The M3 receives Continental ExtremeContact DW Tires

Continental ExtremeContact DW Close Up

After somehow squeezing 30,000 miles out of my Michelin Pilot Super Sports it was finally time to go tire shopping. This time around I found a great deal on the Continental ExtremeContact DW and decided to downsize slightly by going with 245/40/18’s on all four. This tire would be about half an inch shorter and ten millimeters narrower. My thought process was that sure, the car came from the factory with 255/40/18’s out back but those were the not so sticky first generation Michelin Pilot All Season tires. A dedicated summer tire such as the Continental ExtremeContact DW would not only save a few pounds, but provide less rolling resistance due to it’s dimensions and also provide better traction in warm temperatures of the spring and summer months.

This may be a good time to mention my suspension and wheel setup. I’m running the factory 18×9 wheels on all four corners. Not only does this configuration allow for superior tire rotation patterns for more even tire wear, it also means the car will brake and turn better due to the increased tire contact patch up front. My M3 has Eibach springs on Koni Yellow dampers with the factory strut hats swapped for an additional two degrees of negative camber. The additional camber is necessary to run the low offset 18×9 rear wheels up front. I’ll also note that I run winter tires from November to April so I never have to settle for mediocre dual-purpose tires.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Close Up
For being just one size narrower, there is quite a difference in the square-ness of the Continental ExtremeContact DW tire’s edge profile compared to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. The DW still has sufficient lip protection on the 18×9 wheel but also has slightly more roundness where the sidewall meets the contact patch. This actually worked out well because the Michelin Pilot Sports, only 10mm wider, appeared much more meaty. When installed on the front of my car, the DW tires with it’s rounded profile tucks the top of the tire under the fender in a much more natural way. I was worried the 245 width tires would look too skinny for the car but that isn’t at all the case.

Continental DW mounted on E46 M3
On the road, there is a night and day difference in steering response. Unfortunately, it’s not for the better. Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport provided razor sharp feedback through the steering wheel. The Continental DW feels a bit sloppy in comparison and it only gets worse as the speeds increase. The first lane change at 55 MPH was hair raising. I lightly turn in and feel the car begin to steer and then a fraction of a second later comes additional turn-in. It’s as if I’m playing a video game with high latency. My brain says I’m doing one thing but the reaction from the car is delayed by just enough to feel disconnected. I can only imagine how supernatural the PSS’s would feel to somebody previously using these DW’s.

With just under 300 miles on the Continental ExtremeContact DW’s, I want to say that the steering response seems to have gotten better although it’s more likely that I’m just getting used to the feel of the tires. We received a heavy rain storm the other day and the DW’s cut through puddles without any drama. Wet braking performance on the streets felt equal to the Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Dry braking and grip while accelerating also feels similar to the Super Sports. The Continental ExtremeContact DW tires are also quieter than the Michelin Pilot Super Sports were when they were removed.

As of now, I’m happy with the purchase and would definitely recommend these tires to anybody who needs good tread life but also amazing traction on the street in warm months. I’ll have a couple thousand miles and at least one autocross on these tires by end of June so I’ll be sure to follow up with another review then.

Be sure to check out my BMW M3 and all the modifications on WheelWell.com