We bought 4 215X45X17 XL Conti Extreme Contact DWS and had them mounted in October 2010 at Martin Tire in Worcester Ma, a Tire Rack recommended service center. They did an excellent job, inflating to 40 psi, did not scratch the allow rims, and it has never been necessary to return for rebalancing. We went through the 2010-2011 winter with record snowfalls and we live at nearly 1000 ft on the hills to the west of Worcester. The approaches are very steep and challenging with lots of snow and ice. Most of our neighbors have AWD or 4WD vehicles (and our other car is a Nissan Pathfinder). We just passed 10,000 miles on the tires and they look new with no sign of tread wear. We had no difficulty all winter long making our hill into our driveway. There were instances when there was 5-6 inches of snow down and the grade is steep with no opportunity to build speed ahead of the turn onto our road. We have one of the steepest accesses in Worcester MA yet we had no trouble getting home in severe weather conditions. These tires come very close to the Mountain and Snowflake severe weather requirement and we highly recommend them for northern tier states and CANADA where snow, ice and HILLS are a problem. If you have an AWD Subaru, VW, BMW or Audi I would recommend them even for areas as tough as Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. They are excellent in severe conditions (and we have only front wheel drive)! I keep the tires inflated to 50 psi year round which improves their handling and treadwear. The Conti's are a true radial, not a bias radial and the 2 ply sidewalls and 4 ply tread are highly conforming to the road surface. Don't be afraid to put them close to their 51 PSI maximum. We found the ride conforming because the sidewall flexibility cushions the bumps. Also, the 177HP Sentra SER engine hits maximum torque at 2800 rpm yet reducing the tire size from stock 225X45X17 to 215X45X17 XL did not cause any tire spin issues. On a dry road, they are awesome. Great tires.