What are they?
Bridgestone’s Weather Control A005 is one of a number of all-season tyres that are blurring the lines between a winter and a summer tyre. Rather than having two sets of tyres, the A005 was created to be tough enough to be rated for winter use - the 3PMSF marking means it has been approved for countries that require winter tyres during certain times of the year - but with enough dry grip, efficiency and refinement to be used in the summer too.
Bridgestone says that of the 15,000 drivers polled during its design, the wet grip was rated the most important factor, and the A005 was designed to perform well in these conditions, achieving an EU A-rating for wet grip. Most sizes are rated C for rolling resistance, with some rated B.
What are they like?
A quick look at the A005s reveals a chunkier tread and deeper grooves than you would expect to see on a summer tyre, which are necessary to give additional grip in snow and shift water in wet conditions. Once on the car, however, there’s little to tell them apart from regular rubber, so they won’t spoil the look of your car if that is a concern.
In dry conditions, there is almost no discernible compromise in how the A005 performs. Despite the taller tread blocks, the steering response is positive and grip levels are as close to a conventional tyre as makes no difference; if you have a high-performance car and regularly like to corner at or beyond the limit of grip then a conventional summer tyre may be a better choice - but for the vast majority of drivers the difference will be undetectable.
Conversely, in wet weather conditions, the increased confidence is highly reassuring, with strong braking performance and cornering grip beyond the reach of a summer tyre. There was no opportunity to try the tyre in snow or icy conditions, but the design should outperform a summer tyre comprehensively and get close to the grip offered by a full winter tyre.
The only downside of the A005s is the slight increase in tyre noise at speed caused by the taller tread blocks. How significant this is will depend on your car; newer models with greater overall refinement will be less affected by this.
Should I buy them?
If you want to avoid the hassle of having two sets of tyres, the Bridgestone A005s are a well-judged compromise. The vast majority of drivers will not notice any difference in dry performance compared to a summer tyre, but the extra reassurance of winter grip will be welcomed by all.
With comparable fuel economy and only a small increase in road noise over conventional tyres, the Weather Control tyres are a good value choice for conventional cars and a wide range of buyers.