I have had a number of calls asking me to compare tires from different categories. Is the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position as quiet as the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity? Which one has better traction?
Tire Rack has set up these performance categories to help you decide what tires to look at based on your particular needs as a driver. This helps us narrow down your choice from hundreds of tires available. You wouldn't buy a pair of dress shoes to go hiking in the woods.
First you need to determine your needs as a driver. Are you a spirited driver? Do you have to drive this tire through the winter snow? Do you prefer a smooth quiet ride for your luxury car? Sorry, you can't have it all.
Choosing a category first will greatly speed up the process of finding the best tire for you and your car. If you are looking for mild sports car-like performance, look at Ultra High Performance Summer tires. Slightly longer treadwear than the Max Performance tires. No, you cant drive these through the snow or very cold temps. Yes, they work great in the rain.
If you are looking for a bit more performance than the Ultra High Performance category the Max Performance Summer category is typical of Original Equipment on higher horsepower sports cars like Ferrari, Porsche, and Corvette. No snow or cold temps. The Extreme Performance category provides the highest level of dry road traction available for the street. These are purpose-built tires for autocross racing and may not offer as much wet traction as some in the Max Performance category. Don't expect a great deal of treadwear. If you have attended a performance driving school these tires are for you.
If you do require an all-season tire for summer and winter use you may want to look at Ultra High Performance All-Season. Much improved agility over most O.E. tires. Treadwear anywhere from 25-60K. Average snow traction. Standard Touring All-Season tires are smooth, comfortable and quiet. Long wearing. Sometimes as high as 80K. Or consider the Grand Touring All-Season category. Similar to Standard Touring but with higher speed ratings and low profile designs for higher horsepower luxury cars.
Not every tire that is listed in each category will be available in the size needed for your vehicle.