Just a few decades ago, ultra-high-performance tires that worked throughout the year were nowhere to be found. It was simply impossible to build such a tire with the rubber materials available. However, today, almost every serious tire manufacturer has one in their portfolio. And they’re not just available, but most of them are pretty good. Sure, summer ultra-high-performance tires are still much better, but for most drivers, they’re very limited due to the inability to provide enough grip and traction in colder weather.
Ultra-high-performance all-season tires may have slightly worse performance in warm conditions, but they also work in freezing weather, and some of them are even useful on light snow. Yes, you can now have a sports car and use it throughout the winter, without replacing your wheels or tires whatsoever. What a time to be alive!
One of the most popular all-season and ultra-high-performance tires on the market is the General G-Max AS-05. This tire is pretty new – it was launched in 2017. The predecessor named G-Max AS-03 was also very popular thanks to the excellent value for money, but also for the performance in dry and wet conditions. Nevertheless, General Tire tried to improve on every aspect of the tire, including performance, driving in colder conditions, and treadlife.
Being an ultra-high-performance tire, the General G-Max AS-05 is an excellent option for drivers looking for additional responsiveness, grip, and traction in most conditions. These tires are definitely safer than grand-touring tires for driving at higher speeds, but they’re also much less comfortable and noisier. This means that owners of standard passenger vehicles might be better off with a set of grand-touring tires, as they will surely be good enough for the power of the car.
However, if you own a powerful sedan, sporty crossover, sports coupe, or powerful compact car, you might want to check these tires. Ultra-high-performance models have enough traction to cope with very powerful engines – up to V8 monsters, and they also have a much better grip for faster cornering. These tires are also much more responsive – your car will immediately feel alive, and they can even be used for track days.
Cars that are best candidates for the General G-Max AS-05 are sports sedans such as BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG, and Lexus IS-F, hot hatchbacks and compact cars like Subaru WRX STI, Golf GTI and Golf R, BMW 135i, Audi RS3, sports coupes like the Ford Mustang, Nissan 370Z, and Hyundai Veloster, etc. The list might not be long, but if you own a fast car and it happens to have wheels with diameter between 16 and 22-inches, chances are the G-Max AS-05 will fit your car and your driving needs.
That being said, is the G-Max AS-05 really good and worth of the pedigree of your car? Let’s find out in this detailed review of one of the most popular ultra-high-performance all-season tires on the market.
What are the features of the General G-Max AS-05?
Being one of the newest tires in General’s portfolio, the G-Max AS-05 gets all-new technologies that the manufacturer has under its sleeve. General even went as far as to use “Smart” in their marketing materials, which is an interesting word to use for a tire. “A bold ultra-high-performance tire offering all-season traction. Smart Technologies provide visual wear alerts, performance in all seasons, and longer tread life. A smarter tire for a smarter driver.” – you can read on their website.
The Smart Technologies consist of Smart Grip Technology, which gives the tire sure-footed grip on dry and wet roads and StabiliTREAD Technology that gives the tire a larger footprint for maximum grip and improved treadlife. The strong center rib additionally helps with handling by increasing steering response. The high void angled grooves, on the other hand, channel the water away for better resistance to hydroplaning.
The tread design also consists of large, stable tread blocks on the outboard and inboard shoulders, that produce outstanding high-speed stability, while the four circumferential grooves additionally help the angled grooves to channel the water out of the tire. The tread with high-silica content is very important for grip and traction in dry conditions, while the G-Max AS-05 even has block edges and strategic placement of tread sipes on its tread for traction in light snow.
The G-Max AS-05 is made from two-ply sidewall construction, and casing made of casing supports two wide, high-strength steel belts, and a one- or two-ply polyamide reinforcement. This combination gives the tire added strength and extreme high-speed capability (W-Rated).
What are the maintenance indicators?
The G-Max AS-05 is from the newest generation of tires from General, which means that it gets the Replacement Tire Monitor. This simple design decision is what we really need from our tires. These maintenance indicators are extremely easy to read, even from people that have nothing with the automotive or tire industry.
The RTM (Replacement Tire Monitor) provides the user with a warning when the tire is worn and has to be replaced. More precisely, the inscription “Replacement Tire Monitor” shows three times on the circumferential rib of the new tire. That means that the RT43 is completely new.
However, over time, some letters on the Replacement Tire Monitors will start to fade away. Just before the tread reaches the minimum tread depth indicated by the TWI (Tread Wear Indicator bars), the inscription will change to “Replace Tire.” And yes, you heard that right, the G-Max AS-05 is also equipped with tread wear indicator bars like other tires in this category. General did a great job here – they made sure that the owners know how much tread they have left.
Oh, but that’s not all! General even uses Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI), which shows if there’s a wheel misalignment. The VAI is represented three times in the circumference of the tire by two additional sipes (1.6mm tread depth) on the opposite shoulder blocks of the tire. If these sipes wear off differently (one side more than the other for example), it means that there is a potential misalignment of the wheels.
On top of that, the G-Max AS-05 comes with very good 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, that is up there with the best ultra-high-performance tires. Users also report that these tires are pretty durable, at least the few that have passed enough miles with them. That said, track days may quickly damage the tread, so beware of that.
Is it good for off-road driving?
Absolutely not! This is an ultra-high-performance tire that is made to work specifically on paved roads, and not on slippery surfaces. It may work on gravel, but even then, you must take the utmost care not to damage the tires and the rims. On second thought, don’t do that.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
Excellent handling is the reason why you would want the G-Max AS-05, and luckily, it delivers. I mean, sure, some premium tires in the ultra-high performance and all-season category might be even better, but for most drivers, the G-Max AS-05 offers outstanding driving experience.
We found it to be very responsive in the corners – the steering was crisp and the driver always knows if the tires have lost grip. On top of that, traction is outstanding, even on very powerful cars, while braking is top-notch. The side-to-side grip is also almost on the level of premium tires, which is high praise given the lower price of the General.
Overall, you will hardly be disappointed with how the G-Max AS-05 drives in dry conditions.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
Almost as good as on dry tarmac. Here it becomes immediately evident that the tread design is really good at fighting hydroplaning – the tire stays surefooted even when there’s a lot of rain outside. The advanced high-silica tread compound, on the other hand, provides the driver with a lot of grip and traction on a damp and slippery track. Overall, the General again shows that you can really have a good set of tires for less money.
With that being said, how is it in snowy roads?
Sadly, the G-Max AS-05 isn’t as impressive in snow as someone might expect given the all-season moniker. Still, not a lot of ultra-high-performance tires offer good traction in light snow, which means that this is not a big disadvantage for the G-Max AS-05. On the positive side, the advanced tread compound really works in colder and dry weather.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Far from the comfort levels of grand-touring tires, but still very good for an ultra-high-performance tire. On premium cars with better sound insulation, the added noise on the highway is much less pronounced, while the ride quality is only an issue on models with very small sidewalls.
You can see more General G-Max AS-05 Review here: Video created by HILLYARD’S RIM LIONS
Should I buy the General G-Max AS-05?
If you’re looking for ultra-high-performance tires that will work throughout the year (except in harsh wintry conditions), the G-Max AS-05 should definitely be on your list. It offers a very rewarding driving experience and great handling abilities at a lower price than premium competitors.
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