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The '14 S4 I ordered came with the no-cost optional all-season tires. The tire specification was, on my part, deliberate since, living in Cincinnati -- the home of typically "moderate" winters -- I know I can't get away with "summer only" shoes year 'round. My previous A4 with the sport option came with 19" wheels and summer only tires, which were great except for two things: 1 - they suck at any temperature below 40; and, 2 - the tread life of the Max Performance Summer Only tires that Audi chose was, optimistically not much north of 11,000 miles. This time, I thought I'd go with an S4 with the A/S's -- and I assumed since I was ordering an "S" car, the all-season tires would be the best of the best UHP A/S's on the market, probably Continentals or Michelins.
Bzzz! Thanks for playing, but the correct answer is that the tires on the car were "H" rated Grand Touring tires, albeit from Continental. The main characteristic of these GT tires was that they were very quiet. Otherwise they seemed out of place, somewhat, on an S4 -- the phrase "under-tired" springs to mind.
We had, prior to driving my wife's SQ5 off the lot had Continental DWS UHP tires put on the 20" wheels, and these tires were (considering they were UHP A/S's) a true pleasure, the best of both worlds, if that is even possible.
So, here we are about 2 years later (my how time flies), she with 40,000+ miles on the SQ and me with 30,000+ miles on the S4 deciding that we had gotten what we wanted out of the tires on our respective S cars.
Meantime, back in the lab, Continental had updated the DWS tires and renamed them, slightly, DWS 06. Now, I have about 75+ miles on my new DWS 06 tires and the SQ gets its new shoes day after tomorrow.
For a 100% back-to-back commentary, we'll have to wait until we can drive in on DWS's and drive out on DWS 06's -- but my impressions of these tires on the S4 are from the context of driving in on Grand Touring slightly stiff sidewall tires and driving out on UHP very stiff sidewall tires (and, now that I've passed 50 miles, the slickness is gone).
The DWS 06's if you need (or want) all-seasons have transformed the responsiveness of the S4 from very good to "I can't believe this is even the same car" great. Additionally, these tires are even quieter than the outgoing GT's and even the "jolts" felt when hitting potholes are now, somehow, felt as if through some kind of energy absorbing compound (flubber perhaps?)
Here's the [current] bottom line:
These tires were designed to end "your" (and my) need to apologize for having all-season tires; there is quite a bit of explanation and detail that goes into what Continental did (or at least how their marketing department explains what they did) -- the sum and substance you can look up, but it all falls under the name "Sport Plus" technology.
SPT aims to provide drivers with much more precise handling (than any other UHP A/S tire on the market) and confidence and security on wet and/or slick surfaces, 35% stiffer sidewalls, and an even quieter ride than the DWS all with a 50,000 mile tread life warranty.
I'd say, thus far, their aim is true. These tires make me REALLY REALLY want to carve up the secondary roads I'm used to in my neck of the woods.
A set of four, for my S4 was $719.56 and was $908.96 for the SQ5 (S4: 245 x 40 x 18"; SQ5: 255 x 45 x 20").
I had mine mounted and road-force balanced (plus a 4-wheel alignment) for $200, at the Audi dealer.
I plan to "drive it like I live" for at least another 40 - 45,000 miles.
Now I do oh-so-sincerely wish I had remembered to order the Sport Differential.
Dino: I do believe we all pick and choose which objet petit a for which we will pony up the biggest bucks.
Perhaps in addition to being confused by my friend's decision to go with the thing he thinks is inferior to the BMW (or whatever) he really wants, I am made somewhat sad that he -- a very close friend -- seems to have such passion for something that is not the thing he will go ahead and spend on.
There is always somewhat of a tone, a lament, as he apparently rationalizes not going for the "thing" about which he waxes oh so poetic and is also very knowledgeable about. He cites chapter and verse the performance stats and specifications of this, that and the other Porsche or BMW, etc, then apologizes for the KIA. This is a very successful and well educated guy. Perhaps it is that this behavior seems out of character.
He has no need to apologize -- to me at least -- for his decision. Our friendship is not based upon his possessions -- and there is no way he could think that the case. Had I the means and a spouse who would permit, I'd get him an M3 or 5 series for pity's sake and hopefully enjoy -- vicariously -- him drive it.
I guess a perspective could be that we all settle -- but I don't think that is the planet you are referring to. I do believe most people, most of the time, seek out and acquire the best "things" they can.
If we all hyper-extended ourselves, we all could -- for a time -- live well beyond our means. I believe most of us with decent incomes and relatively to very good credit scores could "score" a $100,000 car. I assume, considering that most of us here are discussing cars that have a median or even mean cost of $50,000+/-, we could "get a $100K car done." By that standard, I would have to concede I have settled. I don't live or think that way -- in the particular case of the car, every mile I drive in my car has, so far, been better than the last. I'm driving what I want to drive (not that I don't also have interest in something better).
Actually, it was the emotional impact of my friend, rather than touting the virtues of his new Optima, chose lamenting that it wasn't a BMW (5 series, as I recall). That's what got to me.
Every mile a smile, as my wife says. If someone willfully, knowingly and deliberately starts down a path that they think will be every mile a "frown", well that too would be some other planet than the one I've lived on for some six decades.
Go on, pull the other one.I think Toyota has plans to install the V8 from the IS-F model into the Camry or ES and will call it the Camry Hellcat.
dino - I guess I should add, too, that I don't actually know that the Japanese LPS brands have previously been humbled, either -- but I think (my opinion) they have, or at least they should be since they so frequently are NOT the winner in comparos in the BIG, IMPORTANT car magazines.
I saw MotorWeek on TV this week and the Lexus GS was tested (not compared), things went along nicely as the car was shown on the track and street -- and then WHAM! John Davis pretty much put the car in its place (which was to say, it was NOT at the top of the Premium car heap, based on comments about handling, braking, etc),
Yet, "everyone" I know who has a Lexus loves them -- of course whenever I ask why, the reason, THE reason, THE #1 REASON, the ONLY reason I can ever get out of them, is either how reliable or durable they are.
Odd, methinks, how I can't ever seem to elicit a comment about a Lexus, Infiniti or Acura that praises their performance, style, switchgear -- oh oh oh, I take it back, once, someone told me how good the sound system in his Acura is (and speaking as a previous Acura TL SH-AWD Advance owner, I agree -- Acura has the best sound systems for mere mortals -- the only one that is better is the hyper expensive B&O option Audi offers for $6,000+).
Don't get me wrong, a sound system is very important in a car -- but, you know, when someone tells me about their 5 series or their new Mercedes E or C, they tell me about the performance, ergonomics, 8-speed or 7-speed transmission, engine, responsiveness, cornering, etc, etc, etc.
My wife thinks that her Infiniti was great -- from a durability (and probably reliability) standpoint. But she ended up with an SQ5 (Audi) because "Infiniti's ain't got no soul." She was against my getting a 2014 IS 350 for the same reason -- told me, I'd be underwhelmed by it's appliance-like disposition.
I do appreciate, too, that I've read, here, the comments -- positive comments -- about the recent EL and LPS Cadillac offerings. And, well, they are hardly known as durable cars -- and no one I know who has one claims they got it thinking it would be the new world champion of longevity. OK, so here I am at age 63 -- I'm thinking I'm still gonna outlive any car I get, so I might as well get one that comes with passion, performance and pulchritude.
Got one more data point for you: when I used to have the Acura, I'd take it to the dealer for service and would talk to other customers about their reasons for being Acura owners. Now, get this -- the BEST answer I ever got was "because I got a good deal." Meanwhile, over at the quattro cafe (and the BMW store service area, too) the folks talk about how much fun their cars are to DRIVE.
Oh, and, yes, I know, this proves nothing.
WEBN = We Eliminate Banal Noise.
Those were the days . . .