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Buick Verano gets bespoke Continental rubber for 2015

Buick has revealed details of a tire development program in which careful tuning of the tire's design and materials have reduced noise and improved comfort

 

Down where the rubber meets the road, Buick engineers have tuned and refined the 2015 Verano sedan’s tires for reduced noise and a comfortable ride.

According to Chris Arabian, a tire development engineer within General Motors’ Tire-Wheel Systems group, the process of selecting and refining a tire is a balancing act.

“For the Verano, we needed to ensure we provided ride comfort, while also balancing fuel economy and rolling resistance, and delivering an engaging driving experience.”

Arabian’s team worked closely with tire manufacturer, Continental Tire to develop two distinct tire packages for the Verano. The 17in P225/50R17 tire, standard on the base Verano, focuses on delivering low rolling resistance for improved fuel economy. Meanwhile the 18in, P235/45R18 tire, which is standard on the Verano Turbo, was designed to provide crisp handling and a sportier feel. The tires are produced in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Buick says that Continental solved the conflicting demands of low rolling resistance and noise reduction/bump absorption by modifying non-compound elements of the tire. For example, tuning certain peak frequencies generated by the tire can reduce the chance that vibrations are amplified throughout the entire car. The steel belt package, which includes selecting the materials used and the angle at which the two steel belts are aligned, was also adjusted. These variables influence ride quality by changing the tire’s ability to flex and absorb imperfections in the road.

Adding a subtread, a layer of rubber beneath the outer tread layer, also works wonders, according to Arabian. “It’s a great way to isolate a tire. Adding a few hundred grams of low-hysteretic material in the subtread of each tire can deliver the same noise reduction as several kilograms of insulation within the car.”

Other ways in which noise was reduced included modifying the tire’s tread pattern to combat the high-frequency airborne noise emitted when the tire rolls down the road, such as revisions to the tread block’s shape or the depth and angle of the sipes. The footprint shape was also looked at to ease the tread block into the pavement.

“There are so many variables we can adjust in the tire’s construction,” says Arabian. “Ultimately, when we optimize a tire, it means we can potentially reduce some cost, complexity, or weight elsewhere within the vehicle and still deliver the targeted level of refinement."

 

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