Continental ExtremeContact DWS Review & Rating
- Dry, wet and winter traction
- Ride comfort
- Tread life
- Higher speed cornering
Drivers of high performance vehicles are used to the expense of maintaining two sets of tires to get good year round performance. All season tires are an option of course and although they have taken a large share of the general market, they often times do not offer the level of capability needed for more spirited drivers. That looks to be changing though with tires like the ExtremeContact DWS from Continental. This tire is designed to deliver excellent grip and handling at higher speeds while providing a smooth and more comfortable ride.
DWS stands for Dry, Wet and Snow, so what’s being offered here is a tire that can cope with a full range of weather conditions. That’s a big claim, but Continental is a big tire company with a long reputation for quality. The question is, does the tire deliver on its promises?
The ExtremeContact DWS tread pattern is a strongly asymmetric one, with four circumferential grooves – one of which is extremely wide. The design incorporates bold, sweeping grooves on the inboard side which are shaped to clear water from the contact area effectively. Wet weather performance is truly impressive as a result. Even in torrential rains the DWS keeps its grip on the road, with no indications of hydroplaning or lateral wobble.
Performance on dry roads is also equally as impressive as you might expect. Cornering authority might not be quite as sharp as one or two other models, but the difference is tiny. Overall the car felt rock-solid the whole time. The DWS has a Y speed rating, so it’s good to 186 mph. If there’s anywhere you can legally drive at that speed we think you’ll find them well up to the job.
Cornering – Steering
The center rib of the DWS is a continuous band, notched along the edges to improve wet weather performance. It’s not wide, but it gives an uninterrupted contact with the road which boosts its steering and cornering abilities. Unfortunately this is one of the areas where the tire isn’t at its best. Steering response remains good, but the DWS still isn’t as happy going around the bends as some of its competitors. The sidewalls are a little softer than many other tires with this sort of speed rating and that probably has a lot to do with it, but whatever the cause they just don’t feel as assured turning into a curve as some rivals.
As long as the DWS isn’t suffering from excessive wear – and see under “Tread Life” for an innovative way to know that – performance in snow is extremely good. The grooves between tread blocks are sharply angled for bite, and the blocks themselves are cross-hatched to provide even more cutting edges. These aren’t full on snow tires, but on slush or snow they give a very reassuring grip. In fact, this tire is one of the best in its class for winter performance.
Ride Comfort – Road Noise
Some all season tires let you down when it comes to ride comfort, but these Continentals manage to avoid that pitfall. No matter what the conditions the ride remained smooth and relaxed throughout.
On the other hand we did notice a little bit of noise even on dry roads. We believe vehicle weight has a hand in this as it seems the issue comes about with owners of compact or smaller coupes. Comments from other users also mentioned this, and some said it seemed to get worse as the tires wear. If quietness is a major factor for you these might not be the tires for you. On the other hand fitting them to a heavier vehicle might resolve this issue.
The UTQG rating of 540 is a fraction lower than some we’ve seen recently, but still promises to be good for 55,000 to 60,000 miles. One feature we really like is the visible wear system. The second rib of the tire has DWS molded into the outer shoulder of the second rib, and you can easily tell from the remaining letters how much capability the tire has left. When the D has worn off performance in snow will start to degrade; when the W goes wet weather handling will lose its edge and so on. It’s a really handy way to tell at a glance what to expect.
The Continental ExtremeContact DWS is supplied with a 65,000 mile / 6 year limited treadwear warranty.