Test of the Titans

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by Gavin Carpenter

It's the middle of January and customers are already calling in about Max Performance Summer tires. Nothing can brighten the day of a tire specialist more than the sweet smell of summer rubber in the winter!

As a sales specialist that tries not to be too hasty in recommending a tire, I like to have the opportunity to test it, get customer feedback and give the tire time to "stretch its legs" in the real world and see how it stacks up for the long haul. The following tires are heavy hitters in the Max Performance Summer performance category. They're streetable, trackable and still comfortable enough to work on a commuter vehicle or a high-end supercar. Last June we had the opportunity to test each tire and see how they perform against one another:

To summarize, each tire performed well during the test, however the Michelin Pilot Super Sport did very well in comparison. The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Positions came in second, with the Continental ExtremeContact DW in third and the Pirelli PZero at the Conti's heels. Take a closer look at the results by viewing this chart that's a part of "Clash of the Titans: Testing Two New Max Performance Summer Heavy Hitters."

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza S-04
Pole Position
Continental ExtremeContact DW
Continental ExtremeContact
DW
Pirelli PZero
Pirelli
PZero

Here's a look at what some customers are saying about their experiences with each tire:

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position:
"...These tires were everything I needed them to be. A vast improvement over last year's run with the all season ultra high performance tires from Pirelli. Nothing wrong with the Pirellis just not as good as these tires in highly spirited driving in the mountains. These S-O4 pole position tires were quite, sticky, and performed when I needed them." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2003 Audi TT Coupe Quattro

Continental ExtremeContact DW:
"Tire Rack's test results and customer survey results are accurate: the best qualities of the DW are very good ride quality, extremely low noise, and superior wet traction. It took about 1,000 miles to break these in, before which the ride felt slightly too smooth. Since then, the drive has firmed up a notch and gotten more sporty..." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2008 MAZDA3

Michelin Pilot Super Sport: 
"Made my Porsche so much better! Dramatically improved ride comfort and decreased noise level. Like a totally different car." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera

Pirelli PZero:
"...After reading all the good test results I was expecting a good tyre and boy did it deliver , the precision of this tyre is mind boggling , it gives such a good feel through the steering and the grip is just immense , it rides very well for a Max performance tyre..."
-- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2004 BMW 645Ci Coupe Sport Package

Michelin Pilot Super SportLast year was the first year the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position and Michelin Pilot Super Sport were available, so I had some reservation on recommending either without some customer feedback. This year, you can count on me recommending both, but the Michelin is definitely my top pick due to its poise and comfort as a streetable tire and also as a tire that can take what you and your car can dish out on the track or street. The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position is a close second. The Continental and Pirelli would be the top picks if you're looking for a slightly more comfortable tire, but are willing to sacrifice in the area of performance.

Interested in more results from our testing? Watch our test results video from this summer's "Clash of the Titans."

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