If you're the pilot of a super car, sports car/coupe, high performance sedan or tuner looking for the ultimate next set or upgrade, Our TOP 10 Best Summer Performance Tires List for 2016 removes the guesswork unveiling ten top models worthy of outfitting your performance vehicle. The summer performance genre runs $100 - $300 per tire.
So, what are summer performance tires? Well, they're designed for pinnacle capability in both dry & (very) wet but temperate conditions allowing drivers to realize their vehicles intended potential while maintaining comfort and practicality in the aforementioned temperate, day-to-day driving environments. A summer tire is not developed for snowy/icy, near freezing conditions. The rubber compounds used are incapable of accommodating extreme temperature variances nor are they equipped with the requisite siping to provide the essential traction drivers would need in 'all-season' type conditions. *see our top all season tire lists.
While max performance summer/autocross tires handle the epitome of track style driving, summer performance tires are best suited for drivers who seek unwavering confidence when they dodge, dip, dive, duck &... er... dodge their steeds through the daily concrete jungle.
** Like any top performer list there is room for discussion. Start with our lists and sort as you see fit.
** Extreme Performance Summer tires are not intended to be serviced, stored nor driven in near or below freezing temperatures or through snow or on ice.
PROS: Best wet & dry balance of the list | Very quiet | Top notch ride quality
The Michelin Pilot Super Sport claims the throne on our TOP 10 Best Summer Performance Tires List, and for good reason. The heart and soul of this tire lies in the engineering of Michelin's endurance racing success with thirteen straight Le Mans wins. Michelin has employed three all-star technologies into the Pilot Super Sport directly from their experience in endurance racing such as Le Mans.
1 - Dual Compound: On the outside of the tire, a dry compound delivers exceptional dry grip & braking. On the inside, a wet compound lurks ready to flex it's preeminent wet grip ability in rainy conditions.
2a - Twaron Belt Package: Its top layered internal structure (steel belts) is bolstered by a spirally wrapped, high-density polyamide cording fibre (Twaron) that tightens the tread in the center more than the shoulders allowing it to combat the aggressive centrifugal force associated with high speeds and evenly distributes stress across the footprint. (Resists a phenomenon called Flatspotting)
2b - Variable Contact Patch (VCP): Twaron's partner in crime is the always evolving VCP. The contact patch changes as the tire corners. As the footprint shape changes while cornering, the amount of rubber in contact with the road remains the same = *12% better handling and 2x longer treadlife providing consistency and longevity.
If that's not enough, the Pilot Super Sport is also shielded with aramid/nylon filaments (FAZ technology) for locked in stabilized steering ability. (aramid is the material that makes bullet proof vests, bullet proof.)
Whether you're smashin' the gas in a super car or commanding the road in a luxury sedan, the Pilot Super Sport deserves to carry you across the pavement. You are hereby crowned 'KING'!
** 30K Mile MFG Treadwear Warranty - Staggered fitments = 1/2. Zero Pressure = 30K max.
** + Standard Limited Warranty
PROS: Wet & Dry traction | Quiet | Fair price point
CONS: Inconsistent treadwear
Promoting an asymmetrical tread pattern and silica enriched compound, Bridgestone's Potenza S-04 Pole Position is aimed at drivers of high performance sports cars, coups & sedans who are looking for a tire that allows them to find, unleash and exploit the thrills waiting inside their performance machines. Repping a ( Y ) speed rating across all sizes, speed is the Potenza S-04 Pole Positions primary prey.
Sharing a similar characteristic with the #1 tire above, the essential anti-centrifugal force application of aramid/nylon cording pulls the center of the tire inline with the outside shoulders as speeds increase and decrease for dependable high speed grip and resilience. While superior dry traction is a main staple across all of our top performers, wet grip is another beast.
Let's start in the middle with the unbroken center tread rib for steering response & constant contact with the road. Moving outward are two ribs of tread blocks sporting slanted channels that expel water into the neighboring trenches of its circumferential water grooves. It does not like to hydroplane. Moving farther outside to the shoulders are two more continuous ribs with RENOA silencing grooves giving it praise for a quiet ride (which is not typical of the summer performance tire genre). Finally, Bridgestone fortifies the tread with beefy yet agile shoulder blocks yielding even more attention to maximum contact & handling, this time, while cornering.
The Potenza S-04 Pole Position has aimed, fired and struck a bulls-eye on our TOP 10 Best Summer Performance Tires List and, most importantly, with the captains who ride on them.
PROS: Treadwear | Wet Traction | Holds up well to "aggressive" driving
Michelin's "Pilot' pedigree of tires are top tier. The Pilot Sport PS2 was specifically designed as the OEM fitment for likes of the Ferrari 599 GTB, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Porsche GT2, GT3 & Cayman, Cadillac CTS-V and several other high performance steeds.
Similar to its big brother and #1 King of the list, the PS2's tread is laced in Michelin's Dual Compound application where the outside of the tire uses a semi-slick hybrid 'dry compound' for devoted dry grip & braking while on the inside, a high silica 'wet compound' locks the tire down for epic wet grip abilities in rainy conditions. Exceptional steering response is addressed with its continuous center rib and, unlike the Pilot Super Sport above, cavernous water channels and dedicated evacuation grooves flank that center rib directing water out and away from the footprint. Michelin's FAZ technology (aramid/nylon filaments) can also be found in the PS2 delivering rock solid stabilization and anti-footprint warping caused by centrifugal force = a flat footprint = more rubber on the road at high speeds = all things that are good.
While the PS2 does present good dry grip and great skidpad lateral surefooted-ness, it really shines when stuff gets wet! If drivers really want to feel connected to the road, the PS2 drops the anchor.
PROS: Dry traction | Treadwear | Square profile | Steering response | Competitively priced
CONS: Inconsistent road noise on some vehicles
BFGoodrich has deeply seeded roots in track racing and the decades of experience they have is what goes in to producing their tippy top performing G-Force Sport Comp-2. With a directional pattern, It is aimed for ultimate control in dry and wet conditions, lively acceleration, aggressive cornering & stop-on-a-dime braking performance. BFG's race inspired "Comp-2" silica imbued compound delivers stratospheric launch "grip" acceleration and confident steering while mixing in uncompromising tread-life. In the center, you'll find 2 continuous side-by-side ribs for ultra steering responsiveness while the outside shoulder blocks provide herculean style bracing. Thanks to the 'G-Hook' shaped grooves, a phenomenal lateral gripping ability gives way to dynamic cornering as well as multitasking with the circumferential ducts for water evacuation.
The internals of the Comp-2 are well fed with BFG's Performance Racing Core (PRC) which include:
1: ETEC system (Equal Tension Containment) of coiled nylon support for tread enhancement.
2: DSS (Dynamic Suspension System) for hammering out more steering response
3. g-control sidewall inserts with yet more attention to cornering abilities - *40% stiffer sidewalls.
The Sport Comp-2 is primed for the streets while the racing spirit runs lively through it's veins.
** Standard Limited Warranty
PROS: Wet traction | Quiet | Ride comfort | Attractive price point |
Highly recommended for Mercedes & BMW drivers
There are certain tread and structural elements that setup a tire for the win... and Continental's ExtremeContact DW (Dry-Wet) thoroughly received those blessings & then some. Many performance vehicles choose it as the OEM tire to shuttle their chariots down the autobahn & tracks. Conti does shroud the detailed proprietary build genetics a bit with "how" they've achieve such undeniable balance but the "proof is in the pudding". It is no secret that this tire dishes out the performance.
We do know:
- Internally, Conti wraps 2 steel belts with coiled nylon cap plies for longevity and stable wear while addressing the harsh ride inherent of the high performance summer tire.
- Unbroken center rib: Equals trusted steering response & control through acceleration and braking.
- Chamfered tread blocks: Increases block stiffness, uniformity of wear & lowers the tires road noise.
- High void-to-tread pattern: The secret sauce to its preeminent wet grip. With the amount of void areas in the tread vs. the amount of tread making contact with the road, the DW efficiently absorbs water into the pattern then quickly clears it for uber dependability in wet conditions.
- Tuned performance indicators: Visual "DW" letters identify the tires performance levels as it wears.
As a virtuously balanced tire, the ExtremeContact DW comes in 80+ sizes catering to performance beasts on down to the tuner sizes. Drivers looking for a tire that delivers said balance between treadwear & grip, street & track performance, comfort & road noise at a pleasing price point - The ExtremeContact DW is a sure bet.
** Continentals Total Confidence Plan: 5 included warranty support products = confidence.
PROS: Dry handling | Treadwear | Steering | Responsive | Great 'cool' weather performance
Cookie cutter would be an gross understatement when referencing the directional-patterned Direzza DZ102's performance. It has a few requisite technologies that the top dogs implement as well as a few unique features all its own. Dunlop puts their own spin on premium concepts such as:
- Jointless Band Technology where a coiled polyamide fabric ply cap embraces double steel belts to fight off the big bad wolf (centrifugal force) keeping the tires shape distortion free at high speeds.
- Silicarbon Matrix is Dunlop's patent rubber compound combining silica & carbon black to form an amalgamation that augments grip in dry & wet conditions.
- Max Flange Shield is Dunlop's answer to the inevitable curb rash & sidewall damage. The DZ102 outfits expensive alloy wheels and because of that, it's taken the responsibility to ensure those wheels stay classy. In addition, the rim protector assures the tires internal sidewall composition is not compromised. What a pal!
- Unbroken circumferential ribs: Continuous contact with the road equals steering response and grip. Because 1 isn't enough, it gives three positioned in the center of the tire.
- Deep lateral cuts, shoulder grooves and wide shoulder blocks: Prolongs performance and looks with stable cornering.
If you like to run your tires in cooler temps, the Direzza DZ102 has a nac for giving you the performance required in cool weather. All that being said, it packs a hefty tech punch, looks clean yet aggressive and takes care of drivers high performance needs and their classy wheels, too!
PROS: Inexpensive | Quiet | Responsive | Shoulder blocks allow for great cornering
If there is a summer performance 'sleeper' tire to be found, the Sumitomo's HTR ZIII is it. Depending on size, it'll be the lowest priced tire of the bunch yet will deliver the kind of realized performance found in the top finishers!
The HTR ZIII is founded on versitility. Its silica compound footprint is stamped in an advanced five rib-asymmetric pattern dedicated to combining steady forward (straight away) & lateral (cornering) movements into a cohesive driving experience. Lateral grooves & the 3-D wave wall of notched, combed grooves pulls water from the four circumferential water channels and pushes it out from the contact patch for an all out triple-team assault on wet grip. Pacifying road noise is handled by a connected narrow, unbroken rib to the inner shoulder. Siped tie bars unite tread elements together suppressing irregular wear from tread-block-wiggle ultimately providing a heightened state of overall control. At its core, drivers will find a unique feature found in some other top performers: broad steel belts reinforced by coiled polyamide nylon cording for anti warping at high speeds. Rigid sidewalls merge into brawny shoulder blocks for assured cornering in aggressive driving conditions.
Sumitomo provides direct sizing replacements for performance vehicles and upgrade sizing for the tuner segment with almost 60 sizes. The HTR ZIII is a product to embrace as a true performance summer tire - nothing feelings quite as cool as rockin' a tire with these kind of ninja skills for the $.
** Sumitomo's "life of the original tread" warranty
PROS: Wet traction | Treadwear | Tires limits can be pushed excessively in corners
Bridgestone is at the forefront of tire technology, pushing the envelope with their racing and development teams and cultivating top-tier knowledge into preeminent consumer products. The Potenza RE760 Sport is one of Bridgestone's strongest offspring poised to go the distance.
UNI-T (Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire) Technology began in the mid 90's as Bridgestone / Firestone's ongoing tech initiative focused entirely on building tires that deliver superior performance through the life of the tire - think of it as hunting the unicorn. The Potenza RE760 Sport features UNI-T which incorporates 3 key technologies addressing the fundamental areas of tire design being: Tire Casing Shape / Tread / Bead with CO-CS / L.L Carbon / O-Bead as their solutions, respectively.
- CO-CS (Computer Optimized Component System): A computerized tread design method that computes & selects the ideal blend of casing shape, tread design & materials for exemplary balanced performance without forfeiting other characteristics. Auxiliary benefits include enhanced road contact & smoother, quieter ride.
- L.L Carbon (Long Link Carbon): A cutting edge version of the normal carbon black strengthening material that all tires use where particles are grouped together like grapes. L.L Carbon mimics the powerful structure and stress absorbancy & displacement qualities of steel rods. The tire coups with the inevitable tear, chip & crack symptoms with supreme success through the life of the tire as well as enhancing wet grip.
- O-Bead: Most tire beads (the part of the tire that allows the it to grip on to the rim) are inefficiently elliptical, like an egg. O-Bead is a continuous strand of cable which creates a rounder assembly removing undesired gaping along the connection ensuring a perfect fit between tire & rim while enabling the tire to hold its shape true - especially under severe cornering - delivering a smoother ride.
Apart from its asymmetrical tread design, the UNI-T technology found in the Potenza RE760 Sport permits enormous amounts of insane dry/wet grip with spider-like cornering stability (thanks to a semi-slick shoulders design) that drivers WILL GET through the life of the tire - a characteristic not found in many tires. The Potenza RE760 Sport is an veritable unicorn hunter.
** Bridgestone's Platinum Pact Limited Warranty
** Buy & Try 30-Day Guarantee
PROS: Inexpensive | Wet & dry braking | Acceleration
CONS: Inconsistent treadwear
Hankook has built a reputation as a competitor among the greats. Offering superior performing & priced products has been the driving force behind Hankook consumer perception & experience. As the successor to the Ventus V12, the evo2 rises from the pack with an offering that rides alongside the best-of-the-best.
There is an immense amount of unique technology bundled up in the evo2's new-found assertiveness.
Tire Pattern & Compound:
- Quiet, Directional Pattern: A 5 pitched tread block design diffuses road noise with a continuous, optimized center rib/block pitch array augmenting steering response and handling.
- Stealth Technology: Slanted & chamfered edges reduced tread-to-road impact while bolstering block stiffness and wear uniformity.
- Aqua Jet: Specifically shaped grooves designed to absorb and remove water from the middle out to the main Cooling System where high volumes of water are cleared and speed-generated heat is disbanded.
- Sidewall drag reduction: Rectangular indentations diminish the airflow instabilities created at high speeds curtailing vibration thus lowering road noise.
- Styrene Polymer: With the addition of this new additive to its high-silica compound, a distinctly combined grouping of monomer molecules react together to form the resulting functionalized three dimensional networks specifically designed to elevate wet braking and fuel economy while lowering rolling resistance. (it's pretty impressive scientific stuff and worth noting)
- A wide steel belt layer for supplemented dry/wet handling is wrapped in the same jointless nylon material concept found in the Direzza DZ102. Extra resilience & steering/handling response is attained with a high density polyester carcass, stiffer bead filler & continuous bead wire.
While even the highest wearing performance summer tires will meet their maker sooner than later, the products rounding out the bottom of the list offer a tremendous dose of comparable performance at unmatchable prices leaving drivers to ponder... Maybe we go for something different, something like the Ventus V12 evo 2!
PROS: Dry traction | Hydroplane resistance | Road noise | Low price point for an American product
The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 is quite similar to one of its peers, Bridgestone's Potenza RE760 Sport, sharing similar build characteristics while distinguishing itself with a unique footprint. Firestone lives under Bridgestone ownership where the Firestone brand continues to carry its well earned stature as a quality brand and backed by one of the best tire manufacturers in the world.
With a legacy deeply rooted in racing, the "Firehawk" is designed for the driving enthusiast ready to unveil their cars inner most beast. Touting a directional tread pattern, the Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 is able to focus on augmenting numerous characteristics such as its high resistance to hydroplaning aided by 3 circumferential grooves and assertive responsiveness and braking from its continuous center tread elements. Paired with a high grip tread compound, massive shoulder blocks dish out unwavering amounts of cornering stability. Just like the RE760 Sport above (#8), drivers benefit from CO-CS, L.L Carbon & O-Bead technologies that supply everything from balanced performance, enhance road contact, smoother/quieter ride, prolonged treadwear performance longevity, enhanced wet grip, superior cornering abilities and high speed warp-resistance.
American made, American heritage, American strength, the Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 oozes USA at a strikingly affordable price point. Ride red, white & blue in high performance style as this tire generously presents its drivers with a ridiculous amount of performance.
** Gold Pledge Warranty
** Buy & Try 30 Day Guarantee
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