Having met 50 separate criteria and several other strict quality, safety, precision and comfort requirements, Hankook has been selected as the original equipment manufacturer for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and will provide several different tire sizes and types for the luxury vehicle including summer, winter and all-season versions.
For the European market the tire maker will provide summer tires in the form of the Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 in sizes ranging from 255/50 R18 to 285/40 R19. Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2 tires will be used as winter tires in a size 255/50 R18 and 255/45 R19 for the top Mercedes-Benz model.
Both versions of the tires now feature an aramid hybrid reinforcement belt to improve driving behavior, while the Winter i*cept evo 2 now benefits from optimized tread stiffness to deliver better handling and extended mileage.
“During the transition from the first to the second casting, we applied additional cross-braces and a lower tread depth,” explained Klaus Krause, head of the Hankook Europe Technical Center in Hanover. “Narrower lateral tread grooves and a modified contour on the second upper groove once again brought about measurable progress in terms of noise comfort.”
Hankook will also provide runflat versions of the Ventus S1 evo 3 and the Winter i*cept evo 2.
During development Hankook’s engineers also identified room for improvement within the manufacturing process, with a new mold release method being utilized for the production of all-season and winter tires. Previously, the even separation of the green tire and the mold was ensured by eight mold sectors with nearly identical angles. Now the manufacturer uses nine or 11 sectors with different angles to aid in meeting the company’s strict uniformity goals. The new process also delivers more harmonious rolling characteristics.
For the US market, the tire maker will provide its all-weather Hankook Ventus S1 noble 2 runflat tires in a size 255/45 R19 and a 255/40 R20 Ventus S1 noble 2 for additional noise comfort. Featuring the Mercedes Original Extended Silent (MOE-S) label on the sidewall, the tire is said to be particularly quiet. The manufacturer’s engineers applied Hankook Sound Absorber technology during the manufacturing stage, consisting of applying a special polyurethane foam plate within the tire’s body which subsequently minimizes vibrations of the air column, reducing peak noise level by 5-7 dB(A).
To ensure tires would be suitable for the vehicle, Hankook used complex simulation tools, especially when optimizing products for pass-by noise. The tools helped Hankook to precisely compare the values calculated in advance with the actual noise development of prototype tires.
Much of the development work took place at the company’s R&D center the Hankook Technodome, while real-world testing was conducted on tracks in Germany, Finland and Spain.