July 1, 2009
Max Performance Summer tire designs are engineered to blend the tire manufacturer's latest technologies into a package that can harness all of a performance car's acceleration, braking and cornering power, while remaining civilized enough for the daily commute to work or a night on the town.
Dunlop's latest Max Performance Summer tire is the SP Sport Maxx TT. This new tire combines a motorsports-inspired tread compound for traction, a group of design technologies focusing on tire shape and the wheel/tire bead interface collectively called Touch Technology (TT) for enhanced tire-to-driver communication and Kevlar-reinforced sidewalls to aid handling. The SP Sport Maxx TT follows the trend away from highly directional tread patterns, instead featuring an asymmetric design which allows the tire to be rotated periodically to improve long-term wear characteristics (and minimize the undesirable noise created by irregular wear).
To find out how the SP Sport Maxx TT performs, the Tire Rack team conducted a Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive, comparing it with three popular tires - the Continental ContiSportContact 3, Pirelli P Zero Rosso and Yokohama ADVAN Sport. All three are fitted as Original Equipment on some of the world's finest performance cars, and have a track record of providing well-refined performance. Our evaluation used 2008 BMW E92 328i coupes fitted with new, full tread depth 225/45R17 tires mounted on 17x8.0" wheels.
Our 6.6-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads provides a great variety of road conditions that include city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. This route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as you would during your drive to school or work.
Our team found the Pirelli P Zero Rosso and Continental ContiSportContact 3 continue to deliver their trademark refined road manners, leading the group with a taut but relatively compliant ride over all but the roughest sections of our evaluation route. The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT followed, also doing a competitive job at minimizing the bumps. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport rounded out the group, allowing just a little more of the road's harshness to find its way to the driver.
Overall tread noise levels among the four tires were fairly similar. All generated a moderate amount of noise at various speeds on the variety of surfaces along our route, with the ContiSportContact 3 showing a small advantage over the other three. The P Zero Rosso generated a subtle singing tone on smoother asphalt surfaces, while the SP Sport Maxx TT and ADVAN Sport both produced a modest growl on cross-grooved concrete.
All four tires felt agile, thanks to their stable and responsive handling. Our team found the P Zero Rosso and ADVAN Sport tires felt lively, with the quickest steering response of the group. The ContiSportContact 3 and SP Sport Maxx TT were both slightly slower to respond to driver inputs, but still provided overall handling appropriate for the Max Performance Summer category.
Our 1/3-mile per lap test track course includes 90-degree street corners, lane changes and simulated expressway ramps. Run in both dry and wet conditions, the test track allows our team to experience the traction, responsiveness, handling and drivability normally only encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.
On the track in dry conditions, the SP Sport Maxx TT and ContiSportContact 3 were a virtual tie for total lap time, with the advantage going to the Dunlop by the smallest of margins. During the dynamics of the test track, the ContiSportContact 3 felt marginally more responsive than the SP Sport Maxx TT, while the SP Sport Maxx TT delivered slightly better cornering and braking traction than the Continental tire. The P Zero Rosso felt responsive, but lacked the ultimate grip to match the pace of the Continental and Dunlop tires. The ADVAN Sport rounded out the group, also without quite enough grip to stay with the quicker tires.
In the wet, SP Sport Maxx TT showed a clear advantage, with more ultimate cornering and braking traction and better control at the limit, making it easier to drive quickly than the other three tires. Close behind were the ADVAN Sport and ContiSportContact 3. Trailing was the P Zero Rosso, which just didn't have the level of wet grip to match the others.
Continental ContiSportContact 3 (Max Performance Summer): The ContiSportContact 3 is Continental Tire's Max Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of powerful sports cars, sports coupes and luxury sedans. The ContiSportContact 3 is designed to combine outstanding braking capability and agile steering precision. Like all summer tires, the Continental ContiSportContact 3 is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.
Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT (Max Performance Summer): The SP Sport Maxx TT (Touch Technology) is Dunlop's Max Performance Summer tire developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and high performance sedans. Dunlop Touch Technology combines sophisticated tire development and manufacturing techniques to enhance road feedback and driving precision. Like all summer tires, the SP Sport Maxx TT is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.
Pirelli P Zero Rosso (Max Performance Summer): Italians have always identified the color red with passion. And while red sports cars are probably the most identifiable example when it comes to driving passion, there is also Pirelli's P Zero Rosso (Rosso, ro' so, Italian for red). P Zero Rosso Max Performance Summer tires were developed to combine high performance, high speed and a high degree of comfort.
Specific design techniques, raw materials and manufacturing methods have been incorporated to produce Pirelli's most comfortable Max Performance tires. Like all summer tires, P Zero Rosso tires are not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice. Read more.
Yokohama ADVAN Sport (Max Performance Summer): The ADVAN Sport is Yokohama's Max Performance Summer tire developed for some of the world's most prestigious sports cars, sports coupes and high performance sedans. The ADVAN Sport in the 275/35ZR20 size has been chosen as the exclusive Original Equipment (O.E.) tire for the Bentley Motors Continental GT equipped with the Mulliner Driving Package, the world's fastest four-seater coupe in 2005 with the maximum speed of 197 mph (318 km/h). Read more.
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