Hard driving, aggressive tire wear, and a new set of non-OEM run-flats—the text came in from our test fleet manager, Erick Ayapana, describing the need to source new tires for the 228i xDrive because the current ones were worn beyond safe use. I told him I had recently driven the vehicle and hadn't seen any sort of excessive tire wear. He replied with a few photos of metal cords poking through the edges of rubber, which quickly squashed any debate.
Some inquiring staff members revealed that an enthusiastic colleague in our photography department had worked on sharpening his driving skills while returning from a photo assignment in the mountains near Lake Isabella, California, and quickly found the end of the tread life on the OEM Bridgestone Turanzas. Although the tires wore out much sooner than anticipated, we thought replacing them would be a straightforward exercise. We were wrong. Pandemic-induced tire shortages are now commonplace across the globe, and the Turanzas were unavailable from every site we searched. Therefore, we dialed up Tire Rack for professional guidance and asked them to suggest a suitable alternative.
The rep at Tire Rack suggested a tire from Bridgestone's Driveguard series. This series offers the benefit of pressure loss protection in case of a puncture for vehicles that didn't come with OEM run-flats when sold new. And although the 228i xDrive didn't come with run-flats, the supply shortage in its OEM tire meant switching to a Driveguard was a solid choice.
With the new tires mounted, we took the 228i xDrive to our test track to see if the new rubber gained us any advantage. Indeed, with the new Driveguards installed, we shaved 0.5 second off the 228i xDrive's figure-eight lap time, although we saw 5 feet added to the vehicle's 60-0 braking distance. Some give and take there, but overall they seem like a fine replacement for the unavailable OEM rubber. If there's more to tell, we'll let you know in a future update.