Chamfered edges and a solid outer shoulder enhance dry performance.
Dynamic Temperature Distribution reduces distortion for enhanced energy delivery, lower rolling resistance and improved tread life.
Asymmetric, rotation-specific tread design.
High void-to-tread ratio with enhanced groove curvature improves water evacuation for outstanding wet handling.
Tuned performance tread wear indicators
W and Y speed rating (depending on size) safe up to sustained168-mph use.
Backed by a 60-day customer satisfaction ride guarantee, a manufacturer's workmanship limited warranty for 72 months-with free replacement up to 12 months-and road hazard coverage for 12 months.
Test Mule: '04 Pro Celebrity spec Toyota Celica GTS
Test driver: Jay Chen, technical editor, Modified Mag
Test track: The streets and track
Test condition: Both dry and wet
Continental Tire North America, Inc.
All too often, our monthly tire reviews are about super-grippy, no-compromise tires that put dry performance above all else. It's easy to forget that only serious speed freaks with big budgets would consider these everyday tires.
Finding the balance between price, performance, comfort and fuel economy for the one set of tires that will be on your car for the next two years isn't easy. Luckily, the OEMs already did the homework for us. Car manufacturers actually spend an extensive amount of time and resources to co-develop spec tires along with the tire manufacturers. OEM-spec tires must meet much more stringent rolling-resistance, comfort, noise, grip and wear-rate standards.
Few companies know as much about OEM-spec tires as Continental Tire. The company makes the preferred rubber for top-end OEM fitments like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. In a nutshell, Continental makes tires deemed good enough by German engineers for performance, comfort and safety for cars made to blast down the autobahn
But OEM-spec tires are expensive and come in only stock sizes. Non-OEM-spec replacement sizes are available but usually have more rolling resistance, faster wear and are a little less civil. Conti finally addressed this with a dedicated line of North American replacement tires with similar OEM technologies-but in tuner sizes and budgets.
The Continental ExtremeContact DW (which stands for dry and wet) features some additional technological improvements above even the latest-generation SportContact3 tires like chamfer-edged tread blocks and newer manufacturing methods. Each tire also has three distinct sets of "D" and "W" wear imprints in the tread that help indicate the tire's optimal performance in wet or dry conditions.
In a world where a UTQG wear rating of 180 is considered sticky, it's easy to dismiss the ExtremeContact DW's wear rating of 340 as a no-grip, grocery-getter tire. But faster wear doesn't always mean stickier. In fact, a good street-performance tire balances both wear and grip to provide a long-lasting and reasonably sticky tire. That's why the new DW stands out. It has a fine balance of affordability, street and track wear, generous grip, street car comfort, compliance and noise.
To prove the DW is no performance slouch, Continental invited us out to the track to test the tires on the streets, in a wet and dry autocross, on an full road course time attack, and ultimately on the high banks of the Autoclub Super Speedway oval. Against similar competitors on the autocross courses, the DW exhibited consistently sharper turn-in. While grip is not noticeably different, the tire reacts better in and out of severe understeer. Conti's engineers made driveability and predictability their primary goal instead of absolute edgy grip
As an ultimate test, the same tires were put on ex-Toyota Pro Celebrity spec Celicas for a time attack challenge and high-speed oval test. Even on an inherently understeered FWD vehicle on a tight road course, the DWs held up session after session with limited chunking of the shoulder tread. On a fairly warm day, traction also remained reasonably consistent without going greasy after just a few hot laps. We also took the tires in excess of 125 mph on the speedway oval, and they sustained the temperatures of 10-minute continuous runs all day long, as well as the extreme compressive loads of the 14-degree banked cornering. We saw no signs of blistering or irregular wear
If you're looking for affordable quality and performance that grips as well as it deals with potholes and you don't regularly spend time at weekend track days, Continental's ExtremeContact DW is a serious contender for a true everyday car-nut street tire. Conti also makes a DWS tire capable of operating in light snow.