Tires are the most important regularly replaced part of an automobile. Most car owners can get away with purchasing whatever tires the local auto shop has in stock, but if you own any type of high performance vehicle, it is crucial to purchase the correct tires to maximize your car’s performance and safety. This guide covers the best summer tires out there – max performance summer tires, to be specific.
These tires provide outstanding grip in dry and wet conditions, but don’t even think about driving in the snow with them. If you live in areas where snow is an issue, there’s always the option of all-season tires, but if you’ve purchased a sporty car then you might as well spend some extra cash and invest in an extra set of wheels. This way, you can keep a set of a summer tires for the majority of the year and a set of specialized snow tires for the winter months.
Now, on to the tires:
Dunlop SP Sport Maxx
The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx is Dunlop’s premier summer tire, but it doesn’t quite excel in any area. Its greatest strength is decent handling in wet pavement, but dry traction is not nearly as good. The treadwear is average. Fortunately, the SP Sport Maxx is cheaper than most of the other tires in this guide, so this tire is a pretty good choice if you are unwilling to spend a lot of money.
The unfortunately named ContiSportContact 2 is a tire that performs well but doesn’t seem to perform well. Driving on these tires feels boring compared to the other brands, yet the performance is actually pretty good. The tires also have good tread life. The price is average among the group. The tread design channels water well, giving the tire good wet traction; unfortunately, its dry traction is not that great. The tires give good performance for the money, but they just don’t feel very sporty. If you are looking for an all-around tire for a decent price, the ContiSportContact 2 is a good purchase, but it’s not recommended if you actually enjoy driving your car.
Kumho Ecsta MX
The Kumho Ecsta MX is the cheapest tire on this list, and also the worst. It simply can’t keep up with the others in terms of performance. Its treadwear is decent, but that’s about it. The wet traction is disappointing; when this tire loses traction on slippery roads it really loses it. The hydroplaning resistance is poor and the tire has a difficult time regaining lost traction, making it very unsafe to drive aggressively in wet weather. Of course, that is always unsafe and a very bad idea, but some tires can handle it. This one can’t. The low price may be tempting, but the Ecsta MX is not recommended.
Pirelli PZero Rosso
This tire sells for an exorbitant price considering its average capabilities. The PZero Rosso doesn’t excel in any area, but it’s not bad like the Kumho or boring like the Continental. It is simply an average tire in every regard: average dry traction, average wet traction, average steering response, average treadwear. If it had an average price, it might have been an average buy, and if it had a low price it would have been a great buy. Unfortunately, it’s simply too expensive to recommend; it is the second most expensive tire on this list, but nowhere near the second best.
Yokohama ADVAN Sport
Yokohama’s ADVAN Sport is an excellent tire. Its greatest strength is its excellent dry traction. Wet traction is not as good, but it is certainly not bad. Treadwear is actually pretty good considering this tire’s capabilities. The ADVAN Sport is an expensive tire; only the Pirelli and Michelin are more expensive. Unlike the Pirelli, this tire justifies its high price with excellent capabilities, but it still seems a little too expensive. Nevertheless, you can’t go wrong with this tire.
Michelin Pilot Sport PS2
The PS2 is Michelin’s flagship summer tire and it is also the most expensive tire in this guide. Thankfully, it more or less earns its price with exceptional performance. Like the Yokohama, dry traction is excellent. Wet traction is only slightly worse; in fact, this tire feels extremely similar regardless of whether or not the road is wet. The tires are very sporty; on dry pavement, these are the best handling tires you can get. The treadwear is not that great; coupled with the high price, this tire is recommended for the driver who has no qualms about spending a lot of money on tires. If you fall into that group, this is an excellent purchase. Just be aware that there are cheaper alternatives that are almost as good.
Goodyear’s Eagle line of summer tires includes many variants, but the GS-D3 is the most popular. The first thing you notice about the GS-D3 is its cool tread design, but it’s not just for looks. Those treads channel water extremely well; in fact, the GS-D3 is easily the best performing tire in the whole group on wet pavement. Excellent wet traction and high hydroplaning resistance make this the safest tire in rainy days, and best of all this tire has an average price. It is the cheapest of all of the high performers. The treadwear and dry traction are also good. There’s only one “downside” to this tire: the steering response and cornering are good, but not quite as great as some of the others. Still, this tire is simply the best value there is; for an average price you are getting an excellent tire.
Bridgestone’s flagship tire is another excellent performer. On dry pavement it handles better than any tire except the Michelin; on wet pavement it is on par with the other high performers, except the Goodyear which is the best by a notable margin. Treadwear is good, and best of all this tire sells for a reasonable price; it’s more expensive than the Goodyear, but less expensive than the Yokohama and Michelin, both of which offer similar performance, with the Michelin being slightly better and the Yokohama being slightly worse. Overall, this tire is an excellent buy, especially if you never drive your car in the rain, which eliminates the slightly cheaper Goodyear’s biggest advantage.