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>sorry scott, you're way off-base here.  to say that the tyres are not
>fundamental components to all manner of braking (and handling)
>is to fly in the face of the math.
>so i have no difficulty concieving of a car test where the vechile is panned
>because of tyres which are optimised for comfort (or even wet weather grip),
>rather than dry circuit performance.  michelins are notorious for providing
>lousy wet grip and superlative dry grip (reference autocar's recent tyre
>to illustrate this, read any comprehensive tyre test where the cars used are
>the same to equalise all possible variables, and then try and explain the
*>major* differences in wet and dry handling and braking that result from the
>differeing tyre makes (same profile and size) that results.
>i can quote you autocar's recent test if you'd like...
>maybe i misunderstood you?
Hardly.  Coulda woulda shoulda, has no reference.  C&D easily handed the
opinion that it was tires.  This old list cremudgeon just happened to drive a
said A8 with 17in wheels shod with SP8000 on a track, and found the at limit
handling to be still in the 'discombobulated' category (I blamed weight
balance and the center diff, the latter for obvious reasons).  Given the
apples to which the tires were compared, we can blame the tires, blame the
chassis, blame audi for having the stupidity, or give credit due with a moment
in time.  I argue blaming the tires is the easy route.  I also argue that as
much as one on a q-list would like to blame the tires, no one wants to look at
the other, just as plausable, causes for the subpar performance.  Bottom line,
I can look at all the tires in this test, and easily say apples and apples, no
oranges inserted.  No stellar tires.  I've driven my 44q with MXV4 tires and
found nothing good to say about them, period.  I also can look at 2 tons worth
of machines on 16in wheels and find statements of anyting resembling "comes
alive, and vernier guage" handling, to mean a whole bunch of good things must
be in that car to make those comments.  You get the body right, tires don't
make or break the test.  If indeed the test results were that simple, I argue
that audi has more stupidity than any other single issue here.  Especially
when MXV4's are one of the cheaper tires to boot.  

When you put marginal tires on a 4000lb sedan, you better have the right mix.
Putting an extra 500lbs of that pork over the front wheels than the rears, I
would expect a comment about tires.  More so, I give credit to BMW for taking
a 300lb heavier car with 7 more inches of wheelbase, older chassis, and
getting within .2% (that's 8.5lbs to the rear) of hitting 50/50 weight
distribution.  I've got a Urq 1200lbs less with a wheelbase 21inches less,
that can't do that.  So, the sum of that awd, has compromises.  Blame the
tires?  For what?  Not doing their job?  I, on the other hand, credit BMW for
making 16in wheels work well on a 4260lb car.  That is a feat my 44q can't
even do, with better tires.  

So, we can look at the test in terms of the tires.  Bottom line is, the others
competitors took the car and all it's appointments seriously, for every
driver, right off the showroom floor.  The same, regardless of the results,
can NOT be said for the boys in Ingolstat.  What's with that?  What does that
say about the corporate philosophy, and performance in general?  This is the
creme, this isn't accountants shopping squeeze oleo vs butter for cheap volume
bread.  What BMW and Lexus and the others showed in this test, is that choices
were made for the drive.  So tested.  It also may show to Audi, choices were
made for other reasons?  What might those exactly be? Seems to me, we should
be exploring that, not trying to trick the test in audis favor.

I'm laughing that a 740 can come in a close second (only on price, so noted),
with tires that were not only cheaper than what audi and Lexus chose, but are
old tech, and rather harsh mediocre ones at that.  So my exact thinking is,
that if one wants to up the tire ante on the A8, given the test, that 'call'
from the Lexus and BMW coulda-woulda-shoulda been even more devastating.  I
fault Audi for blowing the test, not the tires used in it.  I don't read a
first place comment "if the tires were better".  I do read a first place
comment if the price was lower on the 740.  That's a win for the second place
contender, cuz selling value is easier than selling excuses.  

A company on a focused mission needs no excuses.  Play, ante up, the
competition is serious.  And all current A8 owners jumping into the showroom
saying "Hey what's with the crappy tires you guys put on my sedan".  That
coulda, woulda shoulda have an even more dire sales consequence if the tires
exactly aren't the problem.

My .02

Scott Justusson