Tire Review: Continental DWS06
Building on Success
When you already have a successful product on the market, there’s a lot of pressure not to screw it up. Such was the case with Continental Tires’ popular DWS (Dry, Wet, and Snow) line of Ultra High Performance All-Season tires. One of its best-selling replacement tire lines in the U.S., the DWS had fitments for a broad range of sports cars, luxury cars, and crossovers. So the enhancements made on its new DWS06 line build on this proven foundation of performance, with incremental improvements in materials and design to make it an even better all-around tire.
Although an Ultra High Performance (UHP) tire, as evidenced by its high-speed W and Y speed ratings (up to 186 mph), it’s also an all-season tire, meaning it’s designed for an optimal balance of performance in all driving conditions, from dry handling to rain and snow. To demonstrate the breadth of the DWS06’s performance, Continental had multiple demonstration courses set up around its giant Uvalde proving grounds in southwest Texas, west of San Antonio. Among the courses were dry handling, wet handling, wet autocross and dry braking. There were also a wide variety of vehicles on hand to show the versatility and adaptability of the DWS06, including a Ford Mustang, Audi A4, BMW 235i M, MINI Cooper and Ford Escape. Continental was also confident enough to have several competitive products on hand for comparison. Although some of the competitors performed just as well or even slightly better on some of the individual courses, the DWS06 demonstrated its overall competence in being a confident all-around performer in all of the settings.
The most impressive demonstration of the tire’s performance was the dry handling loop, where it exhibited progressive grip that gave predictable feedback to the driver to indicate when you were approaching the limit, as opposed to the more sudden breakaway of some competitors. But the biggest eye-opener was the wet handling course, where the DWS06 offered much better wet grip and confidence than the competitive product. The two design features on the DWS06 that most contribute to its all-around performance are traction grooves designed to enhance snow performance, and X-Sipes to improve braking, cornering, and acceleration in wet, snowy and icy conditions.
Despite Continental’s German origins and the fact that it is an original equipment tire on many exclusive, high-performance models, one of the brand’s strong selling points is its value proposition. Compared to an equivalent Bridgestone model tire, the DWS06 is projected to retail for approximately 5 percent less and a substantial 20 percent less than an equivalent Michelin tire.
The DWS06 is being marketed as a premium replacement tire for sports cars, performance luxury cars and crossovers, with sizes ranging from 205/55R16 up to 295/25R22 and load ratings from SL to XL, dependent on size. It will be available starting in May 2015 nationwide.
Continental Tire North America Inc.