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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Aug-13-2017, 04:07:33 AM   #1
Cha5en
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Default Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

The purpose of this review is to give an unbiased and first-hand experience review of the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. Why? Because like most of you, I too appreciate finding value where I can as a driving enthusiast.

Size tested: 225/40 255/35 19 ZCP's (OE tire sizing)
Price: $534 shipped from TireRack.com

Suspension specs: Refreshed/healthy OE everything. The springs do have 107k of miles, but everything else is 30k, or less, with the RTAB's having less than 4k miles on them. A full alignment to OE specs with max negative rear camber was done immediately after mounting the tires.

Break in: 200+ miles were put on the tires in very warm conditions/grainy roads prior to dry weather traction testing. However, there was no significant slippery feeling from the tires even while breaking them in.

TLDR: While my verdict isn't final, as I'd like more time with these after a suspension overhaul, my initial impression of these is that they are a buy for a majority of owners. They have satisfied my above average standard of NVH and spirited driving traction. As stated, I'll need more time with these to fully review them, so please keep that in mind in regards to longevity/wear/limit pushing traction.

Note: I'm comparing these to Michelin's Pilot Super Sports, which I've run multiple times before and are what I removed from the car to install these.

Noise: Minimal road noise is transmitted into the cabin, even on grainy roads. In comparison, I found them to be slightly less or equal noise to the PSS. The road tested on was 84E/W here in the PNW. This is a very grainy highway paved for rain traction as it's connecting Portland to East OR, which sees snow and rain every season. Above 80mph there is a definite noise, however, the PSS exhibit that as well. In further comparison, the Michelin Defenders which are found as a common option for luxury sedans (Acura TL in my case) are also noisy at 80+ on this highway. At speeds less than 75mph, you can easily have a gf or passenger fall asleep without complaints.

Vibration: Tested at speeds above 100mph via GPS, there was no abnormal vibration transmitted into the wheel. No corrections were needed in steering as the car continued to remain compliant through acceleration up to speed. These tires are rated for speeds up to 168mph. Please refer to the manufacturer's speed rating to confirm my statement.

Harshness: Another passing grade, as there is no excess harshness in comparison to a PSS. In fact, this is where I'm happiest with these, as they make the 19" wheel size comfortable enough to keep on the car. I've been pleasantly surprised thus far, however, I'd like to come back to this section once the tires are a bit more worn in, and I've swapped the suspension out to my future setup that will extract and ask more of the tires than the OE does.

Dry Traction/Spirited driving: This is also an area id like to come back to, however, it's worth noting that there's adequate enough grip for OE suspension, to the point where they will help you work out your weak points. The issue I found today was the OE dampers, even at 30k miles, do not provide me with enough rebound to feel confident under turn in and esses (where the cars pitch/momentum is quickly changed) some others who have reviewed may be mistaking this as a tire issue, and it still could be, however, I can not conclusively state that given my own personal experience with suspension and chassis setups.

Often in reviews, I've seen enthusiasts claim the tires hold up well on high-speed cornering, but not so much on low-speed turn in. This indicates to me that the reviewers may be unaware of how suspension damping/setup affects a cars performance, and how changing the suspensions hardware and alignment can get the most from the tires.

My winter project on the car is to replace the healthy OE setup with Koni/Dinan/Monoball, and add larger sway bars. This retains a level of the e46 M3's comfort while providing a slightly lower COG and more roll resistance, which if balanced correctly, translates to more consistency in steering feel. Again, IMO consistency and improved feel are what allow the average driver to "go faster". The OE setup is capable of nearly equal performance, however, it does not feel as linear up to its limit as the setup mentioned above.

I believe it's important always take into consideration the condition of your suspension when reviewing, as a weak point will make itself known if you're understanding of your hardware.

Overall for a max performance summer tire, my opinion is that these are a buy considering the price for 4 in OE 19 sizing. Are they as good as a PSS/4? My experience tells me at the limit of dry traction, they don't quite equal them, but offer more than enough traction for the average, and even above average M3 driver. These vastly out perform all other street tires I've tried in the same category, with the PSS being the benchmark/exception.

Are they okay for track use? Yes and No. Yes if your idea of track use is 1 or 2 events per season/year with casual performance driving, i.e. not pushing the boundaries of traction each corner and running session long enough to overheat the tires. This is the same for PSS, so there's no winner here. Like the PSS, when truly pushed/overheated, I suspect they will grain and degrade rapidly. This is why tires like the NT01 and RS3 were designed. If you're serious into tracking/HPDE's, you'll want to run a tire that is purpose designed for track use, so not these or any other street performance category tire.

Appearance: While I personally do not rate tires on appearance, I feel it's relevant to comment that with my OE tire size choice on the OE ZCP wheels, the tires do show a small amount of poke, however, this is not concerning or relevant IMO. The PSS do have a meatier look, so if you wish to achieve that, you'll need to run a wider size tire for the wheels mentioned above.

Thanks for reading and I hope some find this review useful.
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Old Sun, Aug-13-2017, 04:10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW











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Old Sun, Aug-13-2017, 04:59:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

Glad you like them! My experience with these was that they continue to get better with age weirdly enough. I can honestly say I got more dry grip now than I did 6 months ago. I can't break traction on a newly paved road if i try lol
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Old Sun, Aug-13-2017, 05:02:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

I am running this tire as well, however I still new on how to get the maximum performance out of alignment specs.

I like it, but as you say it let's you notice the flaws with your car. I get a lot of bodyroll once the tire get to operating temperature and starts to hook.

I do a lot of mountain runs and they hook really good, occasionally I get understeer but not blaming the tire. The car came with cheap coilovers, hopefully once I get decent coilovers and a dedicated alignment I get the really enjoy these tires.


I'm running 235/45/17 255/40/17

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Old Sun, Aug-13-2017, 03:00:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

PSS master race.


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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 06:18:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

Waiting for the shitty Falkens Ziex the PO installed to wear out, then will give these a shot based on forum reviews. Thanks for the feedback
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 09:04:20 PM   #7
Cha5en
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Default Re: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW

Quote:
Originally Posted by HassanEido View Post
Glad you like them! My experience with these was that they continue to get better with age weirdly enough. I can honestly say I got more dry grip now than I did 6 months ago. I can't break traction on a newly paved road if i try lol
You're not trying hard enough! But good to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by miguellara420 View Post
I am running this tire as well, however I still new on how to get the maximum performance out of alignment specs.

I like it, but as you say it let's you notice the flaws with your car. I get a lot of bodyroll once the tire get to operating temperature and starts to hook.

I do a lot of mountain runs and they hook really good, occasionally I get understeer but not blaming the tire. The car came with cheap coilovers, hopefully once I get decent coilovers and a dedicated alignment I get the really enjoy these tires.


I'm running 235/45/17 255/40/17

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
Are you running these on an e36?

I didn't try to get the tires into temp, as they're street tires, so they pretty much worked just from casual driving to the twisty road. Glad to hear you're enjoying these as well, though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SunD3v1L View Post
PSS master race.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I need more time with these, mainly to see how long they last, and if their comfort/noise changes with time, but even if they last within 85% of the time that a PSS does, I'd be comfortable with saying these are a no-brainer in value. Before these, the cost savings margin to PSS with other brands wasn't worth it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Waiting for the shitty Falkens Ziex the PO installed to wear out, then will give these a shot based on forum reviews. Thanks for the feedback
Yikes! Yes, these will be an upgrade that you'll enjoy. I still have more feedback I'd like to give. I'll be doing a timed event/Hill Climb this weekend with the car, so hoping to scrub them a bit more and see what they feel like when I have more room than just one lane (I'm stickler for staying in my own lane, no excuses, when doing my public driving) to push and slide them a bit.
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Discussing Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 REVIEW in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)