Tire buying time can be a fun time, especially when looking for your next high-performance set of tires. Though not the most expensive tires on the market, Pirelli and Bridgestone make some of the best high-performance tires there are.
Deciding which brand and then which tire to pick is the hard part. Both companies are so closely matched in the high-performance category it is almost impossible to pick which one to go with. All I can say is that when it comes time to buy my set of winter tires, I’m going with Bridgestone’s Blizzaks.
Pirelli Tires History
Having been founded in 1872, Pirelli has a studious 150-year worth of experience under its name. The Italian company with its headquarters in Milan, Italy, is the world’s second-oldest tire company. Second, only in age to Continental Tires, Pirelli is currently the Sith largest tire company in the world.
Bringing in a net income of 42.7 million euros in 2020 the founding father, Giovanni Battista Pirelli would surely be proud. During the 1950s Pirelli management wanted to let the world know of their success and commissioned the Pirelli tower. The skyscraper was the idea of Alberto Pirelli, and it was a testimony of Pirelli’s might.
A stand-out invention of Pirelli’s was the “wide radial tire.” The design was created at the request of the Lancia rally racing team as there were no racing tires on the market which could fulfill their needs. The tire was so successful that the same tires were soon used on the Porsche 911 Turbo.
Though motorsports and skyscrapers are certainly impressive, these were not the main marketing focuses of Pirelli. The Pirelli brand wanted to engrave its name on anything lavish and outstanding. Pirelli promoted many events and works of art that would turn heads and even had a few advertising campaigns there were a little suggestive for the time.
Currently, Pirelli carries on its success in the motorsports world as they are the exclusive tire supplier for not only the FIM World Superbike Championship but also the pinacol of motorsports, the Formula One World Championship.
There are however some concerns on the horizon for Pirelli. In 2015 the China National Chemical Corp. Ltd. (ChemChina) became the majority shareholder of the Pirelli company. Though the ChemChina did not change the company’s ownership structure right away, they only promised not to change it until 2023.
As the ChemChina is a Chinese state-owned company, there are many concerns as to the future of Pirelli as a whole. For the moment, however, Pirelli is a trusted brand that delivers some excellent high-performance tires.
Pirelli Tire Families
With such a vast amount of experience and time in the field Pirelli has a large selection of tire for any shape or size vehicle. Though you are sure to find a dependable tire for any of the six Pirelli lines, the P Zero is Pirelli’s most famous as their high-performance tire line.
The P Zero is Probably Pirelli’s most well-known line and has a total of eleven different tires. It is Pirelli’s high-performance tire line designed for both passenger vehicles and SUVs. Only five of the tires will fit SUVs whereas all eleven tires will fit on cars.
Just about all the tires have the common rating from Pirelli’s of “sport” or “performance,” apart from the P Zero Nero M+S. Though all these tires are classed as high-performance, there is a wide variety to pick from. For the majority, the differences come in the form of manageable conditions such as winter, all-season, and summer conditions.
All nine Cinturato tires are high-performance tires designed to give your passenger vehicle the best fuel economy possible from Pirelli. The majority of these tires are designed for all seasons while giving you a touring tire style quality. Some of these tires will also help you save fuel during the winter and in urban environments.
In recent years the explosion in popularity of SUVs and crossovers has been felt throughout the world, and Pirelli has responded. All fifteen tires in the Scorpion line are designed for SUVs and crossovers and as is custom for Pirelli, they are all classed as High-performance tires, no matter the application they are built for.
As one would expect for fifteen tires in one line, there is a huge variety of applications for which the tires are designed. From touring tires to all-terrain tires, to full winter tires with the three peaks symbol, you will find what you need for your SUV in this tire line.
The Sottozero is Pirelli’s high-performance winter tire line designed for cars. All three tires have around the same price and are different from each other in the severity of the winter condition they can handle.
With currently only one tire in this line it is Pirelli’s smallest tire line along with the stand-alone P4™ Four Seasons Plus. As you can probably tell by the name, this is also a winter tire, though it is in a much higher class than the Sottozero tire line. The Ice Zero FR is built to handle extreme weather conditions such as the Nordic winters and as the name suggests, it provides maximum stability on ice.
P4™ Four Seasons Plus
The P4™ Four Seasons Plus is less a tire family and more like a stand-alone tire. The reason for this is that it takes a step back from what the norm is when it comes to Pirelli. The P4™ Four Seasons Plus is designed as a longer-lasting tire with fuel-saving performance, all the while fulfilling the budget tire category as the cheapest tire from Pirelli.
Founded in 1931, Bridgestone is over half a century younger than Pirelli, this has however, not stopped Bridgestone from become the largest and most successful tire manufacturer in the world. Bridgestone was named after the founder; Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi = Stone, Bashi = Bridge), in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan.
During World War Two the company headquarters was destroyed by allied bombers, however, the factories were untouched, allowing the company to quickly restart production once the war was over. The company’s success can be accredited to three main aspects.
First, the company focused on technological innovations to get ahead of competitors. In 1967 the company was selling their own radial tires which they developed in their Tokyo plant’s new Technical Centre.
Another great stride forward was an adoption of a different company culture which vastly improved quality control. You may know of this as the Deming plan, named after W. Edwards Deming. A plan which is taught in many business classes today.
Finally, starting in 1965, Bridgestone undertook a massive overseas expansion campaign which is what makes them such a powerful company today. Their first expansion was a new factory in Singapore, and now part of their expansion process involves buying competitors like Firestone.
Bridgestone also had its stint in Formula One. Some even credit Bridgestone as the usurper to the Goodyear crown in Formula One. Though they were not in the sport long enough to take all the titles from Goodyear, Bridgestone still proved formidable, being the main tire supplier for Scuderia Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.
Today Bridgestone has taken all they have learned through their many years of experience to give you the best high-performance tire you can get. Through their achievements, Bridgestone is the biggest tire supplier in the world with around 143,616 employees as of 2017.
Bridgestone’s Tire Families
If you want extremely high-quality tires, Bridgestone has what you want. The tires they are most well-known for are their high-performance tires, run-flats, and the Blizzak winter tires. Bridgestone also has a wide variety of passenger and light truck/SUV tires that can meet any need.
If you are looking for tires for a sports car or a high-performance vehicle the Potenza is your one-stop shop. There are six tires in this line which all have slightly different attributes. Their differences allow you to tailor your tire to your needs.
Potenza tires have an optimized contact patch which distributes pressure evenly, giving you excellent grip to deliver maximum power to the road surface. Advanced shoulder stiffness provides responsive steering unlocking cornering abilities from your vehicle.
The Alenza tire is Bridgestone’s premium highway and all-season tire. There is only one tire in this line. That is not an issue, as there really only needs to be one. The tire is made to be used with Luxury SUVs, CUVs, and light trucks.
The Alenza provides an excellent balance between dry, wet, and winter conditions, coupled with longevity and a smooth ride. Bridgestone gives the Alenza an 80,000-mile warranty which goes to show how much trust they put in their tire.
The Turanza is similar to the Alenza in usage and mileage but targeted at passenger vehicles and more on the touring side of things. There is also only one tire in this family but because it is more aimed at passenger vehicles, it is targeted at customers that want a smoother, quieter ride.
The Dueler is Bridgestone’s off-roading tire. It is made to be used all-season round and lasts for many miles. Bridgestone advertises all seven of their Dueler tires as being versatile, with responsive handling, ultimate traction, and armed with technologies that deliver durability and a good tread life.
The impressive Driveguard is Bridgestone’s run-flat tire. Though there is only one tire in this group, it is sold in many different sizes. Not only does the tire sport Bridgestone’s run-flat technology that allows you to drive up to 50 miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph after a puncture, but it is also a comfortable ride in both wet and dry conditions.
Ecopia is Bridgestone’s eco tire. It is designed to have minimal roll resistance in order to save fuel. There are two Ecopia’s, the ECOPIA H/L 422 PLUS and the ECOPIA EP422 PLUS. They are both designed to give you a quiet and comfortable ride while saving fuel. The former is designed for SUV’s, CUV’s, and minivans, while the latter is built for sedans and minivans.
Blizzak tires are Bridgestone’s winter tires and are credited for singlehandedly eliminating the need for studded tires in Japan over one season. Most Blizzak tires are advertised as being quiet and comfortable as well as fully winter-ready, be it ice or snow.
Differences Between Pirelli and Bridgestone Tires
Arguably these two companies make the best high-performance tires in the world, when it comes to high performance they are just about a draw. On price and raw performance, they are about equal, and the scales will tip in either way, depending on the specific tire.
However, there are a couple of general statements that can be made when it comes to the differences between the two. Firstly, Bridgestone tires will most likely last a little longer. The Pirelli compound is simply a little softer, so you lose more tread to the road than you do with Bridgestone.
Secondly, Bridgestone tires, will on average be a bit more comfortable. Lastly, Bridgestone makes some of the best winter tires money can buy, and this can be seen in their all-season tires as well. An additional note is that Bridgestone has vastly improved their run-flat tires in the last few years and now has some of the best in the world in that regard.
Advantages of Pirelli Tires
- Long and dependable history
- Excellent high-performance tires
- Good SUV and light truck tire line
Advantages of Bridgestone
- Excellent high-performance tires
- Excellent winter tires
- Durable run flat tires
Which Brand to Choose
At the end of the day, it is a hard choice between Bridgestone and Pirelli. Bridgestone does have a few more “tires” in its court when it comes to durability, winter tires, and run flats, but all in all the two companies’ performance tires are very closely matched.
Tire performances and attributes are different from tire to tire. Additionally, these companies are constantly adapting and changing their rubber formulas which means a tire’s performance may change over time. The above makes it so important to look up specific and current reviews for each of the tires you are looking at.