If you follow the magazine or search through eurotuner.com, you’ll know we attend many tire tests, racking up hundreds of miles in various cars on a variety of courses to assess the attributes of the latest rubber.
We’re invited to these events in order to pass along to you our impressions of a company’s new tires in order to assist you with your purchasing decision.
Generally, most of the tests are very carefully choreographed to ensure we have the opportunity to sample all the attributes the tire manufacturer is hoping to highlight. This can range from cones in a parking lot to hot laps on a race circuit.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many parking lots for our taste, but that’s the way it goes… What we always hope for is every car enthusiast’s dream: the keys to a fast car and access to an empty track.
Well, hell must have frozen over and a blue moon risen because that day arrived during a Continental tire event at the incredible Portimao circuit near Albufeira in southern Portugal earlier this year.
Arriving at an international racetrack is usually the prelude to killing cones in the parking lot, but for the brand new ContiSportContact 5 (CSC5), which replaces the current ContiSportContact 3, everything was different. We were ushered to the pits, shown a line of cars and encouraged to enjoy ourselves!
With offerings such as the Audi TT RS, VW Golf R, BMW 135i, Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S available, it was as if we’d entered gearhead heaven.
We gladly wandered past the portly BMW 535i, Audi A7 and Jaguar XF in favor of the more nimble, entertaining machinery on hand. Admit it, you’d have done the same!
If you didn’t know, Portimao opened two years ago and is home to FIA GT races and World Superbikes, among others. It’s state-of-the-art with modern pit facilities, plenty of run-off and perhaps the best series of corners and altitude changes we’ve ever experienced. In short, we loved it.
Not only did we have extremely entertaining cars to enjoy this amazing track, but all were obviously equipped with Conti’s brand-new ultra-performance summer tires. The ContiSportContact 5 provided extremely high levels of grip on this undulating track that boasted its fair share of tight, up- and- downhill corners opening into fast straights.
With the first 20 laps lost to fits of giggles and pinching ourselves to confirm this was really happening, we finally got down to evaluating the tires and loved what we found.
The CSC5 will be positioned slightly below the ContiSportContact 5P tire that was introduced last year for the super-sportscar Porsche 911, Audi R8 market (et 11/10). However, the CSC5 is by no means second choice. It’s aimed at the type of high-performance cars we drive everyday and, according to Conti’s own testing, the CSC5 outperforms the outgoing CSC3 in every area except hydroplaning, where the old tire was already very good…
Not only have they improved wet and dry grip but braking stability was significantly better, according to the numbers – we certainly felt it on the track’s numerous tight turns. And because we instinctively turned off the ESP and DSC function on all the cars, the rear-ends were often dancing into corners as they tried to come around on trail-braking. However, the tires remained resolutely stuck to the asphalt, requiring minimal effort to keep them on line.
The Conti technicians explained that the new tires had adaptive BlackChilli Compound. This technology uses the frequency in the tire’s polymers to adapt to different conditions. So when you’re cruising, the lower frequencies require less from the compound. But as performance increases, especially under braking, the higher frequencies get the polymers excited and physically increases the grip from the rubber!