Porsche designs and manufactures high performance cars but as Pirelli correctly states “power is nothing without control” and the cars tyres have a big part to play in controlling the vehicle.
Porsche to ensure not only the compatibility of a tyre but also to ensure you get the maximum performance possible from the car, Porsche carries out tests on certain tyre brands and their specific constructed compounds. If the tyre performs to a Porsche standard they would give it the “N” mark stamp of approval.
The tyre plays a massive part in the handling characteristics of a vehicle so much so that it could hinder the sales of the car if an incorrect performing tyre was fitted, as we all know you don’t buy a Porsche to do you shopping in once a week or to take the garden rubbish to the dump (although I bet its been done many times) you buy a Porsche for the excitement of the power and cornering it can provide.
A tyre manufacturers may produce the exact same tyre in name, size and speed rating as those that have the “N” marked. However, if it doesn’t have the “N” marking then it is very likely that it will lack in the same rigid production and quality requirements that are required by Porsche.
The “N” Marking means that the tyres compound and pattern stays the exactly the same as the day it was tested by Porsche as tyre companies normally make small alterations to the compound or tread pattern etc, with an “N” marked tyre no alterations are permitted as alterations could have a negative effect on the Porsche’s handling.
What is a N Marking?
- Tyres fitted by Porsche as Original Equipment are developed to suit the individual characteristics of specific models.
- It is an approval identification mark given by Porsche to identify a particular tyre, thereby differentiating it from other specifications of the same tyre size & pattern.
- All Porsche approved tyres fitted to vehicles manufactured from 1988 have been given a sidewall marking of either N0, N1, N2, N3, N4
- Vehicles manufactured before 1988 had no Porsche approval marking.
- The same N marked tyre may be designed and compatible for a number of Porsche models/years.
Can I mix N0, N1, N2, N3 or N4 with a different numbered “N” marked tyre?
The short answer is no, even though most Porsche’s have bigger tyres on the rear than on the front they will still need to match in tyre manufacturer and in “N” marking Number in both front and rear tyres.
Failing to have the same tyre (excluding the size difference between the front and rear) on all four corners of the vehicle could cause it to have unpredictable handling characteristics when driving especially when pushed to the cars/tyres limits which could result in loss of control.
For example if you have a Porsche with N1 marked tyres and one of the four require replacing but the model of “N1” marked tyre has been discontinued you should not replaced just one tyre with an N0, N2, N3 or N4 as they have to be fitted as complete sets of the same “N” marking, meaning you would have to replace the complete set with the same version of “N” marking and manufacturer of tyre.
Porsche tyres with “N” markings should be fitted in full sets of the same tyre in order to maximize the performance and handling characteristics of the car.
Mixing of different brands and/or patterns is not recommended.
Mixing of different N numbers is not recommended even if its from the same tyre manufacturer.