Continental AllSeasonContact vs Contact 2

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The Continental All Season Contact and its successor, the All Season Contact 2, are both standout choices in the grand touring all-season tire category, offering a blend of year-round performance, comfort, and durability.

Tested on Audi Q8 Premium
Both tires were tested on Audi Q8 Premium.

Key Takeaway

So overall, the Continental AllSeasonContact (predecessor) is better at:

  • Quick stops on dry roads due to wider road contact.
  • Handling light snow with well-designed lugs.
  • Superior performance in some sizes, especially non-Conti-Seal versions.

The All Season Contact 2 (newer tire) is better at:

  • Icy surface performance with enhanced micro grip and interlocking sipes.
  • Superior wet conditions handling due to more and flexible sipes.
  • Reducing road noise with a varied pitch tread design.
  • Slightly quieter overall, particularly noticeable at lower speeds.

Detailed Discussion on the newer Continental tire:

Tread Features

Let’s explore the Continental AllSeasonContact 2, featuring a directional tread pattern.

Continental AllSeasonContact 2
Continental AllSeasonContact 2

Upon inspection, its tread is divided into five distinct sections due to the longitudinal grooves slicing through the V-shaped lugs.

At the center, U-shaped blocks are interspersed with notches, all interconnected by U-shaped sipes.

Encircling this central area are ribs formed of smaller blocks with linear sipes parallel to the lateral grooves they create.

And what about the shoulders?

Well, they consist of elongated lugs creating larger lateral grooves, complemented by a plus-shaped siping pattern.

Turning our attention to its predecessor…

The AllSeasonContact also comes with a directional tread pattern, with a very similar design.

Continental AllSeasonContact
Continental AllSeasonContact

This tire is longitudinally segmented into five parts, resulting in a six-rib design akin to its successor, with V-shaped grooves converging.

The central lugs are tightly packed, offering numerous edges for improved grip.

Conversely, the outer lugs are more spaced out but share the plus-shaped siping found throughout.

The shoulder lugs are equipped with thicker sipes, specifically engineered for enhanced snow traction.

Overall, the design of this tire is relatively more packed up, though the newer version comes with more sipes.

Other than this, if I talk about its internal construction, the tire incorporates two layers of polyester, two steel belts, and a single nylon cap ply.

This structure is slightly differing from its successor, which features an additional cap ply.

Info on Sizes

The AllSeasonContact 2 comes in 15 to 21 inches, with sizes having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T, H, V, W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL, and XL.
  • Weight range: 20 to 45 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″.
  • All sizes have the 3pmsf and M+S ratings.
  • Some sizes have ContiSeal technology, (ideal for electric vehicles).

On the other hand, the AllSeasonContact used to come with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: T to Y.
  • Load ratings: SL, and XL.
  • Weight range: 20 to 35 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 9/32″ on all sizes.
  • Similar winter rating compared to its successor.

Overall Dry Performance

A tire’s performance on dry roads is significantly affected by how well it accelerates, brakes, corners, and responds to steering. Let’s explore these factors.

Directional Grip

Longitudinal grip refers to a tire’s ability to adhere to the road while moving in a straight line, mostly depending on how much of the middle part of the tire is touching the road.

We measure this grip by looking at how far a car travels before it stops when braking.

Now, when checking out the competition, the Continental All Season Contact really stands out in stopping quickly. I mean, in my tests, it stopped about 2 feet shorter than its successor, (when slowing down from 60 mph).

This superior performance is attributed to two primary factors:

  • More Road Contact: The earlier version has a wider middle part that touches the road, unlike its successor’s interlocking grooves that don’t touch the road as much.
  • Balanced Weight Distribution: Although heavier, the predecessor features a more finely-tuned contact patch suited for dry conditions, ensuring a more uniform distribution of weight across the tread lugs.

But wait, why does this (weight distribution) matter? Well, because it really cuts down on the tire’s tendency to keep rolling, making it stop faster. Basically, when there’s less rolling momentum, the tire can stop quicker.

Cornering and Handling

Cornering efficiency is largely determined by a tire’s shoulders, which make the most contact with the road during turns. This effect is due to centripetal force, which is also responsible for the sensation of being pushed outward in a turning vehicle.

In this context, the Continental All Season Contact 2, with its robust, wide shoulder lugs, offers superior lateral traction. But, the older variant still beats it in overall dry handling, clocking in about one second faster on average in lap tests.

This basically comes down to the tire’s quicker steering response. The All Season Contact is made with a shallower tread, harder rubber, and all its lugs sit on an even tougher layer of rubber. These bits stop the lugs from bending too much.

When lugs bend and take time to straighten back out, it slows down handling. Plus, this tire gives you a better feel of the road and brakes, so you can dive into and zoom out of corners faster, shaving off seconds in lap times.

By the way, when I say, better feel, I am actually referring to the tire’s on-center feel, which is about how quickly a tire straightens out after you turn.

I mean, a tire that snaps back fast smooths out your ride, while a sluggish one might make your wheels slip as you speed up out of a turn.

Wet Performance

Wet performance simply put is dependent on the tire efficiency in displacing water as it rolls. This characteristic is instrumental in heightening its hydroplaning resistance and enhancing its traction and control on damp surfaces.

Let’s analyze both of these crucial aspects more thoroughly.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

The primary function of tire grooves is to channel water away, preventing a layer of water from forming between the tread and the road.

Meaning, without effective grooves, tires can float or hydroplane, resulting in a total loss of traction.

Both tires in question perform well in this regard. They feature V-shaped lugs acting as mini channels that propel water from the tire’s center to its edges, significantly enhancing water expulsion.

However, when delving into finer details, the All Season Contact 2 has a slight advantage, as it offers improved connectivity between its grooves and a deeper tread depth.

Consequently, this tire can sustain higher speeds before hydroplaning, a benefit that applies to both straight paths and curves.

Wet Grip

Wet traction efficacy hinges significantly on sipes, which might seem like simple cuts on the tire tread but are crucial for performance.

These sipes are basically engineered to create suction, effectively removing water and drying the road surface under the tire lugs, thereby reducing the risk of slippage.

So, for an all-season tire to really rock in the rain, it needs loads of sipes (those tiny slits on the tire) that are also super flexible for the best suction.

With this understanding, it’s clear why the Continental All Season Contact 2 surpasses its predecessor in almost all sorts of wet conditions, demonstrating superior wet braking and handling capabilities.

Here’s what makes it so good:

  • Packed with Sipes: This tire’s got way more sipes than its predecessor.
  • Smart Siping: While the other guy’s sipes are prone to getting stiff, the All Season Contact 2 has multi-directional sipes that stay more flexible and effective.

Meanwhile, the old All Season Contact doesn’t just have fewer sipes, the ones it has aren’t as cleverly designed. I mean, they don’t channel water away as well, especially when you’re making sharp turns, which means it’s not as good at sticking to wet roads.

Winter Traction

For those hunting for a top-notch all-season tire that’s also a wizard in winter, you should know that both of these options here stand out, particularly in their grand touring category.

They’re like the best of both worlds, mixing summer and winter tire features to master snow and ice braking, acceleration, and handling.

Additionally, their responsive steering and impressive acceleration earn them the 3-peak mountain snowflake rating along with the M+S (Mud and Snow) designations, marking them as versatile choices.

But, dig a bit deeper and you’ll spot some slight differences. But let me summarize it for you.

The All Season Contact 2 edges out a bit on ice, thanks to its better micro grip that’s crucial for those slippery moments. This comes from its loads of full-depth sipes and their neat interlocking design.

In contrast, the predecessor excels in light, powdery snow. It basically offers better-designed lugs that effectively scoop and displace snow, creating stronger forward momentum and acceleration.

Also, as we mentioned before when talking about wet traction, its winter-ready sipes add to its overall winter performance too.

Overall Comfort

The comfort level of a ride is strongly influenced by a tire’s capability to buffer road imperfections and lower noise. Let’s analyze these two critical factors separately.

Noise Reduction

Tire road noise is primarily a result of how air interacts with the tread.

As the tire spins, air swoops in mostly through the shoulder gaps and smacks into the tread walls, causing what we call tread noise.

Now, given that much of this noise gets in from the shoulder voids, it’s understandable why neither of these tires is exceptionally quiet.

However, the Continental All Season Contact 2 still performs marginally better in terms of decibel readings.

This enhanced noise comfort is attributed to its tread design, which generates varying pitches. These different pitches, made as air hits various parts of the tread, kind of cancel each other out, leading to a sound that’s easier on the ears.

As for my subjective testing, this tire has a steady hum, especially noticeable under 40 mph. But on the highway, this noise blends into the background and is less obvious over 60 mph.

Meanwhile, the older model has a slightly louder and higher-pitched buzz that stands out more. And it also makes a unique thumping noise.

Basically, when it runs over something, it makes a faint ringing that you can pick up inside the car.

Impact Comfort

The feel of comfort on the road comes from a bunch of things like the tire’s inside structure, outside build, tread make-up, and the general design.

Now, in this face-off, both tires score the same comfort-wise based on my own feel. I mean I gave both these tires equal impact comfort scores, as they both strike a great balance between comfort and control.

With their solid damping, they take on big bumps smoothly and tone down the smaller ones, making for a pretty cushy drive.

But, there’s a little twist with some sizes of the AllSeasonContact 2, especially those with the Conti-Seal System.

This system makes the tire’s inside a bit more rigid. So, in some cases, the older model might actually do a bit better overall.

So, if you’re eyeing specific sizes of the Continental tire, you might find the older version gives you a smoother experience.

Wrapping Up

In summing up, both Continental boys here bring a lot to the table in terms of dry performance, wet handling, winter traction, and overall comfort.

The All Season Contact shines with its superior dry stopping power and light snow prowess, thanks to its wider contact area and better-designed lugs.

Meanwhile, the All Season Contact 2 takes the lead in icy conditions, wet performance, and noise reduction, benefiting from its plentiful full-depth sipes, flexible design, and a tread that cleverly reduces sound.

Both score equally in comfort, offering a well-damped, smooth ride, although certain sizes of the newer tire might feel stiffer due to the Conti-Seal System.

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