words/photos: George Achorn
Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Q4_2020 issue of quattro magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro magazine, please join Audi Club here.
When the winter of 2019 was setting in, acquiring a set of winter tires for Project e-tron wasn’t terribly high on the list. We’d just made the considerable expenditure of buying the car and we hoped to make it through the winter with the stock all-season fitment. Besides, we’d reasoned, we had an internal combustion Audi in the house with quattro and winter tires. We had a backup plan. One year into ownership and one year into low cost operations of charging at home or work, adding a set of winters was now a priority.
Another element that helped in 2019 was actually the elements themselves. It didn’t snow a whole lot, so when we did have to take the e-tron out in the white stuff, its considerable weight and narrow contact patch helped the quattro grip well enough. Even still, the contact patch of a car is incredibly important as it’s the only point connecting you with the ground. This plus our Northeast home base means any car in our home’s garage inevitably ends up with a set of proper winters… and almost always with a second set of wheels in order to avoid the further inconvenience of re-mounting and balancing tires twice a year.
This time around, we decided to try something different with our winter tire choice. This Netherlands-based tire manufacturer has been establishing itself as a solid European choice of tire for years, though several of their more recent product decisions have placed them on our radar over the years. First, they turned to Audi-owned ItalDesign for design work, including Giugiaro markings on the tire itself. More recently, they re-launched a classic tire fitment specifically for ur quattro fitment. It was likely only a matter of time we ended up in their orbit, so when we heard their new Wintrac Pro tire was testing well, featured Giugiaro design, and came in our factory 21-inch size and weight rating, we decided to give them a try.
For winter wheels, we’d had a set of 21×9.5 matte black 10-arm cast aluminum Talea wheels with 31 offset from Audi Accessories sitting around. These are Q7 fitment wheels that we had laying around from our previous car. They were the same width and diameter as our factory e-tron wheels and we already knew our summer setup (SQ7 summer fitment 22-inch wheels) fit with no problem, so we concluded the Taleas would make great winter wheels. We went with factory e-tron tire sizing of 26 45 21. Our original e-tron factory wheels remain with the low-rolling resistance tires should we want efficiency or should we ever choose to trade the car back in at any point.
Beyond the ItalDesign heritage, we also chose the Wintrac Pro for their substance. This directional winter tire designed for high-performance vehicles has a 1-year unconditional warranty, 5-year manufacturer warranty, and have scored well in testing by Autobild (Exemplary) and Auto Motor und Sport (Very Good). While the Wintrac Pro is readily available at Tire Rack, the American distributor hasn’t tested them yet as of this writing. So, while we can’t share their own impression, the tire appears to be highly impressive to those who’ve reviewed it thus far on their platform. All of this was enough to help us finalize our decision.
Given it’s now just autumn, we haven’t had a chance to test the car ourselves on snow just yet. Time will tell, and we’ll make sure to post a more in-depth performance review ourselves once winter sets in.