Review: Sailun Atrezzo Z4+AS Tires

Sailun Atrezzo tire
Sailun, inc.

When it comes to buying tires, consumers have an abundance of choices, all rated differently. Those looking for a good bargain might want to consider Atrezzo Z4+AS tires, which are made by Sailun, a Chinese tire manufacturer. Chinese tires have not generally been noted for their quality and/or handling, but this company, established in 2002, has for the most part defied that belief.

Three Tiers of Tires

Sailun is what those in the automotive industry call a third-tier tire maker.

Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli—these are first-tier companies that make very high-quality tires at a premium price. Second-tier companies might include General, Uniroyal, and Hankook. Third-tier companies focus on value over premium quality. Distributed in the U.S. by value tire giant TBC Corp, Sailun seems to embrace their position as a third-tier company while insisting that they can still make a well-priced tire that is good enough for daily drivers. 

Third Tier but Not Third Rate

Sailun actually offers quite a wide range of tires. Their most popular offering is probably the Atrezzo Z4+AS, which is categorized an an Ultra High-Performance tire. While it is by no means a winter-biased all-season, the Atrezzo is designed for wet and dry handling as well as some mild snow performance. The technology involved in the tire's manufacture is certainly impressive:

  • Silica-enhanced tread compound to increase wet and dry grip.
  • Solid center rib for better lateral stability and road comfort.
  • Aggressive high angle v-shaped grooves to enhance water evacuation, which in turn improves wet handling and hydroplaning resistance.
  • Grooved tread blocks to reinforce block stiffness and promote even load to improve handling and wear characteristics.
  • Tapered tread edges that provide uniform contact pressure for improved stability.
  • Shoulder tread block stabilizers that increase block stiffness for better control and stability.
  • Angled Micro-Sipes create biting edges to improve traction in wet and snow.
  • Unique shoulder profile that increases shock absorption.

The Atrezzo Z4+AS is available in 25 sizes and has a Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) of 380 AA A.

Test Driving

In 2013, Sailun held a ride-and-drive event to test out their new Z4+AS in TBC's backyard: Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida. Their method for letting journalists and dealers test the tire was entirely unique as far as our tester was concerned: They set up a blind test between their tire and a first-tier comparative, in which both tires had their identifying information completely buffed off the sidewalls. 

Sailun pitted their Z4+AS tires against Continental's Extreme Contact DWS, fitted on Mercedes C350 sedans. Testers took both tires out for a spin on public highways and roads near the track, followed by a high-performance handling course laid out on the track itself, which included slalom cones, evasion maneuvers, diminishing-radius turns, and a braking box.

In terms of handling, the Z4+AS did not in any real way match up to the Conti DWS. The tires engage slightly less quickly and are slightly less precise, so that the handling feels a bit muddy. There is a bit less grip, and the grip is a bit less progressive. The Atrezzos also showed a tendency to lose the rear end too easily under hard cornering, although minor throttle modulation was enough to save it from a full skid. More concerning was the tendency for the rear end to become unstable and start to swing out under hard braking, although braking distance was decent. Somewhat surprisingly, the tires actually seemed to perform marginally better in wet conditions than in dry. The Atrezzos did have a noticeably softer and smoother ride on the highway, however. Whether that is an advantage or not largely depends on whether drivers prefer sidewall response or sidewall comfort—both are valid choices.

The Bottom Line

Sailun's intent was not to show that their tires were better than the comparatives, but that the 30 percent price difference between their tires and the Conti DWS was not matched by a similar difference in quality or handling. In one sense, Sailun is absolutely correct. Their Atrezzo Z4+AS are certainly not as good as the Conti DWS, but it is by no means 30 percent worse in any one measure of handling. Maybe the cumulative effect of all the differences in handling might add up to 30 percent, but that becomes impossible to measure in any empirical or even reasonably subjective manner.

Although the comparison between the Atrezzo Z4+AS and Continental's DWS is nearly perfect—identical speed ratings and load ratings, for example—Sailun failed to mention that the treadwear ratings are not nearly comparable. While the DWS has a UTQG rating of 540, the Atrezzo is rated at 380, a significant difference in expected treadwear that even approaches that magical 30 percent bar. While UTQG ratings are very fuzzy things, even if the DWS lasts 20 perecent longer, the higher price may yet be a bargain in the long term.

In the final analysis, Sailun's tires are good enough for daily drivers who don't push their tires ​and safe enough for families to feel confident with. While they are somewhat slow to engage, slightly unstable under braking, and have a low treadwear rating, they do have decent handling and grip, and provide a smooth and comfortable ride.