“Slip slidin’ away” makes for a classic rock lyric but it’s a term you don’t want associated with performance tires. Car and Driver recently did an exhaustive test to find the best max-performance class of summer tires. They narrowed the test down to 5 grippy 245/40R-18 finalists priced between $153 and $198. While they stipulate that grippier rubber is available, the five they selected hit a sweet spot with good performance for dry grip, impressive wet-weather performance, and expected tread life of 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
It’s no surprise that these tires show up as OEM on Porsches, BMW M cars, and Corvettes.
Testing the Best Tires for High Performance Cars
The test measured lateral grip, braking from 50 mph, and lap times around a short autocross course. No long straight aways here. This evaluation is a chain of constant cornering with a slalom, a half-lap around the skidpad, and several tight right-handers that demand precise braking, a tidy line, and measured accelerator inputs. Car and Driver repeated the exercises in both dry conditions and on pavement saturated by a sprinkler system spraying 380 gallons of water per minute.
Here’s what they came up with.