My Jetta Sportwagen came standard with 17 Conti ProContact tires. They were well used up by 50,000 miles. I liked the Conti tires due to good responsiveness and cornering/braking. The Contis were always quite poor in snow, but since I also have a 4x4 available, not a big issue.
The first thing I noticed with the Pirellis is the sudden quiet on the highway! It is difficult to quantify how much quieter the P7s are than those Contis, but the difference is almost shocking. The P7s are great on wet and dry roads and they still provide good feedback in corners. The P7s are obviously better in snow than my worn out tires, but better than the ProContacts ever were in snow. The P7s are NOT great in snow however, so don't think of that as a ringing endorsement. It's more of a they don't absolutely ----. If you need snow tires, get snow tires people.
I love these P7s because of the quiet, smooth ride, great handling and feedback and somewhat improved snow performance. The P7s are just a better tire in every category in my mind. I thought the Contis were great until I got the P7s.