Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus

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Both the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ and the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus come in ultra high performance all season categroy, where Potenza offers superb winter grip, while ExtremeContact offers awesome dry handling. Let’s check out both in greater details.

Both tires about to be tested.

Available Sizes

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus comes in 16 to 22 inches rims. And all those sizes have following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL only.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 18 to 35 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 560 AA.

Review this tire in greater details:

On the other hand, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ comes with 16 to 20 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 24 to 38 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 500 AA A.

Review this tire in greater details:

Construction of Both Tires

Let’s start here with the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+, which comes with an asymmetric tread design.

Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+
Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ has a better, more snow traction oriented tread.

Now the tire has 5 block columns (which are called ribs in the tire world).

All these 5 ribs are seated atop a secondary rubber layer, providing all lugs with foundational supports.

And since all ribs are also connected to each other, longitudinally, you get great dry grip.

While the multiple wave-like siping ensure wet traction.

Moving on, since the neighboring ribs also feature similar features, let me go straight to shoulders.

These shoulder blocks are equipped with snow vices and a combination of thick and thin siping slits. Both of these actually help with snow and ice traction.

In terms of its internal build, the tire is reinforced with a 2-ply polyester casing. This is topped with twin steel belts and wrapped with a spirally-wound nylon cap ply. Additionally, the sidewalls receive an extra layer of polyester.

Moving towards the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, although this tire is also asymmetric, its more aggressive, compared to its counterpart.

ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus
Continental ExtremeContact also offers snow vices like its competitor.

Its structure is defined by four ribs, with the central one grabs you attention the most.

This rib is populated with numerous blocks, seamlessly interconnected by grooves.

Moreover, they also carry “Plus-shaped” siping (helping with wet traction), and snow vices (providing winter grip).

FYI: Snow vices are sharp, saw-toothed patterns that boost traction on ice and snow.

Moving towards the shoulders, they are slightly different form one another.

I mean both of them carry similar lateral siping and grooves, on one side, you also see additional snow vices.

While the other shoulder rib offers ridges between the lugs, (which basically offers noise reduction properties).

Internally, the tire comprises a 2-ply polyester foundation, augmented by twin steel belts. And yes, you also get a single ply nylon cap on top.

Dry Longitudinal Grip

Longitudinal grip pertains to the tire’s forward moving traction, and it heavily relies on the tire’s contact patch.

Moreover, it gets measured with tire’s braking efficacy (though it also has to do with acceleration in a straight line).

Now looking at both tires, it makes sense why the Potenza RE980AS+ has the upper hand here, as the tire offers faster braking, where it comes to halt a feet shorter, in comparison (when braked from 60 mph on tests, averaged).

So why is this tire better here?

Well for one, it offer greater rubber to road contact, whereas on Continental, the interlocking grooves eat away most of the rubber.

Moreover, the Bridgestone’s tire is also lighter, meaning it generates a smaller momentum inertia, which is easier to stop, thereby ensuring optimal longitudinal traction.

Dry Handling

Handling is a combination of tire’s lateral grip + steering response.

When assessing grip, particularly lateral traction (side-to-side movement), one must focus on the tire’s shoulders. And this area is pivotal because it establishes the most contact with the road when the tire is making turns.

In this respect, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ offers a great performance. Thanks to its design, which prioritizes extensive rubber-to-road contact, the tire ensures impressive lateral traction, giving drivers confidence during maneuvers.

But although it offers slightly greater overall lateral grip (as seen by its lateral g forces), it still lacks in overall handling, where it takes more time to complete laps on average.

So what’s happening here?

Well, this has to do with it’s lagging steering communication.

I mean when you push the tire to its traction limits, especially during high-speed laps, you get some disconcerting behaviors.

In other words, with rapid steering inputs, the front of the car loose grip, leading to understeer (where the vehicle tends to drift forward).

And looking at the Bridgestone’s construction it makes sense, since its heavier weight puts more pressure on its lugs comparatively, and that combined with its softer compound, lugs bend more.

This bending of the lugs basically takes time to recover (tread returning to original shape), and that adds to its overall handling times.

On the other hand, although the Continental feels slightly, you can say, artificial, its still pretty direct, where you get remarkable communication especially mid-corner and a solid on-center feel post-cornering.

The results? You get one of the fastest handling times with ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, when it comes to ultra high performance AS tires.

Wet Grip

Grip on wet surfaces is chiefly influenced by the tire’s ability to displace water from it’s tread, an action principally facilitated by grooves and sipes.

Grooves work on a major scale, as the take out most of the water, while sipes operate on a microscopic level to improve traction. These sipes contract and expand, generating a suction effect that draws in water, creating a relatively drier surface for the rubber to grip on.

You see water has to go somewhere, as its not compressible.

Having said that, it can be seen why Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ offers a pretty decent overall performance. The tire is equipped with countless wave-like sipes, which clear off water effectively.

While it’s numerous biters come in lateral, grabbing the surface, providing the needed grip.

But still, why is that it ends up with same overall wet performance scores compared to Continental. Well this has to do with hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning is another name for tire’s floating. As I already discussed (in the above section), water isn’t compressible. Meaning if its not going out, it would come in between the road and the tread, leading to complete loss of traction.

That’s why here the Continental offers better performance, all thanks to it’s central multi-angled grooves and more open shoulders, allowing water to clearing escape out in all directions.

And with more volume of water evacuation, the sipes have less work to do. That’s why you get similar overall wet scores for both these boys.

On the flip side, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+, with its lack of lateral connectivity in circumferential grooves, struggles to match the Continental’s water clearance capability.

I mean, its compacted shoulders, and continuous ribs obstruct optimal water displacement, resulting in diminished hydroplaning speeds, both straight and cornering, in comparison to the DWS 06 Plus.

Winter Performance

Winter performance has 3 parts, snow/ice braking, handling and acceleration.

Now although both tires here lack the 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ still takes the lead in all of the above variables. Let me explain why.

Basically the cornerstone of winter traction is a tire’s ability to foster snow-to-snow contact.

And with its ample biters, the Bridgestone is more adept at capturing and retaining more snow particles. This is important because snowflakes like to stick more to each other, compared to tread/rubber.

Moreover, the tire’s multiple, winter-tire like siping, pronounced lateral slits and snow vices provide better mix of lateral and longitudinal grip on icy tracks as well.

On the other side, although the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus also offers a ton of interlocking grooves, biters and snow vices, it’s relatively stiffer rubber comes in the way, and hurts its overall scores.

In other words, its biters aren’t thermally adaptive, and get stiffer/less-effective with colder temperatures.

For Your Info: When it comes to ultra high performance all season tires, the Nokian WRG4 (review) is the best winter performer, in my books, and that makes sense, because its the only tire in its category with 3PMSF rating.

Road Comfort Assessment

Ride comfort depends on:

  • How much noise the tire makes.
  • How smooth the ride is overall.

Let’s discuss these both.

Tire Noise Generation

The tread design of a tire plays a pivotal role in the amount of noise it generates during motion, primarily stemming from air particles colliding with the tire’s surface.

This air usually infiltrates the tread via shoulder voids (for the most part), and upon impact, these particles generate noise which then reverberates within the tread grooves, leading to what’s known as in-groove resonance.

Now given the Continental’s design, with considerable void spaces, it’s not a surprise that tire is pretty loud on roads. Yet, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ still falls short in comparison, as evidenced by its higher decibel output on measurements/tests.

So what’s the reason behind that? Well there are a lot of factors at play here.

As this tire comes with a winter-tire like tread, with a lot of interlocking siping, they emit a lot of growling sounds.

Moreover, its tread pattern is also not as sophisticated in comparison, especially when it comes to generating variable pitch.

So on ExtremeContact, the tread is basically altered in a way, that air particles hitting different areas, could generated various tones, and frequencies.

Those frequencies, then try to cancel out each other, reducing in-groove resonance.

Ride Smoothness

The essence of ride smoothness lies in a tire’s capability to serve as an secondry suspension, cushioning against the road’s irregularities.

Now here, while the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus comes out with impressive handling stability, it doesn’t quite match its rival in this aspect.

I mean, its ride occasionally feels more jarring, especially when the tire is cornering, hurting from its overall subjective experience.

And it makes sense, as it has stiffer nylon cap ply internally, where its spirally wound structure, although offer superb steering feedback, they also make the shoulders pretty stiffer, relatively. So you get a jittery ride, especially on turns.

Fuel Consumption

Tire rolling resistance, a critical determinant of fuel efficiency, is shaped by three primary elements: the tire’s weight, its rubber formulation, and the design of its tread.

In this regard, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus has a slight edge, where it showcase better MPGs, even though it’s only by a very small margin.

Although the tire is pretty voided up, especially in the middle, it features ContiEvenForce, which evenly distribute pressure over an extended period, optimizing contact patch.

Additionally, it benefits from a lightweight internal structure that incorporates a single ply of polyester and a nylon cap ply.

On the other hand, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ coming with 3 layers of polyester on its sidewalls, and softer more sticking compound, gets to see more exerted pressure on its lugs. So they “bend” more with the ground.

But why is that important here? Well, because with lugs bending, the fuel energy gets wasted in to tread reshaping (and heat conversions).


In summary, when comparing both boys here, you get very unique results.

The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ offers superior dry longitudinal grip due to optimal rubber-to-road contact and less weight, although it lags slightly in handling because of delayed steering response.

And although both tires display similar wet grip, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus edges ahead, mostly due to it’s hydroplaning resistance owing to its efficient water-evacuating grooves.

Moreover, the tire also takes the lead in terms of fuel economy as well, though lacks in terms of overall ride comfort.

Lastly, when it comes to winter performance, Bridgestone here, offers one of the best results in the category (which is common with both tires).

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