Nokian zLINE A/S: Nokian makes one heck of an all-season tire

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Nokian zLINE A/S
Credit: Olivier Delorme

I need to disclose something that some of you might be wondering. If follow me on Instagram, you might have figured out that I own six cars. Sadly, I rarely drive them as I always have at least one press car to review every week. On average, I’ll cover 3,500-4,000 km a year in my personal whips. And yes, cars are a disease and I’m currently looking into therapy – retail therapy as I’m considering the purchase of another car…

Late last year, I jumped on a 2008 Audi A4 S-Line quattro Avant with the 2.0-litre turbo and 6-speed manual transmission. I did it because I’ve always loved the B7’s design, and still do. Truth be told, I also got it because my 2003 WRX wagon was coming up short on interior room and, although only minimally modified, it is a little too loud and rough around the edges. So, essentially, I purchased the A4 for its refined ride and slightly larger interior.

The requirements

I’ve reviewed a number of tires over the years and have generally been satisfied with the products. For the A4, I was looking for a tire that would provide the family and I with a smooth, quiet ride, good water evacuation and decent handling. How’s this for an early conclusion: Since I put the wheels and tires on the car in early April, the A4 alone has covered more than 3,500 km!

Nokian zLINE A/S

There are two important characteristics associated with the zLINE A/S that stand out for me, and I think would for you too. The first is how quiet the tires are. Nokian uses a Silent Groove Design on the sidewalls that effectively cut down noise levels inside and outside of the car. I’ve driven with the windows down numerous times and although the contact clatter between the rubber and tarmac are audible, there are no associated wailing noises.

The other has to do with wet surface grip and resistance to aquaplaning. Any new tire will sufficiently grip the road when it’s dry – even the cheapest new rubbers can do it. It takes the proper mix of compounds and groove design technology to prevent loss of traction and aquaplaning as much as possible. The zLINEs have large main groves (you can see them in the gallery) that are also completely smooth on the inside. This allows water to flow quickly and without interruption.

For the drive

I think we all know that my A4 is a fine performing and handling car right out of the box. Even so, tires make an absolute universe worth of a difference. In fact, tires can hamper handling if they’re of poor quality or, as with the Nokian zLINE A/S, unlock you car’s full potential. My Audi feels as competent and stable at highway speeds as a new A4 does. While steering on my car may not be as responsive as it is in a 2018 A4, the zLINE’s multi-layered structure deliver excellent response. In other words, there’s no tangible rubbery-ness when I quickly change lanes or tackle an on-ramp at higher speeds, only immediate but never sharp action from the front end.

Nokian zLINE A/S

The Nokian zLINE A/S is multi-talented tire with multiple personalities. The family and I are loving the A4’s quiet and comfortable ride and when I get a chance to take the car for a spin on my own, I appreciate the tire’s predictable and rewarding performance. And lastly, these tires are designed to last. Unfortunately, I may not keep the car long enough to scrub off ½ of the zLine’s useful life.

The bottom line as well is that the Nokian zLINEs are far more competitively priced than you think. For the money, you get performance and safety. That’s a win-win.

I’ll have a final update later on this fall with my conclusion. To be perfectly honest though, I’ve pretty much made up my mind already: the Nokian zLINE A/S tires are excellent.

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