Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires at 3,000 miles
This is an update of our long-term test of the Continental ExtremeContact Sport (ECS) ultra-high performance summer tire, which was designed to get an edge over the Michelin Pilot Sport, Pirelli P Zero, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymetric, and other max-performance summer tires in the same league. After the initial break-in period and a couple hundred miles, our initial impressions of Conti’s replacement of the ExtremeContact DW was positive on all counts. Now that we’ve had several months of driving in dry and extremely wet conditions, are they still performing up to our high level of standards? Or is the honeymoon over?
Northern California’s rainy season is finally past us but it was by far one of the wettest on record in recent history. Enough rain came down to fill our empty reservoirs and officially lead us out of a drought. And this is where the ExtremeContact Sport tires excelled, in wet traction and braking. Continental reduced the number of grooves to three wide channels that helped resist hydroplaning at speed and the new SportPlus technology applied the grip needed in slick conditions. It was amazing how much confidence we had with the tire’s wet performance when the roads were thoroughly drenched.
The design of the ECS also incorporates a small stepped groove that allows for more rubber on the outer shoulder of the tire. This, in turn, improves the tire’s dry grip and cornering ability. The wider blocks in the middle of the tire mean less tread squirm, less of a tendency to overheat, and better steering precision.
As part of our test, we spent a full day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca turning laps until we got tired. Once we figured out the proper tire pressure to run in cool weather, lap times were consistent throughout the day. Equally impressive was how good the ECS tires communicated back to the driver. Turn-in was precise, feedback when approaching the limits was spot on, and the tires relentlessly clawed the pavement when dancing through Mazda Raceway’s eleven turns.
Make no mistake, the ECS is not a track-focused tire, but an ultra-high performance tire for the street. It has a tenacious grip on dry and wet pavement while delivering a proper level of ride quality, comfort, longevity, and low road noise. Vital characteristics necessary for a tire that you live with every day.
When they were brand new, tread depth was the standard 10/32 of an inch. After 3,000 miles and a full track day, here are how the Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires measure up:
|Inner Groove||Middle Groove||Outer Groove|
|Left Front Tire||8/32 inch||8/32 inch||7/32 inch|
|Right Front Tire||8/32 inch||8/32 inch||7/32 inch|
|Left Rear Tire||10/32 inch||10/32 inch||9/32 inch|
|Right Rear Tire||9/32 inch||9/32 inch||9/32 inch|
The new ExtremeContact Sport ultra-high performance summer tire uses Continental’s latest SportPlus technology that enhances wet traction, provides precise steering for maximum control, and improved tread life. A key component is the sidewall that features a new two-ply construction and a stiffening insert, which Continental says combine to deliver a big 86 percent increase in sidewall strength but only a 6 percent increase in ride stiffness. Also, the ExtremeContact Sport includes Continental’s Tuned Performance Indicators, with D and W letters in the tread indicating the tire’s optimal performance levels in dry and wet conditions. The W will wear down first, signifying wet traction is much less than optimal. Next, the D will disappear, which means it’s time to spend for replacement tires. Tread life is said to be 20 percent better over the DW as well.
The ExtremeContact Sport comes in 71 sizes, including 17 new sizes, ranging from 15 – 20-inch wheel diameters with a W and Y speed rating. It is backed by Continental’s new warranty programs and service contracts, the Total Confidence Plan, which includes a 60-day customer satisfaction trial (or 2/32-inch of treadwear) and 12-month road hazard coverage (or first 2/32-inch) as well as a 72-month manufacturer’s limited warranty program. Also included are a 30,000-mile limited mileage warranty and three-year flat tire roadside assistance (or towing up to 150 miles).