One of the most underappreciated benefits of being a “wheel whore” is getting to test new tires all of the time. I had at least 6 different wheel setups on my S4, and I’m already up to two sets on my TT-RS (and hoping to add a third set soon, lol). Thankfully my TT-RS came with one of my favorite OEM wheel designs, the 5 spoke Rotor wheel, which meant that I didn’t need to change out the wheels as one of the first orders of business. These factory wheels came equipped with Contintental ExtremeContact DW in 255/35/19 installed by the previous owner, and I was excited to try this tire out. My last few sets have largely either been very high end at ~$300 per tire (Michelin PSS) or really low end at around $120/tire (Nankang NS20), so the Continental ExtremeContact DW at ~$180/tire is about right smack dab in the middle. Better yet, the tire is rated #5 out of 32 on Tire Rack’s list of best Max Performance tires, so on paper this tire seems like it would be a great choice.
After ~3,000 miles of driving on the Continentals, I’ve been rather happy with them as a daily driver tire, and the price point is pretty fair given the quality…maybe not a impressive as the Michelins for performance driving, but definitely nicer than the Nankangs especially as a daily driver. The ExtremeContact DW makes a great daily driver tire here in SoCal – the “DW” moniker in the name indicates the tires are good for Dry or Wet conditions, making them a solid “Summer Tire” that can also handle the occasional rain we get. In performance conditions the tire is known to not hold up as well, but luckily for me I have a separate set of track wheels & tire to withstand the abuse, so these tires have been a good fit for me in terms of maximizing comfort in most conditions while still having better performance capabilities than an All-Season.
Pros of Continental ExtremeContact DW tires:
As I mentioned earlier, the tires are a nice, versatile and all around good choice for a performance-oriented sports car that is still used for daily driving. As a Max Performance Summer Tire it has a good amount of grip, yet still does decent in the rain
- Low road noise – they’re very quiet, making it no surprise Audi chose them as an OEM tire for this car
- Nice tread pattern – cool looks, and does a good job with rain
- Decent sidewalls – the sidewalls aren’t too boxy, but aren’t stretched either.
- Super robust – 96Y load index, XL load range, and ZR rating, so this tire can handle a much heavier car at a very high speed. No need to worry about blow-outs or overloading the car.
- Comfortable – the ride quality is great, really no concerns there…if anything, the ride is a bit soft.
Cons of Continental ExtremeContact DW tires:
Personally I haven’t really had any complaints about these tires, but I took some time to read through a few dozen reviews on Tire Rack about them and there were a few common themes for gripes:
- Too soft – many people complained the sidewalls were too soft and squishy, and that this “Extreme” Max Performance tire wasn’t as performance-oriented as they like. I will agree with these reviewers that they’re a pretty middle of the road tire, and the “Extreme” is a bit of a stretch.
- Cupping & Tracking issues – several have reported these tires have a tendency to have trouble tracking (holding straight), cupping, or otherwise not feel well aligned and confident. It doesn’t seem to happen to everyone, but some folks have had some fairly extreme reactions to these tires and feel the car is all over the place. It could be bad balancing, it could be a bad alignment that lead to uneven wear…hard to say. I personally haven’t had many issues with this, although since changing my alignment to 0 toe I do notice this the car can drift a little bit, but this is more likely to be due to the custom alignment specs (more toe would help the car track straight) than the tires IMO.
- Melting on Track – again going back to the “Extreme” moniker being misleading, those who have used these at the track reported they basically melted, chunked, and completely fell apart even after just one day. I haven’t used these on the track to confirm, but given how soft they are for daily driving, this doesn’t surprise me one bit.
The Contintental ExtremeContact DW is a great all-around Max Performance summer tire meant to have a smooth ride, low noise, and decent grip even in the rain. This versatility creates a compromise in reduced grip and handling in performance context, so if you’re looking for a more “hardcore” tire for your weekend car, then this probably isn’t the best choice. If you want a tire you can “set it and forget it” then it’s a good value for the money and will leave you mostly happy.
For the <$200 price point for a 19″ tire, this tire definitely meets my expectation.