Laufenn S Fit AS (Detailed) Review

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The ultra high performing Laufenn S Fit AS, is an all season tire that strikes a unique balance between affordability and traction. Offering a range of features tailored for drivers seeking a reliable all-season option, it showcases both appreciable strengths and notable areas for improvement.

GMC Terrain
Laufenn S Fit AS tested on GMC Terrain.

Key Takeaway

So, the Laufenn S Fit AS tire is doing great in terms of:

  • Lateral Grip: Exceptional performance with streamlined shoulders and minimal tread features.
  • Dry Directional Grip: Robust rubber composition and continuous central ribs offer ample rubber-to-road contact.
  • Tread Life: Balanced by a stiffer rubber composition and foundational supports, ensuring durability.

However, it needs improvements in:

  • Winter Performance: Lacks sufficient biting edges for effective snow traction.
  • Noise Reduction: The tire is relatively noisier, mainly due to less effective variable pitch technology.
  • Wet Performance: Limited by a smaller number of sipes, affecting its grip and braking in wet conditions.

Sizes and their Specs

comes in 16 to 20 inches, with sizes having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: V, W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 18 to 36 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 9.3 or 9.5/32″.
  • UTQG: 500 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles warranty.

Construction of the Tire

The Laufenn S Fit AS comes with an asymmetric tread pattern, like many other ultra high performing AS tires.

Laufenn S Fit AS
Laufenn S Fit AS middle most ribs is narrower.

Now, consider the 5 block columns, (which are actually called ribs) on the tread, which together form 4 circumferential grooves.

Out of them, see how outer shoulder ribs differ from one another.

I mean on one side, you see these shoulder lugs inter-connected with each other by a continuous running adjacent rib, (blocking the lateral voids).

While the other comes with a denser siping pattern, and prominent lateral voids going all the way through. (Though here lugs still have ridges placed in between them).

Moving towards the middle…

The central most rib is the narrowest of all, and carry linear sipes and notches.

And while the adjacent ribs have similar features, one of them come with zigzag/chamfered edges (facing shoulders), which Laufenn refer to as “Fin Technology”.

Internally, the tire comes with a single ply polyester, with 2 steel belts, and two ply nylon caps on top.

Dry Directional Grip

The concept of directional grip centers around the traction provided by a tire as it rolls in a straight line. This crucial characteristic is influenced by various factors, such as the tread design, the tire’s material composition, and most notably, the tire’s central footprint.

Here, the Laufenn S Fit AS offers decent results with its robust and rigid rubber composition, combined with continuous running central ribs.

While these provide ample rubber to road contact, the numerous sharp notches and chamfered edges (on outer ribs), allow for superb directional grip.

Now, the tire could have done a little better, if it didn’t have such narrower central most rib design, though still it does okay here after all.

Lateral Grip

The outer edges of a tire’s tread play a crucial role in determining its lateral grip, (calculated by ).

This grip is heavily influenced by the construction quality of the tire’s shoulders and sidewalls. These tread areas basically make the most contact with the road, while the tire turns.

In this regard, the Laufenn S Fit AS stands out impressively.

Its design includes streamlined shoulders with minimal tread features, enhancing rubber-to-road contact and, consequently, grip.

When compared to its peers in the budget category, especially those known for their best lateral traction, the S Fit AS holds a significant advantage.

I mean, it competes admirably with top-tier tires, and while it may not surpass them in performance, it excels remarkably, especially considering its budget-friendly price point.

To give you an idea here, the tire lacks behind the Sumitomo HTR AS PO3 (review) in lateral traction, by only 0.04 g (lateral G force measured on average).

Steering Feedback

The steering response of the Laufenn S Fit AS is among the best I’ve encountered in the ultra-high-performance, all-season budget category.

This tire is renowned for its immediate responsiveness to every steering input, making the vehicle feel more responsive, agile, and precise, thereby enhancing overall driving satisfaction.

So, what contributes to this tire’s outstanding performance?

This is attributed to the tire’s compact shoulder lugs, which are reinforced with additional foundational supports underneath.

Moreover, its internal steel belts feature folded edges, enhancing the tire’s steering responsiveness. This design makes its sidewalls more robust and prevents excessive flexing during harsh maneuvers.

This construction prevents the lugs from bending, allowing the tire to maintain perfect balance in understeering and oversteering situations.

That’s why the tire demonstrates the best handling times in tests compared to its direct competitors.

Tread Longevity

When discussing the tread longevity of the Laufenn S Fit AS tire, we need to consider both the tire’s construction and its rolling resistance.

Overall, the Laufenn S Fit AS offers an average tread life. It’s neither particularly impressive nor disappointing.

Let me the share the lacking things about this tire here first:

  • Shallower Tread Depth: The tread depth is less than 10/32″, which, while providing good stability on the road, leads to faster wear down to the 2/32″ (which is the tread depth limit in the U.S).
  • Greater Weight: It’s pretty self explanatory. The heavier weight of the tire increases pressure on the lugs as they rub against the road, leading to faster wear.
  • Enhanced Grip: The tire’s greater rubber-to-road contact and enhanced grip can lead to faster wear, similar to the other high-performance tires. That’s why you get speed ratings up to V here.

On the other hand, the tire has some advantages too, which facilitate its longer tread life.

  • Stiffer Rubber Composition: This helps in combating wear.
  • Supports Underneath Ribs: Adds durability against wear.
  • 3R System (Multi-Tread-Radius-Technology): Optimizes the tire’s ground contact area, slightly counteracting the wear due to its weight.

The overall result is an average tread life, supported by a 45k mile treadwear warranty. While this may not seem high compared to some tires, it’s quite reasonable within the ultra-high performance all-season category, where many tires don’t exceed 50k miles.

So, considering the performance aspects, it’s still a fairly good deal.

Wet Performance

Now, the tire offers a very decent grip on dry roads, offering a smooth rubber contact with less number of sipes. But as these sipes are crucial for wiping water away, the tire does not perform as great in wet conditions.

These sipes function as sponges. The water is basically pressured in between the tread and the road, and is squeezed/forced to go in to those siping slits, leaving behind the road relatively drier.

Therefore, with a fewer number of sipes, the tire falls short in braking and handling performance.

In simpler terms, when driving on wet roads, the S FIT AS tires steer okay, but they don’t grip the road as tightly and don’t stop as quickly as they should. This can make the car not turn as much as you want it to, a problem known as “understeer”.

Though, interestingly, these tires work better in situations where the car slides a bit, but you need to be careful and make extra adjustments to keep the car under control and prevent it from understeering too much.

Other than that, the tire offers pretty decent resistance to hydroplaning, with it’s fin technology, combined with its two other interconnected circumferential grooves.

These voids appreciably throw water out in both longitudinal and lateral directions, allowing for above average float speeds, leaving behind less water burden on sipes (from the start).

Which is great because it’s sipes with linear structures aren’t too effective. They basically tend to get stiffer with extreme maneuvering. In fact this is the main culprit in overall tire’s lacking performance here.

Overall Comfort

Ride comfort in a tire is influenced by how well it reduces noise and absorbs bumps, both of which depend on the tire’s (inner and outer) construction.

Laufenn here, gets the least overall comfort scores, compared to its direct competitors. And the main issue hurting is overall scores is its inability to mitigate road-noise.

Speaking of its noise reduction performance first, the tire is on the noisier side, where you hear a persistent, resonant growling sound and a sharp, drum-like echo when the tire goes over bumps.

(So you see this drum like echo generation from impacts, also hurt it’s road smoothness scores as well).

This echo is basically related to cavity noise, and it’s primary reason is the tire’s less effective variable pitch technology (also called pitch sequencing).

Though the tire is still good enough when it comes to bump comfort, where it offers satisfactory results, in absorbing road irregularities.

This is thanks to its 3D vibration analysis technology, which contributes to a good balance between comfort and control.

This tech basically influence the design of the tire’s center and shoulder tread patterns, ensuring that bumps are effectively smoothed out quickly.

For Your Info: In the realm of ultra high performance all-season tires, the General G MAX 07 (review) excels in overall ride comfort, and Laufenn here is the close 2nd.

Fuel Consumption

When evaluating the fuel efficiency of the Laufenn S Fit AS tire, factors like rolling resistance, tread composition, and the tire’s overall weight were considered.

And the result: This tire is just average in its category, providing fuel economy values right in the middle of the curve.

Now the bad thing about this tire is its slightly heavier weight, which of course require extra energy expenditure.

However, the tire does have some features that help against that.

It is reinforced underneath all its ribs, and it has a shallower tread depth compared to other tires.

So while the greater weight puts more pressure on the lugs, potentially causing them to bend, the shallower tread depth and foundational supports counteract this effect, (so less fuel energy is wasted in to heat).

Moreover, the tire also features the 3R system (Multi-Tread-Radius-Technology), which optimizes the tire’s ground contact area.

So with the tire moving, it’s momentum is kept limited, and less energy is required to brake, or turn, for example.

Winter Performance

The winter performance of the Laufenn S Fit AS tires shows some clear weaknesses, which explains why they don’t have the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake certification – a symbol of excellent winter grip.

(Actually this tri-peak symbol tells you about the tire’s superior acceleration performance, I talked about it more here).

So let me cut down to the chase here.

The main issue is that these tires don’t have enough biting edges, which are essential for good grip on snowy roads.

And sure they have multiple sharp notches (on the 3 middle ribs), they still aren’t that effective at capturing snow particles in, to create snow-to-snow contact.

This contact is one of the most important factors on snow, as snow sticks better to itself than to rubber, so a tire that can trap more snow in its treads would perform better, overall.

Moreover, the tire only comes with linear sipes, and although they are multi-directional, they aren’t thermally adaptive. Meaning, they become stiffer with freezing temperatures, reducing the effectiveness of the tire’s grip even further.

To Sum Things Up

So overall, you get a good budget pick here, with some drawbacks, and a lot of strengths.

First off the tire offers good enough tread life, fuel economy, and overall comfort.

Well, comfort wise, it does lack a little in providing good enough noise dampening, but in terms of road smoothness its great.

Moreover, the tire offers decent dry directional grip due to its robust rubber composition, but is slightly limited by its narrower central rib design.

And yes, the Laufenn’s lateral grip is also pretty impressive, making it competitive even against top-tier tires.

However, it falls short in areas like winter performance due to insufficient biting edges and noise reduction, primarily because of less effective variable pitch technology.

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