Continental ExtremeContact DW Review

Continental ExtremeContact DW Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 90%
  • Comfort 85%
  • Noise 90%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 87%
This 2018 Continental ExtremeContact DW review came by accident. My friend spent two weeks searching for a used luxury car after selling his old truck. It runs out his cousin from across the border was keen on selling his 2016 BMW 5-series. But there’s a catch: it’s a diesel.
To be specific, it was a 2016 BMW 535d with the magnificent 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six diesel mill connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The car was fitted with stock 18-inch wheels and Continental all-season tires that badly needs replacement. My friend asked me about the BMW diesel and I told him not to worry about the paltry 255 horsepower output of the diesel. What he should focus on is the 413 pound-feet of torque at only 1,500 rpm. I told him this is enough to rival the torque output of a petrol V8.

After negotiating the price, we drove over across the border to give the car a visit. True to form, it was pristine and well-maintained except for the balding Continental tires. We took the car for a short test drive and proceeded to buy a set of summer tires. The tire shop recommended the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires. After about an hour or so, we drove back home.

After inspecting every crucial aspect of the car, we changed the oil and planned a long test drive. Like I said, it was also an opportunity to put the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires through its paces.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Review: Features

Unlike other summer tires, the Continental ExtremeContact DW was developed to provide brilliant summer performance without penalizing wear and ride comfort. The tire features an asymmetric tread design with a continuous and outboard notched intermediate rib and chamfered tread blocks. This design is optimized to enhance handling, stability, responsiveness, and steering feel. It also comes with continuous center ribs to maintain consistent contact with the road. It even comes with a high void-to-tread ratio and open lateral grooves to prevent hydroplaning on wet roads.

The Continental ExtremeContact DW also comes with unique Tuned Performance Indicators. You will notice the letters D and W molded into the second rib from the outboard shoulder. This will show you the performance level of the tire. If you see the D and W markings it seems the tire has enough tread depth to perform well on dry and wet roads. If the W marking fades away, the tire should only be used on dry conditions.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Review: Test Drive

If you have never driven a diesel-powered sedan, you are missing a lot. The rush of torque is simply mind-boggling as our test vehicle accelerated like a tuned sports car. The increasingly warm weather and the relentless rush of torque from our diesel Bimmer was the perfect match to our brand new set of Continental ExtremeContact DW rubber.

Dry Traction

The truth of the matter is the BMW 5-Series is not exactly the car to buy if you desire pinpoint handling, especially with a large and heavy diesel lump in the front. But performance in the dry is admirable since the car can be tossed all day with nary a complaint from the ExtremeContact DW tires. Braking was strong and consistent as the tires never skipped a beat even when pushed hard.

Wet Traction

Driving over wet roads was not a major concern for the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires. Traction and grip remained consistent over wet highways and braking was pretty decent given the dreary road conditions. You’ll have to be a fool to coax the tires to lose traction in the wet unless you apply abrupt steering and throttle inputs. But driven normally, the tires felt stable and reassuring in the wet. This is high praise for a summer tire.

Snow Traction

The Continental ExtremeContact DW tires are not designed to be used over snowy or icy roads. We will not include this criteria in our scoring system.

Comfort

The BMW 5-Series excels in terms of highway comfort. It doesn’t float or wallow like a Cadillac but the taut ride filters out any form of harshness to create a luxurious driving atmosphere. The Continental ExtremeContact DW tires were presumably better than the stock run-flats as it allowed the suspension to settle down on smooth highways. The tires also remained comfortable even when assaulted by jarring potholes.

Noise

Perhaps more impressive for a summer tire is the low levels of tire roar. Traditional summer tires were extremely sticky when properly warmed up, but road noise and comfort takes a back seat over handling and responsiveness. However, the Continental ExtremeContact DW is different. It sticks like glue over dry roads but it remained hushed even when pushed to higher speeds. You will only hear a slight intrusion of tire roar as the speedometer approaches triple digits.

Treadwear

The Continental ExtremeContact DW tires fitted to our test vehicle were as fresh as a daisy. We were not expecting longer wear compared to proper set of touring tires but the guys at the tire center informed us of the Continental Total Confidence Plan which includes flat tire road assistance, 12-months limited warranty, and 90,000-mile tread wearout coverage. Not a bad deal considering each tire only costs around $170 each.

Conclusion

It is safe to say the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires were the perfect set of summer tires for my friend’s BMW 535d. It offered tons of traction and grip on both dry and wet roads but remained comfortable and quiet enough on the drive home. These are not the cheapest summer tires you can buy, but you get what you pay for in terms of brilliant wet and dry performance.

This tire is available in:

Sports cars/coupes/sporting sedans, 16” to 19”, Ultra-high performance, Summer

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review

  • Dry 80%
  • Wet 85%
  • Comfort 70%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 70%
  • Overall 75%
You only need to take one look at the Hankook Ventus RS4 to discern the tire means serious business. The Ventus RS4 is the successor to the defunct Ventus RS3, but it improves on the strengths of its predecessor while adding more of that aggressive style.

In this review of the Hankook Ventus RS4, I was lucky enough to obtain a 2013 Ford Focus ST as my test vehicle. The car was fitted with aftermarket 18-inch wheels wrapped in a relatively new set of Hankook Ventus RS4 tires.

But it was not your run-of-the-mill Focus ST. The engine was fitted with a larger turbo and intercooler to produce around 300 horsepower. The suspension was upgraded to street-spec coilover suspension for a better and more comfortable ride compared to full-spec racing coilovers. The car is mostly driven in the street, but the owner partakes in weekend track sessions with his buddies as well as long cross-border trips.

I asked him why he considered the Hankook Ventus RS4 tires over other brands, and he was quick to point out two factors: the style and the price. The Ventus RS4 is certainly far from being cheap, but it delivers incredible value considering the looks and performance of the tire. Starting at around $130 each, it is way less than what you would pay for a Bridgestone or Michelin summer tire.

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review: Features

The most prominent feature of the Hankook Ventus RS4 is the wider center block. This helps the tire to maintain a steady grip on the road while also improving the steering response of the vehicle. The main groove is equipped with a pair of wider channels to quickly dissipate water and prevent hydroplaning on soaking wet pavement.

The directional treads are designed using variable groove angle technology to optimize the block stiffness of the tire. The Ventus RS4 also benefits from stiffer shoulder blocks to further enhance the steering response while improving cornering grip as well.

The Hankook Ventus RS4 is constructed using a new carbon black and silica racing compound to increase the overall stiffness of the carcass while improving traction and grip on wet pavement. The tire is equipped with a pair of wider steel belts and a dual layer joint-less nylon full cover to optimize durability and vehicle handling.

Hankook Ventus RS4 Review: Test Drive

My test car came fitted with a six-speed manual. It’s been a while since I drove a manual-equipped car, much less a Ford Focus ST. I was excited to get on the road because I was curious to find out the effects of the engine mods to the overall performance and drivability of my test car.

Dry Traction

As I found out, the effects were immensely intoxicating. The larger turbo spooled faster as the car accelerated hard from a standing stop. It is hard to compare the Hankook Ventus RS4 with an ordinary set of all-season tires in terms of dry traction. It was simply superior!

The added horsepower of the motor was a perfect match to the traction and grip of the tires.

The steering also felt more stable and more precise as I was able to position the nose of the car perfectly as I attacked a winding corner.

Braking was also a fuss-free affair since the tires were able to stop the car confidently without much fuss or drama. The car felt composed, and the tires seem they were asking for more. It felt that the tires can stand up to bigger and better engine mods. They were that good in the dry.

Wet Traction

I got the chance to drive on wet patches of smooth concrete on my way to the test track. I didn’t get the chance to push it, but the Hankook Ventus RS4 had acceptable levels of traction and grip on wet roads. I slowed down whenever the tires encountered deep water puddles since I felt the tires were not up to the task of dealing with such nuances.

Snow Traction

Um, no. I didn’t get the chance to drive the car in the snow, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing it either. The Hankook Ventus RS4 is a summer tire designed for extreme driving, but that’s about it. This tire was not designed to be driven on snow. Frankly, so was my test car.

Comfort

The street-spec coilovers gave my test car a more civilized ride, but it was still a bit too firm for the daily drive. In fact, if you’re the type of person who has never experienced driving a car fitted with stiff coilovers, you will probably be annoyed by the stiff and bumpy ride. The tires didn’t help in this regard either.

Noise

The road noise of the Hankook Ventus RS4 is not that bad to be quite honest, but it’s not the most refined either. Credit goes to the European levels of refinement of the Ford Focus ST, but the tires are not what you call silent by any means. You will hear the tires roar on the highway, and you will feel them whispering at slow speeds as well. These are not the set of tires to consider if you are looking for ride silence and refinement.

Treadwear

The Hankook Ventus RS4 tires fitted to my test car were approximately 3 months old with a mileage of around 3,000 or so miles. The tires already had signs of wear on the treads. But considering the extreme nature and power of my test vehicle, I guess this is not bad.

Conclusion

The Hankook Ventus RS4 is a good choice for an extreme performance summer tire. It offers the highest levels of dry grip at the lowest possible price. If you are searching for an affordable set of summer tires, the Ventus RS4 should be on top of your list.

Falken Azenis RT615K+ Review

Falken Azenis RT615K+ Review

  • Dry 90%
  • Wet 80%
  • Comfort 75%
  • Noise 70%
  • Treadwear 70%
  • Overall 79%

What is the better way to test and review the Falken Azenis RT615k+ than doing that in a proper V8 muscle car! In my case, I was given the privilege to test drive a 2013 Ford Mustang GT with the Coyote 5.0-liter V8 motor. My test car was fitted with 18-inch racing wheels and the Falken Azenis RT615k tires.

Not all tires can boast of extreme performance and still remain affordable for the average buyer. Depending on the specs, the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is a bit more reasonable compared to similar offerings like the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R or the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. It’s now what you call cheap, but it’s good to know it still undercuts the competition in terms of price.

Another thing about the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is the gorgeous and aggressive asymmetric tread design. This tire definitely has the looks, and it did make my test car look a bit more muscular on the track. This tire can boast of racing-bred performance since it is based on the winning formula of the RT615K competition tire.

The ‘+’ is important since the Falken Azenis RT615K+ utilizes a digitally-engineered nanotech tread compound to deliver extreme levels of grip on both the street and the race track. In other words, it is an extreme performance summer tire that manages to retain a certain level of refinement on normal roads.

Falken Azenis RT615K+ Review: Features

The nanotech tread compound utilized in the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is engineered to improve tread flexibility while reducing heat to deliver relentless performance on dry pavement. The asymmetric design features massive side shoulder blocks that provide high levels of grip and adhesion to drastically improve the cornering prowess of your ride.

This tire is also equipped with a solid center rib that purportedly reduces wheel spin under hard acceleration. This feature is designed to minimize the contact-patch void ratio of the tire under extreme duress. This results in faster acceleration and better lap times.

The Falken Azenis RT615K+ is constructed using a high-tension carcass to improve durability, handling, and high-speed stability on all types of roads.

Falken Azenis RT615K+ Review: Test Drive

I drove the Mustang for a couple of hot laps. I also got the chance to drive on normal roads. Let’s see how the Falken Azenis RT615K+ performs under a variety of road surfaces.

Dry Traction

Similar to other extreme performance tires, the Falken Azen is RT615K+ will need to be warmed up properly before expecting the promise of competition-levels of grip. Once the tires are warm, traction and grip are at the highest level. The tires felt like they were glued to the road, and you can tell it by how the steering feels as I navigated around the track.

It literally took a heavy stab at the gas pedal and a bit of Scandinavian flick to provoke the Mustang to perform a smoky donut. The tires were that sticky. The steering even felt heftier at low speeds. In my opinion, the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is a real track weapon for extreme cars.

Wet Traction

The rain started to drizzle by the early afternoon. I took the Mustang for a spin to determine the wet performance of the Falken Azenis RT615K+. The advanced levels of traction and grip were still there, but the car felt a bit looser this time. I guess it would take the nerves of steel of a racing driver to fully exploit the capabilities of the Azenis RT615K+ on a wet track. I wasn’t brave enough to unleash all the450-plus horsepower of my test car on a greasy surface so I took it out for a drive on normal roads.

Even as the highway was soaked in rain, the tires remained calm and composed with no hints of hydroplaning. I did feel the rear tires break traction as I stabbed the gas pedal to overtake a slow vehicle ahead, but it was nothing too worrying to make me feel that I was losing control.

Snow Traction

The Falken Azenis RT615K+ is not designed to be used on the snow or in cold weather. If you want a Falken tire that can handle a bit of snow, you should be looking at the Azenis FK450 A/S. I will not include the snow performance in the final score of this review.

Comfort

My test car was fitted with aftermarket coilover suspension that is designed for the track. With that in mind, I didn’t expect the car to be as comfortable as it was riding on the stock suspension. It’s the same story when I took the car out on normal roads. The ride was stiff but it wasn’t too bad for me to puke my guts out. Regardless of the case, comfort is not one of the strong points of the Falken Azenis RT615K+.

Noise

Since the Falken Azenis RT615K+ were designed for maximum adhesion to the road, you can expect a higher level of tire roar compared to a comparable high-performance or a touring tire, and I’m being kind here. It suffices to say that if you want your tires to be silent as you drive, the Falken Azenis RT615K+ is not for you.

Treadwear

Since the level of adhesion is top notch, it is also foolish to expect the Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires to have admirable wear characteristics. The Azenis RT615K+ tires on my Mustang were purchased a week ago for a special track event. Unfortunately, the fun run was canceled due to bad weather. The car was used for as a daily driver for a week before my test drive, which was scheduled on the same day as the actual event. During that time, the tires already had visible signs of wear.

Conclusion

I’m not surprised at the low score of the Falken Azenis RT615K+ in terms of noise, comfort, and tread wear. The tires will unveil their true talents on the track or on a deserted piece of dry tarmac. During that time, you will find yourself grinning from ear to ear since the dry traction was simply top notch.

Toyo Proxes 4 Plus Review

Toyo Proxes 4 Plus Review

  • Dry 95%
  • Wet 85%
  • Snow 65%
  • Comfort 90%
  • Noise 80%
  • Treadwear 80%
  • Overall 86%

I was fortunate enough to acquire a 2007 Honda S2000 for this Toyo Proxes 4 Plus review. My test car happens to be the second generation model S2000 fitted with the bigger and more powerful F22C1 2.2-liter inline-four.

Since the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus is an ultra-high performance all-season tire, I naturally needed a sports car to take advantage of the capabilities of the tires. But the Proxes 4 Plus II is not just about outright performance. In fact, Toyo claims that this tire can deliver surprising levels of comfort along with a quiet ride. Toyo also engineered the tire to have a long tread life.

It sounds too good to be true, right? Here is a high-performance tire with the DNA of a touring tire. I wonder if there were any compromises in terms of all-weather performance considering the fact that it is hard to get all the nice attributes of a summer and touring tire in an affordable package. That’s what I intend to find out in this Toyo Proxes 4 Plus Review.

In terms of price, the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus is in the average price range. My Honda S2000 came fitted with stock 17-inch wheels and the owner told me the tires cost approximately $125 each. That’s a pretty good bargain if you’ll ask me. It’s not as cheap as other brands, but you have to understand that you are buying an ultra-high performance tire with all-season capabilities.

Toyo Proxes 4 Plus Review: Features

Unsurprisingly enough, the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus is engineered with an asymmetrical tread design. The inside tread has wide grooves with a higher number of sipes to enhance traction on the wet and in the snow while improving the braking performance of your sports car.

The outside tread is a different story. There are wider ribs and a closed shoulder design that improves vehicle stability while allowing you to corner harder at higher speeds.

This tire was constructed using a high-grip silica compound to deliver impressive braking performance and excellent handling on wet and dry pavement. The special formula of the tread compound was also formulated to produce a longer tread life.

While the tread design looks bland from my point of view, I was hoping that Toyo was kind enough to give the tire a more aggressive or sportier tread design, but you can’t have it all, right?

Toyo Proxes 4 Plus Review: Test Drive

I’m a huge fan of Japanese sports cars, and the Honda S2000 is one of my favorites. In street racing culture, you are presumed to be the king of all Honda cars if you show up in a tuned S2000. My test vehicle is bone stock except for the addition of an APC cold air intake kit to replace the restrictive air filter and airbox.

Dry Traction

Would you believe it was raining when I took the Honda S2000 for a test drive? There I was in a sprightly Japanese convertible and the weather decided to take a turn for the worst. This gave me more than enough time to assess the wet capabilities of the car, but more on that later.

The roads were still a bit damp when I was on my way to return the car, but I presumed they were dry enough to test the capabilities of the tires in the dry.

Of course, I tried to wring out every ounce of power from the motor before changing gears whenever the roads were clear. I explored the upper reaches of the lofty 8,200 rpm rev range while smiling like a loon since the tires were definitely equipped for the task.

Traction and grip were admirable despite the damp nature of the roads. I was able to throw the S2000 into a sweeping left corner without feeling the tires break traction.

Wet Traction

I was driving mostly in the rain (what a bummer) so I had more than enough time to assess the wet performance of the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus. The tires were still gripping hard despite my wobbly steering movements and I never felt the car aquaplaning on the slightest hint of a puddle.

Snow Traction

There was no time for me to test the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus in the snow, and the owner has no idea on how the tires performed in cold weather. However, the tire guys at the local tire depot told me that the Proxes Plus 4 offered acceptable levels of traction and grip, but only on very light snow. That’s good to know since Toyo is marketing this tire as an all-season derivative.

Comfort

The Honda S2000 is not what you would call a comfortable car, especially when driven in the city. The stiff nature of the suspension can also be blamed for this, but the car manages to settle down on the highway. This is where the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus truly shines. It manages to deliver acceptable levels of comfort without robbing the driver of actual road feel.

Noise

The Toyo Proxes 4 Plus was also pretty silent as the little Honda cruised on the highway. This is high praise indeed since the Honda S2000 was not designed to have Lexus-like levels of noise, vibration, and harshness. Even the owner of the car agreed with me since his old tires emitted more tire roar compared to the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus.

Treadwear

The Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tires on my Honda were approximately eight months old and had roughly 6,000 miles under its belt. The tires were already showing signs of wear, but this is normal given the mileage acquired during that time. This is good enough given the affordable price of the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus, and it is certainly good value since each tire is backed by a 45,000-mile to 50,000-mile warranty.

Conclusion

It seems the Toyo Proxes 4 Plus lives up to the promise of offering high levels of all-season traction and grip while still remaining comfortable and silent enough for the daily drive. This is truly an ultra-high performance tire that has the amenable qualities of a proper touring tire.