MRF PERFINZA 225/45R17 91W TYRES `12,213 per tyre

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The very first rally I won was on MRF tyres. My first (and only) race podium was on MRF tyres. And the first time I got my knee down the bike was run­ning MRF tyres. Call me bi­ased then but I’ve al­ways con­sid­ered MRF to be among the more im­pres­sive of the In­dian tyre brands as far as per­for­mance goes. But good enough to chal­lenge the big-name in­ter­na­tional be­he­moths? MRF cer­tainly think their R&D is up there with the best in the world and they’re ven­tur­ing into new ter­ri­tory with the Perfinza range of lux­ury car tyres. To find out how far MRF have come, we put on a set of 17-inch tyres on our long term test CLA-Class and have now done nearly 5000km over the past two months.

Now the ben­e­fit of run­ning tyres made by an In­dian com­pany is that they know In­dian roads bet­ter than their global ri­vals. And what’s the one thing we want in In­dia? That’s right, com­fort. Es­pe­cially on a car like the CLA that’s par­tic­u­larly stiffly sprung, a char­ac­ter­is­tic that be­comes even more pro­nounced over roads that have be­come truly hor­ri­ble in the mon­soons. First im­pres­sions of the Perfinza tyres are of a sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved ride qual­ity, to the tune of at least 15 if not 20 per cent com­pared to the ear­lier tyres. I have to men­tion here that the Perfinza tyres aren’t run flats but nei­ther were the tyres that the CLA came to us with, so it’s an ap­ples to ap­ples com­par­i­son. Our testers pointed out that the car does not feel as firm edged as be­fore and had be­come bet­ter at ab­sorb­ing pot­holes at medium speeds. Tyre noise has also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced, with less tyre hum, so the over­all im­prove­ment in re­fine­ment is quite pro­nounced. The first drive on these tyres co­in­cided with the first rains, mak­ing roads not only wet but rather greasy in parts. We found the wet weather grip to be good with no aqua­plan­ing wor­ries and planted road man­ners. This also re­flects in the wet weather brak­ing that is sure­footed and strong with ABS kick­ing in only at the end of very heavy brak­ing. You will get slightly higher wet weather grip from high per­for­mance tyres, such as MRF’s very own ZLO range which we tested ear­lier on our Lancer Evolution X, but for a tyre fo­cused on com­fort, this is ac­tu­ally pretty good.

In the dry, the grip lev­els are on the same (high) level as the ear­lier tyre and very lit­tle tyre squeal at the limit. For the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the CLA’s chas­sis and en­gine, the grip of­fered by the MRF Perfinza tyres hit the right spot. We usu­ally run slightly higher tyre pres­sures in the wet and when the sun came out we dropped it to 34 PSI, which im­proved the ride qual­ity even fur­ther. We even no­ticed a very slight im­prove­ment in fuel ef­fi­ciency. These tyres are avail­able from MRF’s pre­mium out­lets and cost `12,213 (per tyre), which is slightly more af­ford­able than the big MNC brands. But MRF aren’t harp­ing on pric­ing with these tyres, rather they want to stress the strong per­for­mance that is bet­ter suited to In­dian con­di­tions and af­ter 5000km on these tyres we can at­test to the fact that they de­liver bet­ter ride while de­liv­er­ing the cor­ner­ing and brak­ing per­for­mance we have be­come used to from the CLA.

The 17-inch Perfin­zas are also avail­able in a higher-per­for­mance Y-rat­ing (rated up to 300kmph) which is priced at a pre­mium (`13,472 per tyre) and claims to de­liver bet­ter cor­ner­ing and brak­ing per­for­mance at the ex­pense of a slightly firmer ride than the W-rated (up to 270kmph) that we have put on our CLA-Class. It is the Y-rated tyre in the 18-inch size that has got the cov­eted MO mark (Mercedes Orig­i­nal) af­ter tests by Mercedes-Benz at the IDADA test track in Spain. Cu­ri­ous to test the MO tyre we have put this on our Corolla (hav­ing up-sized the wheels to 17 inches) and will bring you re­ports on that tyre soon.

(@SirishChan­dran)

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