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Nice tyres for the dry they handle well provide plenty of grip in all circumstances and perform well/average in the wet as well. They are a "soft" tyre compound if there is such a thing for roads tyres and have used them on a variety of cars from Mk2 Golf GTI8v upto Saab 9-5 Aero (a seriously quick car). The Aero being a big heavy car had michelins on before and the ESP traction control just kept cutting in all the time, with the A539 corners I'd expect the traction to cut in just didnt so I could push the car more and as I write this they havent been properly scrubbed in yet having only done about 10miles so far! If you want a good tyre at a good price then get these, its what my local tyre fitter recommended to me a few years ago after the A509 was phased out and I get a discount on top of the already cheap price from Stortford Performance Tyres http://www.tyre-wheelgroup.com 225/45/17 for £103.40 including VAT, Balancing & Fitting. My Golf 195/55/?15? cost about £35.00 each so good prices imo and they supply a wide range of tyres from different manufacturers.
I can only comment on my A539s as I have no experience of any of their other tyres, and only limited experience of performance tyres from other manufacturers. Its the first 'performance' tyre I have ever bought and was stunned by the differnce they make, even on my tank-like, (1.8t) Nissan Almera 2.2 DiT... Of course they give superbly precise handling in the dry; (needing a powerful and controlled attitude to steering); I was hard pushed to get them to drift at all (probably due to the weight of a diesel engine), even pressing frictional limits, whereafter they would soon regain control; and scarily impressed by their wet grip too. Some might say that they can suddenly lose control if you brake too hard or corner too tightly at speed in the wet, but hey, what do you expect if you're exceeding the limits of friction in poor conditions? The problem, as you and many others point out, is the rate of wear. They stay true to form right up until nearing the end of their life (in my case getting thin after 9 months of often hard driving and 9000 miles), and only seem to degrade noticeably, in terms of handling in wet conditions, near the end of their usefulness. Personally I observed that they seem to wear almost a fast as a pencil eraser! Granted that Yokohama take stock of this by the very deep grooves (almost an inch on a new tyre) to compensate for the soft compound this tyre uses; and that I often pushed them very hard (being rushed for time or heavily laden): It does seems rather a short life-span to me. Thus it's all down to your own personal requirements and economics. Taking into account the trade-offs between wear and grip of both hard and soft compound tryes in your choice; you'd be hard pressed to find a tyre with is as much fun and versatility as this one, even if it will only last as long as you can afford or allow it to...
The latest purchase of tyres for my Fiesta Zetec was the Yokohama A539's. The price of £48 each seemed very reasonable for performance tyres. The first thing I noticed was the rather unique tread pattern which has nice diagonal criss-crosses in the middle of the tyre, although it's not quite as head turning as the Eagle F1's tread. The Yokohama's have been on the car for several weeks now and I'd say they are considerably better at gripping than my previous tyres which were Pirelli P700's and Falken 502's (admittedly budget tyres). The Yokohama's have a nice solid feel when steering, if a little heavy, and they virtually refuse to let go of the road in the dry even on the sharpest of corners. They also seem to handle hard braking very well even when dropping from as high as 70mph. The only slight letdown seems to be in wet conditions when they have occasionally lost their grip on bends when travelling at speed. Overall, I have found the A539's to be good tyres. Just take it easy in the wet!
I have had several different Yokohama tyres on several different cars. I would rate them generally as well above average. These A539's I would say are above average for Yokohamas. (Not quite the best) Basically they are very good in the dry. On corners they remain 'stiff' - they dont seem to give and just carry on gripping. In the wet they are also very good on corners. My only reservation has been extreem braking in the wet - a couple of times they locked when I had to stamp on the brakes (no ABS on that car!) there was, however, no other loss of control and grip returned immediatly. The best Yokohama I've had, was a directional one, the 'A510' This tyre just gripped and gripped in all conditions. Not unlike the A509 in pattern, but not assymetrical. They also did another one with variable tread depth 'A520' this was only good until the shallow part of the tread wore out. The A539 then? A very good all rounder.