ContiSportContact 5: tests on Mini Cooper S JCW, BMW 135i and Audi TT RS
We were able to test Continental's sports tyre on the Portimao track in Portugal behind the wheel of a front-wheel drive, a rear-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive. Verdict: in all three cases, the ContiSportContact 5 does an honorable job.
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The ContiSportContact 5 is one of the stars of the year 2011. We were able to test it briefly last December when the tyre was presented in Porto, in Portugal. We were impatient to try it out on a track to fully measure its sports performance. Continental granted our wish, offering us a day of test on the Portimão racetrack, in the Algarve region in the south of Portugal, at the wheel of some powerful cars.
The Portimao race track: a demanding route
By organising its tests on the reputed Portimão track, Continental deliberately opted for difficulty. This 4.7 km long track offers a demanding route due to significant relief and a variety of turns, some of which are blind. In truth, the ContiSportContact 5 was really put to the test!
The cars: front-wheel, rear-wheel and 4-wheel drives
• Fiat 500 Abarth Essesse
• Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works
• Peugeot RCZ
• Golf 6 R
• Audi TTRS
• BMW 135i
• Volvo S60 T6
Test 1: the ContiSportContact 5 tested on a front-wheel drive
> Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works - 211 bhp
> 205/45 R 17 W XL
The first laps of the circuit immediately demonstrated the sporty nature of the ContiSportContact 5. Very directive, the tyre allows measured steering wheel corrections. Straight line braking, where almost 200 kph is reached, highlights the tyre's sturdiness. It hits the asphalt cleanly, enabling a rapid turn to be taken without losing the rear end.
We only regret a slight lack of traction exiting a corner in second gear, when the turbo kicks in. But let's not blame the Continental tyres: this inconvenience is more due to the absence of real mechanical autolocking than to a rubber quality.
Test 2: the ContiSportContact 5 tested on a rear-wheel drive
> BMW 135i - 306 bhp
> 205/50 R 17 front, 225 45 R 17 rear
The first laps reveal a good balance between the tyres and the car. Once ESP is disconnected, more aggressive driving becomes possible. For example, by loading the front axle on entering a turn to limit the risk of understeer. In this situation, the ContiSportContact 5 reacts rigorously, enabling the car to be pushed into the corners without difficulty.
Another situation: heavily throttled corner exits led to perfectly controlled skids thanks to an easily mastered grip limit.
The laps continue at high speed and the tyre's level of grip does not decline. No miracles however as far as wear is concerned: the car is heavy and powerful, the surface is abrasive and our driving style... well let's just say it wasn't exactly academic.
One regret: we would have liked to have tried the optional fitting offered by BMW (215 40 R18/245 35 R 18), more suited to circuits and which would also have provided greater stability in the fast sections where the car tended to sway.
Test 3: the ContiSportContact 5 tested on a four-wheel drive
> Audi TT RS - 340 bhp
> 245/40 R 18
An Audi TT RS needs a firm drive. It needs to be pushed hard to steer. This driving style is no problem for the ContiSportContact 5 which deals well with vibreurs, smoking bends and other 'sports braking' challenges that we inflict. It almost even cancelled out the slightly vague front axle of the Audi TT RS.
Result: a road tyre with a true sporty temperament
Although it remains a road tyre, the ContiSportContact 5 deals honorably with the drive test on a race track. It also demonstrates good endurance to a test we have put it through. In all, it is undeniably a high-performance sports tyre.
Now we are awaiting the results of tests soon to be conducted by the official organisations, to see how the ContiSportContact 5 is measured up to its competitors: the Michelin Pilot Sport 3, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 or Pirelli P Zero.
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