continues to North America, this time fitted on the stunning Cadillac ATS sport sedan, made even more alluring by noted Caddy tuner D3. The Yokohama crew headed to the Angeles National Forest, near Los Angeles, California, in the State of California. D3 installed its custom race suspension with thicker anti-roll bars both front and rear, significantly improving the car’s ability to take corners aggressively. The tires were fitted to 19-inch TSW Interlagos wheels, which made the ATS look ready for a day at the track. Click here to see Part 1.

            At daybreak, we took to the hills in this elegant sports sedan, which came powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produced 272 horsepower. The combination of the rear-drive car’s rigid chassis and the sticky V105s was remarkable, as the car displayed neutral handling through every type of corner the 35-mile road had to offer. The car turned-in with amazing crispness, with no understeer as the front tires gripped the driving surface with tenacity. Through the exit of tight corners, the rear end always stayed put, even when getting aggressive with the throttle pedal. But where the tires’ effectiveness was most noticeable was when approaching blind corners, and you’re forced to brake harder than you want…or risk going over the edge of a cliff. The V105s, when paired with the ATS’s excellent braking system, brought the car to halt in a snap.

            While most of these attributes were on display at the race track in the R8, one thing new we noticed was how effective the tires were in the wet. When compared to its predecessor (and competing brands), the level of grip on wet surfaces of the V105s were on an entirely higher level. The car virtually behaved as if it were in the dry, even in deep sections of water. Where other tires would cause the car to understeer heavily through slow corners, the V105 guided the car precisely where it was steered, with good turn-in feel to boot. When the speeds increased, the tires seemed to get better, actually making it hard to get the car sideways on purpose. Some of the credit here can be attributed to the innovative new asymmetrical tread pattern of the V105 that features a larger inside groove area to resist hydroplaning at high speeds. Also, playing a vital role is the new compound of the V105.

            The compound of the V105 can be classified into three distinct groups: the filler, which consists of micro silica and a silica- dispersing agent; the polymers, which consists of a polymer highly reactive to silica, a polymer for high wear resistance and a polymer for high wet grip; and orange oil. With increased volume of micro silica, Yokohama used a silica dispersing agent for the first time, helping the micro silica disperse more easily and evenly, further improving the already high wet-grip performance. The combination of polymers do the unthinkable: It enhances wet grip without increasing rolling resistance. And one of the polymers improves the wear resistance of the rubber. The orange oil, which has become a trademark product for Yokohama, improves the tire’s pliability, which in turn helps adhesion. Currently, tires with orange oil technology are supplied to the FIA WTCC, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohamaand other motorsports series, displaying their talents in big-time racing events.

            Among the test drivers of our ATS shod with the V105s was Formula Drift star and 2013 Champion, Michael Essa, who tried to wring every bit of performance out of the car and the tires. We found it odd that he wasn’t executing four-wheel drifts through every corner, but instead took a clean-yet-aggressive driving line, like that of a seasoned road racer. When asked why he wasn’t doing what he does best in this sporty car, he said simply: “I tried to drift the car, but these tires have too much grip, so it was very difficult getting the rear end to break loose.”

High praise indeed…and from a professional drifter no less. Now it was time to travel across the Pacific Ocean to test how the V105s fared in a crowded city environment. Our destination was Tokyo, Japan, home to Yokohama Rubber Co. and arguably the world’s most congested roads.