#1.) what tire are you offering for review (please include size)
Continental Extreme Contact (think this was pre-DWS designation -- bought in Aug 2008) 205/55/16 on 04 wrx hatch (stock).
#2.) what is your geographic location
Semi-rural New Hampshire
#3.) what types of driving events if any (i.e. track, AutoX, RallyX)
#4.) percent of highway vs. city driving
90% highway & backroad
#5.) your review and personal comments
I bought these largely as a result of reading reviews at Nasioc in 2008. Somehow, I got the idea that these tires would be similar to the Proxes 4 just reviewed, but quieter and longer lasting. Wrong.
The good: quiet, fantastic in rain. They are now down to wear bars and still do not hydroplane at 70 mph -- it's quite unbelievable and totally at odds with 33 years of driving experience (mostly too fast) They are getting a little noisier at end of life, but not bad, nothing at all like the Toyos! Have in excess of 35K on these tires. Had hoped for 40... but I do like my on ramps, etc.
The not-so-hot: really spongy feeling. The ride is better than the Proxes 4 and they stick okay for an all season, but they just don't have that great feel that the Toyos did. Big disappointment. Crisp handling is something you can actually enjoy legally on the highway... but not with these tires.
I've also had three punctures with these tires -- weird -- there's no particular reason I can see why they should pick up nails and screws more than other tires, but they seem to. All were easily fixed, so no biggie.
In the next couple weeks, they'll be replaced by Michelin Pilot Sport A/S, already purchased. (tire rack had a good rebate deal that I took advantage of, $70 on a set of four, brought them down to just a few bucks more than the CEC DWS. Made in USA too!)
update 9/28/10: I've had the Michelin Pilot Sport A/Ss on for a couple weeks now. 1800 mile road trip towing trailer to break 'em in, some fairly spirited driving on wet pavement in the last couple days. This is by no means enough experience to constitute a basis for a real review, but my initial impressions are quite favorable on the whole.
The good news: handling -- the switch from Conti to Sport A/S is reasonably dramatic. Steering and tracking are noticeably improved with the Michelin, as expected. No more spongies (relatively speaking -- I mean these are daily driver tires and I review them as such). Ride is similar at 40 psi, which is to say pretty good. the big surprise is that the rain performance of the Michelins appears to be fully as good as the Conti. Take that with a grain of salt and check back when 2/3 of the tread is ground off because the Contis were exceptional here, but on full tread, MPA/S is all of what the conti was, with handling bennies previously noted. Also good: Z rated tire as expected, very little balance weight required. Now for the merely acceptable: they aren't nearly as quiet as I expected based on other reviews here. they aren't horrible, but they go make this edgy growl at 45 mph that sounds just a little like a wheel bearing in the early stages of giving up. With 2500 miles on or so, at least it isn't getting worse (my Toyo Proxes 4s were getting noticeably louder by that mileage). At higher or lower speeds, you hear 'em, but it isn't obnoxious.
Haven't driven these things hard on dry pavement, no comments to make there. Overall initial impression is that these are a a better sport oriented daily driver tire than the CEC or Proxes4.