If you’re going more for looks rather than performance your choice of tires is completely down to personal preference. We will go over different levels of tire giving some examples of what you can expect from each level, then you can hopefully make a more informed decision on your next set. Factory tire sizes are 225/45R18 front, 255/40R18 rear for the 18″ stock wheels and 225/40R19 front, 255/35R19 rear for the 19″ stock wheels. If you purchased wider wheels already you will probably want to run a bigger size, even if you are going for a stretched tire look. There is such a wide variety of fitments and possible tires sizes that we could not hope to list them all here, so if you’re having trouble figuring out a tire size that will work with your wheel we encourage you to contact our Mod Experts for assistance by Phone Email or Live Chat on our website.
-Max Performance Summer tires:
Just because it’s a more show oriented car doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. If you like to carve canyons or take on the occasional autocross/casual track day then you should consider a set of Max Performance tires. This category offers you a high level of street oriented performance, you’ll get great dry grip, wet grip, and responsiveness, along with modest tire wear (not great, but not awful). Please note, wet performance is determined by a wet surface only, for low temperature conditions an all-weather compound is advisable.
Here at Modbargains we’re big fans of the PS4S. To see all the fine details and third party testing check out our PS4S blog article or watch our Know Your Mods episode. Put succinctly for those who just want a quick summary: this tire is immensely versatile due to its brilliant dual compound construction by Michelin. The inside edge of the tire is a harder compound to improve longevity while the outer edge is a softer compound that improves grip in corners. Just be aware that they are oriented towards comfort so they do have a softer sidewall than some other tires in their performance category.
If you want a more performance oriented tire that sacrifices a little longevity the NT05 is a great choice. The main complaints we see on these tires are their lower treadwear and their straight-line acceleration grip, but as the E46 M3 has a very linear power band the second should not be a big issue. These tires make up for these shortcomings with excellent lateral grip for hard cornering. They are also about 20-30% cheaper than the PS4S so the cost evens out, just depends on what you’re looking for.
Very solid tire for those looking for a high performance tire that will last a decent amount of time but will also be inexpensive to replace when the time comes. The Ventus V12 Evo2 sports a high treadwear rating, good wet traction and solid dry traction. They also cost about 40% less than the PS4S. Just something to keep in mind.
-Ultra High Performance Summer tires:
UHP Summer tires are a step below Max performance, but they have a respectable amount of grip and will be more friendly towards your wallet. For the driver who likes a performance feel but doesn’t push it too the limit frequently. The trade-off for this is that tires are both cheaper to purchase, and will last longer due to higher treadwear.
Much like the previously mentioned Nitto Nt05s, the Nitto NT555G2 are great for cornering. Their lateral grip is superb for their performance category and these won’t set you back too much for a full set. The 320 treadwear rating means you’ll get a decent amount of life out of these tires so you can enjoy them longer than you might a set of max performance tires. Straight line grip is a little lacking like the NT05s so just keep that in mind if you have a heavy foot out of corners.
The G-Max RS is a very budget friendly performance option for the casual performance enthusiast. They come with a grippy compound, a wet weather optimized tread pattern, and a strong center rib for crisp steering response. If you like to take the occasional canyon drive and just want enough grip to have a little fun, these tires are a great choice that won’t set you back an arm and a leg.
If you don’t really care all that much about hard cornering and prefer to have a tire that you don’t have to worry about replacing then an all-season tire isn’t a bad option for you. Their compounds sacrifice some wet and dry traction for treadwear and temperature benefits. In more extreme climates all-weather tires do a bit better job of retaining traction than their summer counterparts because their compounds and tread designs are designed to stay more flexible in the cold.
If you’re in the market for all-seasons then the top contender would have to be the DWS06 from Continental. These tires have excellent performance, 560 treadwear rating, and a ridiculously generous warranty. The Continental “Total Confidence Plan” features: a 60 day trial period, 1 year of road hazard coverage, 3 years of roadside assistance, and a 6 year/50,000 mile limited warranty (25,000 if you run a staggered setup). If that doesn’t sound good well then we don’t know what does.
Finally, we have our “yes I’d like tires please” option. The General G-Max AS-05 is not top tier by any means but it is still an impressively stout tire with good treadwear and a nice warranty (45,000 miles). They’re your budget option after the DWS06 and will perform admirably for their price level.
-Understanding UTQG Treadwear, Traction, And Temperature Ratings:
Treadwear – A standardized test of how quickly a tire wears down over 7200 miles (with tire rotations, alignment checks, and pressure checks every 400 miles). The tire is tested against a standardized “Course Monitoring Tire” and its grade is assigned based on the relative wear. 100 would indicate it would last as long as the test tire, while 200 would indicate that it would last twice as long as the Course Monitoring Tire. This still only tells us so much because we don’t know exactly how long the “Course Monitoring Tire” lasts. Also, treadwear is subject to some interpretation as the wear experienced on the tire being tested is open to interpretation by the manufacturer. In general though, the higher the number, the longer it will last.
Traction – UTQG traction tests do not evaluate traction in relation to dry braking, dry cornering, wet cornering, or high speed hydroplaning resistance. The test is simply a representation of the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement as the tire skids. So this test really only applies to those without ABS in wet conditions.
Temperature – The temperature grades are a scale that indicates a tire’s ability to resist the heat buildup produced by speed. A is good enough for speeds over 115 mph, B is between 100-115 mph, and C is between 85-100 mph.
No matter what tire you decide to buy, we recommend not letting the UTQG Rating have much influence on your purchase.
Tires…(page 3) – Current
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