Now, tyre safety goes beyond a puncture, it also involves fitting a trusted and more importantly a proven set of tyres. We spent some time with Continental - which we found out don’t just make tyres - to see what they have on offer.
“As one of the world’s largest tyre and automotive systems manufacturers, Continental is continuously researching and developing new technologies and products that enhance driving safety,” says Niel Langner, Marketing Manager for Continental Tyre South Africa.
Continental is making crucial strides towards improving driving safety with the introduction of two new products: the highly responsive new lightweight MK C1 braking system, and the cutting-edge ultra-high performance SportContact 6 tyre.
This is driven by Continental’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate road traffic collisions, injuries and fatalities. Vision Zero is a comprehensive approach towards road safety, combining Continental’s class-leading tyres, the advanced automotive systems produced by the company such as latest-generation ABS brakes and electronic stability control (ESC), and the development of networked communication systems that allow vehicles to interact with the surrounding traffic.
Continental has officially commenced series production of its MK C1 Integrated Braking System (IBS) for the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia models. The electronic brake system is more dynamic, lighter and more compact than conventional brake systems. It also reduces pedal vibrations and delivers the same force characteristics through the pedal at all times, thereby giving the driver greater control and comfort.
With the MK C1, the brake actuation feature, the brake booster and the control systems (ABS and ESC) are combined into a compact, weight-saving module that is up to 4 kg lighter than a conventional system. The electro-hydraulic MK C1 is able to build up brake pressure significantly faster than a standard hydraulic system, thereby fulfilling the increased pressure dynamics requirements for new advanced driver assistance systems in order to prevent accidents and protect pedestrians. In addition, the system can fulfil the requirements of an energy-saving recuperative braking system without any additional measures. It thus makes a major contribution to safe and dynamic driving, as well as energy efficiency.
On the tyre front, Continental has just launched the new gold standard for ultra-high performance tyres in South Africa in the form of the SportContact 6. The German manufacturer’s flagship tyre introduced three pioneering new technologies to the segment that radically enhance grip, stability and control – even at the rated maximum speed of 350 km/h. The SportContact 6 relies on Continental’s latest generation Black Chili tread compound that provides unprecedented levels of micro flexibility to mesh with the structure of the road surface, while fleeting atomic bonds in the contact patch act like nanoscopic suction pads to ensure high levels of adhesion. This guarantees optimal grip in all directions when braking, cornering and accelerating on both wet and dry roads.
Force Vectoring technology is employed in the tread design to deliver maximum transmission of lateral forces. An innovative, asymmetrical rib edge design makes for greater tyre stability and enables higher cornering forces. Interlinked tread blocks on the outer shoulder and the second row provide mutual support during fast cornering to achieve significantly higher lateral forces and greater steering control.
Further gains in high-speed stability are made possible with the use of the new Aralon 350 synthetic textile fibre embedded in the tyre beneath the tread. It incorporates two yarns of high-strength aramid twisted together with a yarn of flexible nylon. This endless cap ply acts like an additional steel belt, providing extra stabilisation to help deal with the enormous centrifugal forces that act on the tyre at very high speeds.