In the past, every car enthusiast that wanted to extract the best handling performance needed to go for expensive ultra-high-performance tires from premium manufacturers. At that time, cheap performance tires were simply not good enough.
Today, though, things are different. Manufacturers like Falken, for example, offers outstanding ultra-high-performance summer tires at lower prices than the products from premium competitors. They became so good in producing these tires that the company already has a cult following among car enthusiasts.
The Azenis FK510 is one of the reasons why. Sure, it might not be the most exceptional tire in the segment, especially when you compare it to products from Michelin, Continental, Bridgestone, and Pirelli. However, considering the price of the tire, the Azenis FK510 seems to offer an excellent blend of characteristics.
Well, that’s at least what Falken fanboys are saying. Most of these people almost never tried other ultra-high-performance tires, so it’s hard to judge the overall performance just by looking at their confessions. Moreover, you really need to push these tires to the limit to understand how they handle, especially on the track.
Fortunately, you arrived just in the right place to find how Falken’s newest ultra-high-performance tire handles street, highway, and track driving. In my Falken Azenis FK510 review, I’ll talk mainly about how the tire feels behind the wheel, how it handles hard cornering, powerful accelerations, and strong braking.
Given the fact that you won’t be driving these tires aggressively all of the time, I’ll also touch on the ride quality, noise levels, and treadlife. Of course, you can also find all the features of the tire, which is great for enthusiasts that want to learn more about ultra-high-performance summer tires.
Falken offers the Azenis FK510 in North America in many, many different sizes, ranging from 17-inch wheel diameter to 22-inch wheel diameter. With the excellent availability, Falken covers most of the sports car market, including sports sedans, sports coupes, hot-hatch vehicles, muscle cars, and even some older supercars.
Falken doesn’t cover sports crossovers and SUVs with this tire, but they have an SUV-inspired model in their portfolio, called the Azenis FK510 SUV. That tire uses almost the same technologies as the “regular” one, but it comes with slightly stronger casing and even stiffer sidewalls to cope with the added weight.
So, without further ado, let’s see what Falken has to say about their flagship ultra-high-performance tire.
What are the features of the Falken Azenis FK510?
According to Falken, the latest generation of their ultra-high-performance summer tire is designed for “drivers of premium vehicles looking for excellent grip and outstanding performance.”
To achieve these things, the company employed numerous advanced technologies in the tire, specifically in the tread compound.
The 4D Nano Design is a technology that should particularly interest enthusiast drivers. This tech enables engineers to optimize the tread compound at a molecular level, which brings improvements in treadlife, grip, and wet weather traction.
Moreover, Falken also employed hybrid “undertread” materials for confidence-inspiring handling and exceptional high-speed cornering stability.
The tread compound is molded into an Adaptive Constant Pressure pattern tread design. According to Falken, this tread pattern improves the distribution of pressure throughout the contact patch, which greatly improves directional stability and reduces stopping distances.
In addition, the wide, outboard shoulder blocks, a standard for the ultra-high-performance category, further improve cornering grip during very aggressive driving, while also improving steering feel.
The company didn’t stop there, though. The Switchback Siping further helps to maximize rubber-to-road contact during wet cornering. This technology should work exceptionally well over damp, but also very wet surfaces.
For heavy rain traction, handling, and braking, Falken utilized four wide circumferential grooves that allow water to flow through the contact patch, thus greatly resisting hydroplaning.
The internal construction of the Azenis FK510 is also different than other similarly-priced tires. Here, the company utilized its proprietary Tension Control Technology, which provides a flexible middle sidewall area for smoother ride quality and better reduction of impact harshness.
On top of that, the rigid outside shoulder and bead area should provide the driver with better responsiveness and more direct handling. Finally, Falken employed two wide steel belts, reinforced by a hybrid Aramid and nylon undertread cap ply for toughness and rigidity, as well as high-speed stability.
Please note that just like with any other ultra-high-performance summer tire, you shouldn’t use it in freezing temperatures. If you do that, you risk compound cracking, which Falken’s warranty won’t cover.
And, even if you keep the tire at temperatures of 20 °F (-7 °C) throughout the winter, you should wait until the tire gradually reaches at least 40 °F (5 °C) before installing them on the wheels. Otherwise, you risk damaging the tires and making them completely unusable.
What are the maintenance indicators?
Like most ultra-high-performance summer tires, the Azenis FK510 comes with the usual tread wear indicators built into the tread pattern, called TWI’s.
These indicators are very important for safety because they show the owner how much tread there is left on the tire. Without sufficient tread depth, the tire becomes incapable of delivering safe traction, handling, and braking in rainy conditions.
The minimum tread depth of the Azenis FK510 is 2/32-inch. When you reach this point, it means that the tire isn’t good for driving on wet pavement, and you should immediately replace it. Naturally, I recommend replacing the tire even before you reach this point.
The tread indicators are essentially small and narrow rubber bars, built right into the grooves of the tread pattern. When the tire is new, the TWI’s should be recessed, albeit easily seen.
However, as the tire wears down, the indicators become more visible. When you reach the infamous 2/32-inch tread depth, the narrow rubber bars will be completely flush with the tire.
Fortunately, that won’t happen very soon. The Azenis FK510 is one of the longest-lasting ultra-high-performance summer tires, and you should easily extract up to 25,000-miles.
Falken doesn’t provide any treadwear warranty on the tire, but that’s not surprising in this category.
How does it behave on a dry tarmac?
I entered this review with very high expectations, and the Azenis FK510 mostly delivered. I say “mostly” because Falken should iron out some annoyances.
I talk mostly about the on-center responsiveness here, which is only average for the category. This doesn’t affect performance in any way, but it lowers the enjoyment you will have behind the wheel.
Also, the stopping distances on a dry pavement could be better, specifically when you compare them to competitors from the premium tire brands.
In any other area, though, the Azenis FK510 provides excellent results. The tire reacts very well during hard cornering, delivering very high levels of grip.
Moreover, the Azenis FK510 is very controllable at the limit, only losing grip if you really push it very hard. The traction is impressive as well, even on some very powerful vehicles.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
Contrary to the dry efforts, the wet handling of the Azenis FK510 impressed me in every way. The tire is outstandingly capable on wet roads, including damp pavement and very wet tarmac.
On a damp track, Falken’s ultra-high-performance tire performs exceptionally well, providing the driver with excellent grip, usable traction, and short braking distances.
On top of that, the Azenis FK510 has excellent resistance to hydroplaning, something that most competitors in this price range fail to offer.
Finally, the stopping distances on wet surfaces are also impressive, even when compared to the premium rivals.
With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?
The Azenis FK510 is an ultra-high-performance summer tire that shouldn’t be used in wintry conditions. If you use it in freezing temperatures, you’re risking your safety, but also damaging the tires.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Ultra-high-performance summer tires aren’t exactly known for delivering high levels of comfort. However, many car buyers today expect these things from tires, especially those that own premium sports sedans.
The Azenis FK510, fortunately, delivers on this front, especially when it comes to noise. Right now, this is one of the quietest ultra-high-performance tires. The same can’t be said for the ride quality, which can be choppy over uneven surfaces. However, it’s still good considering the price and category.
You can see more Falken Azenis FK510 Review here: Video created by Hypertune & SHIFT Magazine
Should I buy the Falken Azenis FK510?
The Falken Azenis FK510 is an easy tire to recommend to enthusiast drivers and owners of sports cars. While the tire won’t win every category (it should’ve been more responsive on dry tarmac), I am sure it will completely satisfy most drivers.
Moreover, Falken managed to extract outstanding wet performance from the tire, give it excellent treadlife, and make it quiet. And, on top of that, they manage to offer the Azenis FK510 at lower prices than the premium competition, which isn’t too far in terms of performance.
LIST OF FALKEN TIRE REVIEWS