Although it costs far less, the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D proves just as sure-footed on ice and snow as the top-rated winter tire for performance cars, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 (Est. $245) . The less expensive Dunlop doesn't handle quite as nimbly as the Michelin, though, and the ride's stiffer.
Shines on snow and ice -- but there are sportier winter tires. "Where these tyres absolutely shine is snow, ice and slush," writes one owner at Tyre Reviews (U.K.) -- and other experts and owners agree. The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D plows through snow and stops on ice just as impressively as the pricey Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 in one top test -- although not as effortlessly as the severe-winter Michelin X-Ice Xi3 (Est. $105) .
The Dunlop can't quite match the Michelin PA4's sporty handling, though. When it comes to swerving, cornering and steering feel, the Michelin rates "very good" in a top test; the Dunlop is just "fair." Still, owners like the Dunlop's performance for the money.
Quiet and fairly comfy. These are quiet tires. "Staggeringly quiet," one owner says at Tyre Reviews. Another says the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D is "by far the most quiet winter tyre I have had," and several say the 4Ds roll more quietly than their summer tires. One top source rates the Dunlop "good" for noise -- same as the Michelin PA4 and better than the rest of the competition. The Dunlop can't quite match the Michelin's ride comfort in that test, but it still rates "good," and owners aren't complaining.
Should be long-wearing, but no treadwear warranty. Like most winter tires, the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D carries no treadwear warranty. Neither did its predecessor, the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D. Still, the 3D lasts just as long as its Michelin rival with the 30,000-mile warranty, owners at TireRack.com report, so the 4D can probably be expected to do just as well. In Europe (where the 4D has been available longer), an owner at Tyre Reviews says the 4Ds have lasted 17,000 hard miles over two winters, and they're still good for one more winter.
Editors here test more than 30 non-studded winter tires, including seven of the latest performance winter tires. The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D is ranked among them, based on its ice and snow grip, wet- and dry-road performance, ride comfort, noise and rolling resistance.
Review: Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
2. Tire Rack
The Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D makes this retail site's list of the top six performance winter tires. Experts here regularly test winter tires, but they haven't yet tested the new 4D.
Review: Which Winter Performance Category Is Right for You?, Cy Chowattukunnel, Oct. 10, 2013
3. Tire Rack
The 4D's predecessor, the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D, is still the top-rated performance winter tire among customers here. Only a handful have reviewed the new 4D -- all highly satisfied, including on ice and snow.
Review: Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, Contributors to TireRack.com, As of November 2013
This British site has accumulated about 17 owner reviews of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D. Like TireRack.com, some of the reviews are quite thorough and helpful. Owners award it 92 out of 100 percent, on average.
Review: Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, Contributors to Tyre Reviews, As of November 2013