Nitto NT05 Tire Review

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Nitto NT05 Summer Performance TireIt doesn’t matter how much money is spent on your suspension or engine, if the car can’t grip the road then your money has been wasted.  Since the tires are the only part of the car that touch the road they have a greater impact than any other component. Nitto’s new NT05 tire is a maximum performance summer tire that grips the road like a pit bull on a mailman’s leg.

We recently tested the Nitto NT05 on a road trip that included highway driving, serious twisties and both dry and wet roads.  Performance throughout the entire trip was outstanding.  The Nitto NT05 has enormous tread blocks and a pair of cavernous rain grooves down the center.  The wide tread blocks and soft rubber give incredible straight line and cornering grip.  

On dry roads you can almost hear the NT05 peeling the pavement up behind you.  Cornering grip is equally impressive as the Nitto NT05 generates near race-compound” grip in a package that is completely streetable.  Turn-in is crisp and sharp thanks to stiff sidewalls that transmit your steering inputs immediately to the tire.  

The Nitto NT05 is a very communicative tire and provides tremendous amounts of feedback to help you determine just what your inputs are doing to the car.  Road feel transmitted through the steering wheel provides the necessary tactile information so you can push the car to the limits and keep it dancing on that fine line of control.  When driven hard the tires squeal with delight around the corners; however, on the roads we drove the transition between maximum grip and sliding was fairly short.  This is a serious tire for serious drivers who have mastered their craft, driving poseurs need not apply.

Generally a tire with this much grip in the dry suffers in the rain; however, in the wet we were surprised at just how well the Nitto NT05’s performed.  The NT05’s provided excellent traction on wet roads, even at highway speeds.  In the twisty mountain roads of Southern Virginia and Northwestern North Carolina the Nitto NT05’s bit into the wet pavement hard and didn’t let go. We had previously reviewed the other new tire from Nitto, the INVO, and lamented its lack of wet grip at highway speeds.  The Nitto NT05 does not seem to suffer from this malady.

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This performance does come at a price, with a treadwear rating of 200, and a new tread depth of just over 6/32”, these soft tires are not going to last 30,000 under spirited driving conditions.  The NT05 is also not a tire made for comfort as it transmits large amounts of noise and surface imperfections into the car.  What this means is you’re going to feel every nuance of the road, but if you wanted a cushy ride you would have bought a 1985 Cadillac DeVille, right?  In terms of ride quality, the difference between the INVO and the NT05 is similar to going from factory suspension bushings and springs to polyurethane or solid bushings and stiffer springs.  As with the INVO we are again disappointed in the lack of a more substantial rub strip to prevent rim damage from curbs, but this is not something that should keep you from picking up a set of NT05’s.  Besides if you know what you’re doing behind the wheel then you won’t be getting curb rash on your rims.

If you’re not ready to live full time with all out performance and the requisite ride quality sacrifice then perhaps the Nitto INVO is a better choice for you.  If, however, you are a true performance enthusiast then the Nitto NT05 is definitely for you.  With grip levels approaching that of R-compound tires the NT05 will ensure that you’re getting every last bit of performance from your car’s suspension whether it is stock or modified.  The Nitto NT05 is quite simply one of the best tires we’ve ever put on the car, soundly besting offerings from more established tire manufacturers.  With sizes accommodating 17” to 20” rims and tread widths from 235 up to 315mm, and more sizes on the way, the NT05 can accommodate just about every application.  You can certainly bet that once these Nitto NT05’s wear out, we’ll be slapping another set on to take their place.

For the latest sizing availability check Nitto's web site at:

You can pick up a set of NT05's at Discount Tire Direct by going to their web site at:


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