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Product Review: Cooper Zeon RS3 Tire

The Official Tire of ROUSH Performance Mustangs

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Product Review: Cooper Zeon RS3 Tire
Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
On October 1, 2008 Cooper Tire and ROUSH Performance announced they’ve joined forces in the creation of a new tire, the Zeon RS3. Moving forward, Zeon will be the official tire of all ROUSH Performance Mustangs. This includes the ROUSH Stage 1, 2, 3, and P51B Ford Mustangs.

A Performance Tire with Wet Traction in Mind

Anytime you toy with one of Jack Roush’s creations, you’re sure to peak my interest. Hearing news of this upcoming collaboration, I asked if I could test out this new tire to see how well it performs. Both companies were more than happy to accommodate my request. They even offered up a few hot laps with Jack Roush Jr. in a ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang. As such, Jack and I put the tires to the test out on the race track. After an entire day of track time, the results proved impressive.

First things first, my daily driver Mustang is equipped with a set of BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD tires. I’ll admit; I’m extremely fond of those tires. They perform well out on the street and they perform well on the track. Unfortunately, they’re not that great when it rains. Then again, they weren’t designed to be.

Enter the new Cooper Zeon RS3 tire. This performance tire features a unique tread pattern designed to move water away from the contact patch in wet weather conditions. On the other end of the spectrum it’s also designed to deliver maximum dry traction, solid grip, and split-second steering response on sunny days. In fact, its special footprint is engineered to deliver consistent handling performance at high G-forces. Although The Zeon RS3 is by no means intended to be used as an all-season tire, Cooper Tire did work to make the Zeon RS3 capable of handling slick streets and wet weather conditions. This tire won’t get you through deep standing water at high speeds, but it’s a solid performance tire that will get you to and from the track safely, regardless of the weather you encounter.

Features of the Cooper Zeon RS3 Tire

Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas
For all intents and purposes, the Zeon RS3 is an extreme max performance tire. That means it’s designed to provide extreme dry street performance. Similar tires on the market include BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD, Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD07, and Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires.

Specifications of the tire are as follows:

  • Price: $295 per tire (More info)
  • W-Rated (168 mph Top Speed)
  • Size is 275/40ZR18
  • Non-Directional/Hard Asymmetric tread pattern
  • Large Tread Blocks for Stability
  • Additional Smaller Tread Blocks to cut water film
  • Wide Circumferential Grooves for Hydroplane Resistance

Out on the Track

The first thing I noticed about the new Zeon RS3 tire is how well it gripped the track. In my opinion, it grips the road just as well as my BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD tires. In fact, both tires seemed to offer up similar performance in hard corning and aggressive maneuvering.

Areas where the Zeon RS3 tires beat out the BFGoodrich tires were in longevity and the ability to maneuver through wet surfaces. Half way through our session a thunderstorm rolled in and slightly misted the track. It wasn’t an official downpour, but the mist was enough to get the track slick in a few areas. Although performance was reduced, the Zeon’s held to the track better than my BFGoodrich tires have in similar conditions. Neither tire would be my tire of choice in wet weather, but the Cooper tire was definitely an improvement.

As for longevity, I ran one set of Zeon RS3 tires the entire day. Between my aggressive driving at high speeds and the performance display put on my Jack Jr., the tires really held up.

Final Take: A Good Tire for Both Track and Street

Would I buy these tires for my Mustang? Well, pricing is said to be around $295. They're not cheap, but worth the money if you're looking for some serious performance.

Would I recommend them to a friend? Yes, if they were seeking a performance tire for daily driving and the occasional track day, the RS3 would rank high on my list. After all, if Jack Roush is willing to associate his name with this tire, it has to be able to perform.

In fact, Roush played an active role in the creation of the tire. He wanted a tire that could offer extreme grip up to 1g of lateral force. He wanted a tire that was extremely responsive to driver input, and he wanted a tire that could be used on the track. He also looked for a tire with competitive tread wear and a competitive ride. That means the tire has to be comfortable enough to use when driving around town without too much road vibration or noise.

In all, this tire ranks up there with the BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD tire. ROUSH & Cooper Tire say they are considering adding additional sizes of the tire in the future. In addition to being available on new ROUSH Mustangs, the tires are also sold at Cooper Tire dealers for 2005-2010 Mustangs.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
, Member WARDY1222

Tire is grrrreat on dry roads and ok on wet. SNOW is a whole different story!! 1"" of accumulation....Charger R/T with Hemi would not go. Traction control didnt help!!

1 out of 1 people found this helpful.

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