Continental ExtremeContact Sport Long Term Tire Test: A Worthy Upgrade for Any Car? [Review]

VW Golf R Mk6 setup with new Continental tires and Neuspeed wheels
2012 VW Golf R upgraded with a set of 18-inch Neuspeed RSe10 wheels and Continental ExtremeContact Sport ultra-high performance summer tires

The thought of your next summer tire for your ride might be a few months away since most of the country is feeling the full effects of winter rain and snow. Even sunny California has been getting drenched with showers up and down the state. Fortunately, Continental set me up with their hottest tire — which will soon be available — the ExtremeContact Sport (ECS) categorized as an ultra-high performance summer tire.

Built for car enthusiasts and consumers who drive premium sports cars, luxury sports cars, muscle cars or roadsters, the ExtremeContact Sport offers grip for drivers in dry and wet conditions, according to Continental.

The short story is that Continental invested a lot of resources over three years towards developing a completely new tire featuring their SportPlus Technology, a new tread pattern, and new underlying construction with the goal of matching the performance of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport without the high price tag. With input from pro-IMSA race car drivers and a lot of intense engineering, Continental Tire claims they developed an ultra-high performance summer tire that’s duly impressive on dry pavement and remarkable in the wet, especially with wet braking. The new 2-ply sidewall, which has stiffer inserts, helps transfer steering input in the desired driving direction without compromising road comfort.

Continental ExtremeContact Sport tire review

Looking to greatly improve upon their own current generation ExtremeContact DW tires and stand above the competition, Continental looked at what they could improve and performed comparison analysis to other top-of-the-line performance tires from multiple brands. In side-by-side testing, Continental claims the new ExtremeContact Sport tires were measured to be quieter than the UHP tires from Bridgestone, Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear, Pirelli, and Michelin.

One of the key aspects engineered into the ECS is its progressive nature. Predictability and feedback when approaching the limits are paramount for a driver – especially when driving and braking at high speeds. Not only does this make the ExtremeContact Sport a worthy track day tire but it is also valuable on the street where good road manners, comfort, and ride quality are vitally important towards making your daily drive enjoyable.

Initial Driving Impressions

The new Continental tires were mounted on a new set of Neuspeed RSe10 lightweight alloy wheels. For the purpose of this test and to maintain street comfort, I stayed with the factory sizes. The stock wheels measure 18×8 inches and the tire size is a modest 225/40ZR18. The new tire and wheel combo amount to a 14 percent weight savings at each corner, which certainly raised an eyebrow or two.

I’ve only logged a couple hundred miles to date in both dry and extremely wet weather. Since the tires are still in their break-in phase, I haven’t pushed them too hard, yet. Right away, I noticed the Contis had more grip, both lateral and in a straight line, over the Dunlop SP Sport 01 all-season tires that came with the car. Wet traction and wet braking performance were definitely confidence inspiring. For a summer tire, the Continental ECS tires are doing an outstanding job in heavy rain. I can’t comment on cold weather performance because typical California cold weather temperatures fall between the upper thirties and low fifties — temps that are nowhere extreme as to what the midwest and northeastern states experience.

New tire and wheel combination saves 6 pounds per corner
New tire and wheel combination saves 6 pounds per corner

Overall, These tires ride smooth and quiet, even at 80 mph. Plus, they are super responsive to steering inputs. All it takes is a light twist of the steering wheel to change lanes; you just think about it and the car is moving over. Whether the road has been dry, wet or thoroughly soaked with rain, these tires provide the poise a driver wants and needs. I can hardly wait to lap Mazda Raceway with these new tires next month. Rain or shine. Bring it on!

The Continental ExtremeContact Sport, available in February 2017, comes in 71 sizes, including 17 new sizes, ranging from 15–20-inch wheel diameters with a W and Y speed rating. Thus, it’s a good bet that this ultra-high performance summer tire will fit your Corvette, Miata, GTR, Camaro, or Mustang GT350.

Depending on your driving style and the number of miles driven each year, the Continental ExtremeContact Sport ultra-high performance tire could be your ticket to driving nirvana. Drivers who use their daily driver for periodic back-road blasts and light-hearted track days in the mix will thoroughly enjoy the performance served up by the ExtremeContact Sport tires. The W and Y-speed ratings ensure that the tire can handle the high-speed demands of the track without inciting a heart attack.

We delved into our archives and dusted off our first drive of the 2012 VW Golf R. If we had fun when the car was setup with Dunlop SP all-season tires back then, think how much more fun it would be with a sticky set of summer tires.

Continental ExtremeContact Sport long-term tire test[June 14, 2017 – update] After 3,000 miles of driving and a track day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, what are our impressions now? Read the progress report HERE.

To our readers, this will be a long-term test and review of Conti’s new ultra-high performance summer tire on TFLcar’s latest long-term test vehicle – a 2012 VW Golf R. This is a daily driver that will see a couple of track days. Periodic updates will be published after 3 months and 12 months of driving.

Continental ExtremeContact Sport ultra-high performance summer tires:

  • Rim diameter: 15 – 20 inches
  • Aspect ratio: 25 – 55
  • Speed rating: W, Y
  • Treadwear: 340
  • Traction: AA
  • Temperature: A
  • Mileage warranty: 50,000**
  • Customer Satisfaction Trial: 60 days*

** Mileage warranty for the rear axle of split fitments will be 50% of standard tread wear out coverage.
* Coverage is within the stated duration from the date of purchase or the first 2/32nds treadwear, whichever comes first.

Restrictions and Limitations Apply. See Continental’s Total Confidence Plan for complete coverage details.

Editor’s Note: Continental provided these tires for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are those of the author.