Founded in 1871, Continental is the world’s fourth largest tire manufacturer. Yes, they were making bicycle tires back then. Continental entered the North American tire industry with the purchase of General Tire in 1987.

While Conti is a top-tier brand in Europe, brand recognition in North America is modest when compared to Michelin, Goodyear, Pirelli and Bridgestone. It supplies OEM rubber for such prestigious marques as Porsche and Mercedes–Benz but is not the first name that comes to mind when looking for replacement rubber. This, of course, is something Continental is working on.

The Continental PureContact is an all-season touring tire introduced two years ago as a replacement product only. In other words, it is not original equipment on any production vehicle. The PureContact is available in 27 sizes, H and V ratings, from 15-18 inches and with aspect ratios of 40 to 65. It falls into the Luxury Performance segment.

Continental is targeting 2007 and later premium luxury performance vehicles with the PureContact, citing such brands as Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, Volvo, Cadillac, Buick, Lincoln and Hyundai Genesis.

The editors at frame the Continental PureContact as “a tire designed to provide a balance of luxury and performance with a blend of long treadwear, a smooth and comfortable ride and excellent wet braking.” Sounds promising.

Integra Tire in Oakville installed a set (size 235/45R17, courtesy of Continental) on this reviewer’s 2005 Volvo V70, replacing the Falken Ziex ZE612 tires.

The PureContact is a mid-priced tire that is designed to be put up against higher priced offerings such as the Mic­helin Primacy MXV4 and Bridgestone Turanza Serentiy Plus.

At Canadian Tire, the Continental PureContact in 235/45R17 runs $160.99, versus the Michelin Primacy MXV4 at $233.99. The Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus at Costco in this size is $259.99.

Priced closer to the PureContact is the Pirelli Cinturato P7 – $171.99 at Canadian Tire for 235/45R17.

So what does the PureContact have to offer?

Tire manufacturers are great at coming up with wonderfully cryptic names for their largely mysterious rubber compounds. Some don’t even patent them because they’re remiss to have the formulas revealed.

So we’ll start with Continental’s EcoPlus Technology that expands the limits of wet grip, tread wear and fuel efficiency. EcoPlus has two main components – Tg-F Polymers (temperature activated functional polymers to improve wear and reduce rolling resistance) and +Silane for enhanced grip on slippery surfaces.

Walter White could probably shed some light on this.

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