Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 Review

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Pirelli raises the bar with the Cinturato All Season SF2, promising a 50% longer tread life than its previous model. However, longevity is just one aspect of tire performance. And it’s time to find how well it does in other critical (performance) areas.

Elantra Hyundai
With Elantra’s great cabin insulation, and Cinturato All Season SF2 on, you get one of the quietest rides.

Quick Takeaway

The Pirelli SF2 performs well in the following areas:

  • Dry Performance: Exhibits superior traction and steering responsiveness on dry surfaces, with a tightly packed central tread and zigzag notches, contributing to shorter braking distances and improved linear grip.
  • Winter Performance: Excels in cold conditions, thanks to its thermally adaptive rubber compound, abundant siping, and unique tread design.
  • Road Noise Reduction: Stands out as one of the quietest tires in its category.

However, it requires improvement in:

  • Wet Performance: Lacks behind in wet conditions, particularly due to a scarcity of flexible sipes and a rigid rubber compound.
  • Fuel Efficiency: The tire comes with more adhesive tread compound, which generates a lot of rolling resistance.
  • Tread Life: While it offers around 40k miles of use, the softer rubber composition and structural design trade off longevity for winter performance. So it’s just average here, (can be improved).

Construction Features

The Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 comes with a very nice looking directional tread pattern.

Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2
Pirelli SF2 comes with a top-notch pitch sequencing tread.

And being directional, although it forms V shaped pattern, it can still be segmented into five distinct (block) columns or ribs.

Meaning, you can clearly see 4 circumferential grooves formations, where the central most is the narrowest and has a zigzag design.

(This basically enhances the tire’s water dispersion properties, aiding hydroplaning resistance).

Now this central most channel is due to the lugs being interlocked, with each other.

Moreover, they also have notches facing outwards, giving them a kind of a “F” shape.

Other than that, these lugs also come with linear sipes, of various designs, and a lot of them have chamfered edges too, (which aids in braking).

Compare Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 with:

Info on Sizes

Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 comes in 65 total sizes, in 15 to 20 inches wheels. And they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Weight range: 16 to 32 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ (or 8 mm) on most sizes.
  • UTQG: 500 A A.
  • Treadwear warranty: None.
  • All sizes have 3PMSF and M+S ratings.
  • Some sizes also feature run-flat design.

Road Noise

Road noise is influenced by several factors, with the interaction of air being predominant. Let me explain.

As a tire rotates, air particles, especially those entering the tire (mostly from the shoulder area), collide with the tread walls, generating noise.

Having said that, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season excels in minimizing this noise, thanks to its thoughtful, and well engineered design.

Now, sure the tire features proper lateral voids between shoulder lugs, allowing air particles to come in easily. They are designed to minimize impact noise, as the are:

  • Constructed with special rubber composition.
  • Have variable pitch tread.

The composition of a tire has some polymers, which are exceptionally efficient at absorbing noise waves instead of echoing them, thus preventing in-groove resonance.

Additionally, the tire’s pitch sequencing pattern is further generating various tones/frequencies, as air particles hit the tread walls.

And those tones then (try to) cancel out each other.

As a result, the Pirelli SF2 emerges as one of the quietest tires in the grand touring all-season category.

Dry Performance

In examining a tire’s capabilities on dry surfaces, my analysis zeroes in on two critical aspects: the tire’s traction and its steering responsiveness.

Let check them out one by one.

Dry Traction

Traction is dissected into directional grip and lateral hold, (I’ll talk about the later in the next section).

For the directional grip, which is primarily influenced by the tire’s contact patch, especially the central tread area, we gauge it by braking distance as it’s a reflection of the tire’s ability to maintain a straight line.

In head-to-head tests, the Pirelli SF2 tire reveals superior performance against many of its rivals, primarily due to its tightly packed central lugs and the zigzag pattern within the central circumferential groove.

This design not only enhances grip but also promotes even weight distribution across a rounded contact patch, which in turn reduces momentum inertia and facilitates a quicker stop.

To quantify, the Cinturato tire consistently achieves braking distances that are, on average, nearly 3 feet shorter than those of the Crossclimate 2 (review it here), underscoring its exceptional linear grip under dry conditions.

Overall Handling

Now overall handling of a tire depends on it’s lateral grip, and steering responsiveness, and in this regard, the Cinturato All Season SF2 is doing a great job.

Focusing on lateral traction first, which is measured by the g-forces exerted at the pinnacle of a turn, the Pirelli tires slightly surpass the average, delivering an additional 0.3g of force compared to the standard 7.5g offered by its (direct) competitors.

This superior traction comes from it’s streamlined shoulder design, where lugs have minimal tread elements, so they are able to maximize the rubber’s contact with the road for better grip.

Moreover, I also don’t have any complaints in regards to the tire’s steering feedback.

The tire delivers precise and immediate reactions to (all kinds of) various driving inputs, thanks to its well-crafted internal architecture. Integral to this design is the use of spirally-wound nylon cords, which significantly add to the tire’s overall stability.

Moreover, the tire’s rounded contact patch also plays a very important role here, ensuring a smoother transition of weight across the tire’s shoulders and central ribs (and vice versa), during cornering maneuvers.

Nonetheless, there’s still room for improvement, I mean when compared against the best tire here (in grand touring all season tires), the Pirelli falls short by approximately 1.5 seconds in overall handling time, (on lap tests).

Wet Performance

Evaluating tire performance in wet conditions hinges on three pivotal elements: traction, steering responsiveness, and hydroplaning resistance. Let’s explore each of these.


Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tire and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to control inputs, (as the tire is technically floating).

Now to mitigate this, tires are designed with grooves, and how effective they are in channeling water away, defines the resistance to hydroplaning.

Having said that, the Pirelli SF2, being a directional tire, excels in water evacuation due to its V-shaped tread pattern, and rounded contact patch.

The rounded patch applies increased pressure at the center of the tire, effectively forcing water out through the grooves (which provide the effective pathways), that extend toward the edges of the tire.

This efficient water displacement design allows the Cinturato All Season to achieve some of the fastest float speeds, maintaining control and stability during both straight-line and cornering maneuvers in wet conditions.

For Your Info: Float speeds measure the speed at which a tire begins to lose traction and “float” or “hydroplane”, on top of water (often a few millimeters deep), instead of maintaining contact with the road surface. Here I use telemetry system to accurately record the moment when the tires lose traction.

Wet Braking and Handling

In wet conditions, the intricate interplay between grooves and sipes is vital for tire performance. Now, as already explained the grooves are responsible for directing majority of water away from the tire, while sipes come in later, tackling residual moisture.

These sipes work by flexing to create a vacuum that pulls water in, enabling the rubber and tread elements to maintain contact with the road. And that’s where Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 lacks behind.

The tire suffers from a scarcity of sipes and those present lack sufficient flexibility. Their predominantly linear pattern tends to become rigid, especially during aggressive driving, which diminishes their effectiveness.

Additionally, the tire’s harder rubber compound further restricts the sipes’ flexibility.

So the result? You get 2 seconds lacking (wet lap) times on tests (on average), compared to the Vredestein Quatrac Pro (review), which leads in this category of top grand touring tires.

Side Note: The Pirelli SF2 still does better here compared to Crossclimate 2.

Fuel and Tread Usage

When evaluating both tread longevity and fuel efficiency, rolling resistance is a key factor, which itself is influenced by the tire’s weight, tread depth, and overall composition.

Now considering all these factors, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 isn’t quite able to hit the mark in both, (especially, when evaluated against it’s direct competitors here). But why?

Well, the primary issue lies in its relatively more pliant tread compound.

This softer rubber composition tends to:

  • Be more adhesive on roads, increasing friction during rolling.
  • Cause lugs to flex/bend while cornering (where the tire’s voided up shoulders also have a significant role to play).

Needless to say, both of these cause energy loss, where its often converted into heat (or used in reshaping the tread), thereby reducing overall fuel economy.

And that heat further impact’s the tire’s overall treadwear life.

Nevertheless, it still manages to provide an approximate mileage of around 40,000 miles, despite the lack of a warranty.

Winter Performance

The All Season SF2 excels in winter conditions, as evidenced by its 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake certification, a testament to its winter-specific capabilities.

This tire is designed with a resilient rubber compound that remains flexible in cold climates, essential for maintaining grip on icy roads.

The key to its winter performance lies in its multiple features:

  • Thermally Adaptive Rubber: This material enables the tire to remain flexible in cold temperatures. The flexibility is crucial for the tire’s ‘biters’ to effectively grip into snow and ice, even under severe winter conditions.
  • Abundant Siping: The tire coming with a high number of sipes, akin to those found on dedicated winter tires. These sipes provide micro-level traction/bite on icy surfaces, significantly improving ice handling capabilities.
  • Unique Tread Design: The tire features specialized notches and grooves that facilitate snow-to-snow contact. This design principle is based on the fact, that snow adheres better to itself than to rubber, enhancing grip in (soft) snowy conditions, particularly.
  • Directional Tread Pattern with V-Shaped Lugs: This pattern again plays a vital role when it comes to soft snow traction. The V-shaped lugs effectively scoop out snow from the tire’s path, throwing it backwards, and generating a forward momentum, as a result, improving acceleration on snow-covered roads.

So with the combination of all these (above-mentioned) factors, the Pirelli Cinturato offers above average winter handling capabilities, making it a robust choice for winter-focused all-season driving.

For Your Info: If you still need a better winter performer (in all season grand touring category), you should check out Nokian SeasonProof (review).

Road Vibrations Comfort

Comfort on the road is shaped by various factors, including the tire’s internal and external structure, tread composition, and design.

And in this aspect, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season SF2 is a pretty good tire, (based on personal assessments).

This tire is relatively softer compared to its peers, a characteristic beneficial for all-season tires, as this composition allows for a smoother ride by effectively absorbing road irregularities.

However, it’s important to balance softness with stability. Excessively soft tires can compromise motion control, leading to a less agile or “floating” sensation during driving.

Thankfully, this is not an issue with the Pirelli, which strikes a balance between softness for comfort and firmness for stability.

Ending Note

So overall, the Pirelli SF2 comes with a lot of surprises and drawbacks.

On dry roads, it offers superior traction and steering responsiveness, thanks to it’s well-designed tread and internal architecture.

However, in wet conditions, it falls short, particularly in wet lap times due to limited sipe flexibility and a rigid rubber compound.

Fuel efficiency and tread life are compromised by its softer, more pliant tread compound, leading to increased rolling resistance and energy loss, although it still manages around 40,000 miles of use.

Though this softer rubber allows for superb snow traction (as it contain thermally adaptive polymers).

Yet the strongest point of this tire is it’s ability to provide/maintain a quieter ride. It’s in fact the quietest tires I’ve ever seen (in its category).

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