If the new Michelin Energy Saver+ has put too much emphasis on efficiency, you could argue that Dunlop has not focused on it enough. The tyre labels give the SP Sport FastResponse a C rating for rolling resistance, and it finished seventh in our test – way behind Michelin and Continental.
But as is so often the case, poor fuel efficiency is a trade-off for strong wet performance, and the Dunlop was among the top four on a soaked track. As with its Goodyear stablemate, it excelled in the deep water aquaplaning tests, and it put together a good lap on the wet handling circuit. Although it was a touch off the ultimate pace, it felt very secure with good balance and traction. It also finished fourth in our wet braking assessment.
Impressively, Dunlop has managed to achieve this wet performance without sacrificing too much in the dry – the tyre proved good enough for second place in braking. It was fifth in the very close dry handling table, but felt sharp, with good direction changes.
However, it was last by some distance in the cabin noise test, and was pipped to a podium spot by the Nexen, which was a bit better in the wet.