For the best possible winter grip -- short of switching to winter tires -- experts recommend the ultra-high-performance (UHP) all-season Continental ExtremeContact DWS. This tire far outclasses other performance all-seasons in tests at the Arctic Circle, and it gets great reviews from owners slogging through real-life ice and snow. Winter aside, reviews say the ExtremeContact DWS is an outstanding all-around tire, impressing experts in dry and wet road and track tests, even when pushed to its limits.
The Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position (*Est. $185) beats the Continental in one top test on wet and dry roads, but the Continental has the proven track record on snow and ice -- the brand-new Bridgestone has only one winter's worth of owner reviews under its belt and no expert winter tests. The ExtremeContact DWS carries a 50,000-mile tread-wear warranty (most UHP tires offer no tread warranty at all), compared with the Bridgestone's 40,000-mile warranty..
ConsumerReports.org tests the Continental ExtremeContact DWS against 16 of its competitors. Experts at TireRack.com run two separate head-to-head tests involving the Continental ExtremeContact DWS -- one on wet and dry roads, and one in ice and snow at the Arctic Circle. TireRack.com customers add more than 1,900 reviews of the tire's real-life performance. Edmunds Inside Line, About.com and Eurotuner magazine all test the ExtremeContact DWS against other tires at the same Continental press event, and all come to similar -- but not identical -- conclusions.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Continental ExtremeContact DWS in its latest test of 20 ultra-high-performance all-season tires. Editors rate each tire's grip on wet, dry, snowy and icy surfaces, as well as its ride quality, quietness, rolling resistance and tread life.
Review: Ultra High Performance All-season Tire Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Tire Rack
Winter-driving tests at the Arctic Circle show that the Continental ExtremeContact DWS is "a league above" other ultra-high-performance all-season tires. Experts test it head-to-head against competitors from Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and Yokohama.
Review: Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Ultra High Performance All-Season, Editors of TireRack.com, Sept. 6, 2009
3. Tire Rack
TireRack.com experts test the Continental ExtremeContact DWS, this time on regular wet and dry roads. It finishes last out of four tires, mostly because its open tread doesn't handle quite as well as the other tires -- but it's only 9/100ths of a point behind the first-place Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position, which wasn't included in the snow test.
Review: Testing Bridgestone's Potenza RE970AS Pole Position Ultra High Performance All-season Tire, Editors of TireRack.com, June 1, 2011
4. Tire Rack
Owner reviews drop the Continental ExtremeContact DWS to second place behind the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position in the ultra-high-performance (UHP) all-season tire category. With more than 1,900 reviews posted, owners still give it "excellent" or "superior" ratings for comfort, noise, tread wear and performance on every road condition.
Review: Continental ExtremeContact DWS, Contributors to TireRack.com
5. Edmunds Inside Line
Edmunds Inside Line tests the Continental ExtremeContact DWS at a Continental press event against competitors from Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin. After testing the tires' wet and dry handling, braking and skid-pad performance, Albert Austria says the Continental rides better and at times handles better than the others.
Review: New Tire Tech: Continental ExtremeContact DW and DWS, Albert Austria, April 14, 2009
About.com guide Jonathan Lamas attends the same Continental comparison test as Edmunds Inside Line. He ranks each tire's performance on both dry and wet surfaces, with tests on an oval, public road and time-attack road course (in a time attack, cars individually race against the clock for the best overall lap time). The Continental ExtremeContact DWS wins more often than the others, and it never comes in last on any test, but Lamas doesn't pick a favorite. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Mustang Tire Comparison: Continental, Goodyear and BFGoodrich, Jonathan Lamas
7. Eurotuner magazine
Eurotuner magazine attends the same Continental press event, and testers are just as impressed with the Continental ExtremeContact DWS as other reviewers. After "pushing the DWS to the max" on a BMW 328i, Mazda3 and Mustang GT, testers say they feel more confident with the DWS, and they find it quieter than its rivals.
Review: Driving the New Continental ExtremeContact Tires, Editors of Eurotuner magazine, March 11, 2009