With the winter weather quickly approaching, it’s time to take the summer tires off and load up on some extra tread. However, just because these tires are perhaps less sticky than what you have on, doesn’t mean that you’ll have to sacrifice sporty handling for slick road performance. These ultra high performance all-season tires will give you a good balance of sporty performance in the drier months, and keep you on the road during the treacherous ones while driving performance cars and sport-oriented coupes and sedans.
Once again, we enlisted Tire Rack tire specialist Woody Rogers to recommend some options from a wide variety of brands that his website currently offers. While some will meet minimum standards, there are others that Woody remarks at standouts.
Ultra High Performance All-Season
BFGoodrich COMP-2 A/S
Designed to meet the ABCs of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires, these tires are made to accelerate faster, brake shorter, and provide more Control in all seasons, including light snow. Features a high-silica flexing tread in a V-shaped pattern, with squared-off shoulders and wrap-around tread. Sizes range from 205/45 ZR16 to 245/45 ZR20. Set of four from $358.
Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Featuring a new all-season rubber compound, these tires are designed for high-speed capability along with control on wet weather roads by including notched shoulders, stable tread blocks, and a center rib. Circumferential and lateral grooves well help push any water, light snow, and slush, keeping your car planted to the road. Sizes range from 205/55 R16 to 275/35 R 20. Set of four from $392.56.
Dunlop Signature HP
Featuring broad outboard shoulders and intermediate and center rib for strong performance in cornering and steering response. Intermediate rib features its own independent rib block to prevent aquaplaning. Innovative blade pattern increases the tire’s longevity and winter condition performance. Sizes range from 205/55 R16 to 255/50 R19. Set of four from $377.64.
Hankook Ventus S1 noble2
Hankook used 3-D aquaplaning simulation to develop the Hydro Block design in the new silica tire tread compound, increasing brake performance in the wet. A rib block helps reduce road noise and increase cornering. Sizes range from 205/55 R16 to 245/50 R20. Set of four from $356.
Kumho Ecsta 4X II
The second generation of Kumho’s affordable all-season performance tire, the polymer blend ratio compound, new resins, and high dispersion silica result in a longer lasting and better performing tire. Also features notched center ribs, large outboard shoulders, and intermediate tread blocks. Sizes range from 185/55 R15 to 255/45 ZR20. Set of four from $317.44.
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
Featuring Michelin’s Helio compound made of sunflower oil and silica, which increases traction at low temperatures and wet roads. Their asymmetric tread pattern is said to compete with competitor’s summer tire, which is a bold statement, but no doubt backed up by their great track record in motorsport. Sizes range from 205/55 ZR16 to 285/35 ZR20. Set of four from $500.
Pirelli P Zero All-Season Plus
Features five distinctly designed ribs and a special silica and polymer compound. Outboard shoulder blocks feature lateral siping, and a strong central rib increases steering input. After all, they are suppliers to F1, including their wet races, so they have their research done. Sizes from 215/45 R17 to 275/40 R20. Set of four from $489.36.
Sumitomo HTR A/S P02
While not as known as other name brands, this Sumitomo tire features many of the aspects found in higher priced ultra high performance all-season tires, such as notched shoulder blocks and outboard circumferential ribs, and a silica-enhanced tread compound. Sizes range from 175/65 R15 to 245/50 R20. Set of four from $218.28.
Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S
Yokohama has established itself over the last couple of decades as a tire to be trusted for performance, and this all-season tire isn’t an exception. Made of advanced polymers plus extra silica, good traction can be relied on with his tire, in addition to good wear. An extra-large outboard shoulder and “2-IN-1” intermediate blocks will help you in corners, and circumferential Z-Grooves and inboard serpentine grooves will help dissipate snow from its tread. Sizes range from 205/45 R17 to 275/40 R20. Set of four from $393.20.
Falken ZIEX ZE 950 A/S
Featuring an exclusive silica-tread compound that incorporates their Dynamic Range Technology, meaning a pliant rubber at low temperatures and a more rigid compound in warm conditions, this tire stands out against other competitors. While not offered by Tire Rack, it begs to be mentioned in any winter tire buyer’s guide. Sizes range from 195/50 R15 to 245/50 R20. Set of four from $431.24. (sourced at amazon.com)
Woody Rogers’s Stand-out Recommendations:
Continental Extreme Contact DWS 06
It’s a long, game-changing line that Continental brings to this tire platform. Woody remarks: “Building on the solid foundation laid by its predecessor, the DWS 06 continues the tradition of class-leading grip in the snow. Satisfying performance in the dry, combined with high levels of wet weather grip mean the DWS 06 should remain a favorite with consumers.” Sizes range from 205/55 ZR16 to 295/25 ZR22. Set of four from $421.96.
Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season
This tire carries two different zones: Dry-Handling Zone and All-Season Zone, in addition to incorporating such terminology as “Traction Teeth” to increase traction and Tredlock Technology to increase grip. Woody remarks: “Focus on the ‘performance’ end of the spectrum, while still remaining one of the top-rated competitors for winter capability. Sharp handling response highlights the list of this tire’s attributes.” Sizes range from 205/55 ZR16 to 275/40 ZR20. Set of four from $452.96.
For pure performance designed tires, Woody Rogers offers these two standout tires to give you the ultimatum in winter performance, from ice-covered roads to clear safe havens.
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
This is one of the best winter tires for performance vehicles during the winter season. Woody remarks, “The newest addition to Bridgestone’s LM line of winter tires uses a unique polymer technology in the compound for increased cold-weather traction, and the independent tread blocks combine with high-density siping to provide the biting edges needed for grip in snow, ice, and slush.” Sizes range from 205/55 R16 to 255/35 R20. Set of four from $537.76.
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
The Italians don’t stop in wintery conditions while driving in the Alps, and neither should you. Woody remarks, “A directional tread pattern evacuates water and slush while the enlarged contact patch provides grip and stability. 3-D sipe technology improves braking performance and snow-to-snow traction, and the tread rubber compound is designed for increased mechanical, thermal, and dynamic properties.” Sizes range from 215/55 R16 to 285/30 R21. Set of four from $512.