New Tires SLK55 Only - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

Tires, Wheels, Brakes & Suspension Discussion and information regarding tires, wheels, brakes and suspension.

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#1 Old 03-29-2014
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New Tires SLK55 Only

I'm a bit hesitant to ask for tire recommendations here as this forum is home to a wide range of SLK variants from three generations of product. I don't really care about the tires you have on an SLK230 or SLK350. You aren't dealing with the traction problems of a high torque V8 nor the front end weight of the SLK55. And this forum is NOT generally populated with a high percentage of performance freaks but here goes......you can feel free to yell at me for being a snob.

I have a 2006 SLK55 AMG with 37,000 miles on the odometer and OEM Pirelli P-Zero's that are ready for replacement at the rear. The fronts have plenty of tread depth left, maybe 7/32ths. These must be the second set of P Zero's with the original owner replacing the factory set with the same OEM solution.

I've never had a set of Pirelli's before and I have to agree with Tire Rack's assessment of these. They aren't horrible but they aren't really impressive either. I get a fair amount of wheelspin (wet or dry), more than I'd like anyway. And the front tires let go earlier than I'd like in the wet. This could be a factor of the age of this set of tires as well as design. I push this car to the limits.....trailing throttle oversteer, power oversteer, hard braking, power slides, etc.

My criteria are in order of importance......
  1. Grip - Dry
  2. Grip - Wet
  3. Steering Response
  4. Braking - Wet
  5. Braking - Dry
  6. Breakaway behavior at the limit
  7. Treadwear
  8. Price

As you can see from my criteria, I don't care much about treadwear or cost nor noise nor ride. Optimum performance is the goal. I'll probably go with.....
  • 255R35 in the rear - slightly wider than OEM but the limit of what the OEM wheels can handle
  • 225R40 OEM size in the front (may try 235R40)

At any rate, I've narrowed down my options to several tires in the Max Performance and Extreme performance categories.

Max Perf Tires.....
  • Bridgestone S04 Pole Position, $634/set, 280 AA A treadwear
  • Continental ContiSportContact 5, $776/set with rebate, 280 AA A treadwear
  • Goodyear F1 Asymmetric 2, $574/set with rebate, 300 AA A treadwear
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport, $876/set, 300 AA A treadwear

Extreme Perf Tires.....
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE-11, $932/set, 200 A A treadwear
  • Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 R, $1,088/set, 180 AA A treadwear
  • Dunlop Direzza ZII, $890/set with rebate, 200 A A treadwear

I'm leaning towards the Michelin PSS as I've owned them before and liked them. But I've always had good experience with Bridgestones and the S04 PP looks like a great tire too. The Goodyear AS2 is basically a Dunlop tire and tread compound. What I like about these is their wet performance and low cost. Dunlop seems to have some magic in its sauce for a wet weather compound. But I had horrible luck with a set of Dunlops on an SLK32. Both front tires self-destructed really early.

And.....the ContiSportContact 5 looks really intriguing. However I can't find a single head to head test with other tires on Tire Rack or elsewhere. It would be nice to know at least subjective opinions from professional testers on Conti's top of the line tire. And no, these are not like the DW. Completely different tire using Conti's "Black Chili" tread compound borrowed from racing that is supposed to heat up to operating range very fast.

As for the Extreme performance choices, I've owned the RE-11's and the Dunlop Direzza's before and liked them both. But Extreme Perf tires come with real world tradeoffs since they are basically track tires for the street. They are really at their best on dry, warm, asphalt in good condition. And they don't last long at all. I'm not sure they make much sense in the real world of daily driving on variable road surfaces in a range of temps and precipitation.

So, thoughts?
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#2 Old 03-29-2014
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I have your choices:


255R35 in the rear - but zr18xl 94y
225R40 OEM size in the front but zr18xl 94y

I have Michelin PSPTAS+ in the rear
and Continental ContiSportContact 3 in the front

Cornering is exceptional. That is all!


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#3 Old 03-29-2014
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I will be changing my fronts from Goodyear to Michelin Pilot Super Sports once they wear down (5/32 currently). I have Michelin Pilot SS currently on the rears although I don't do the "hard" driving that you mentioned.

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#4 Old 03-29-2014
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I have conti csc 5p's on mine and can't say I'm all that impressed. Had Pireli P-Zeros on other cars and didn't think much of them either.

On other cars I've aways gone with the current generation of Michelin Pilot Sport and never been disappointed.

That's what I'll do when it's time to bin these contis.

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#5 Old 03-29-2014
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Originally Posted by randombloke View Post
I have conti csc 5p's on mine and can't say I'm all that impressed. Had Pireli P-Zeros on other cars and didn't think much of them either.

On other cars I've aways gone with the current generation of Michelin Pilot Sport and never been disappointed.

That's what I'll do when it's time to bin these contis.
Thanks, good to hear. I have little experience with Conti's, the OEM all season tires on my R500 being my only reference point. I tend to think of them as quiet with a good ride but not the choice for performance. Based on what little I read about the CSC 5's I thought they may be worth a look. Apparently not as the 5P is supposed to be a step up from the 5.

I should probably just get the PSS and get on with it.
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#6 Old 03-29-2014
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tires

michelin is not all that great is it ,probably 3-4 set of rears I would guess as these 55s seem to burn to burn the rears 50% faster than the fronts and I cant remember hearing the rubber screech , incredible torque in mazda miata sized car , oh yeah real brakes
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#7 Old 03-29-2014
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Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
I have a 2006 SLK55 AMG with 37,000 miles on the odometer and OEM Pirelli P-Zero's that are ready for replacement at the rear. The fronts have plenty of tread depth left, maybe 7/32ths. These must be the second set of P Zero's with the original owner replacing the factory set with the same OEM solution.
Not that it matters, but I'd guess second set of fronts and that you've worn through the third set of rears. 18k is a lot of miles to get from a single rear set on these cars and 12k closer to average.

The Conti 5Ps are OEM-issue on many R172 SLK55s and like Randombloke, I have them too. I've found them to be satisfactory in every way, and I use that word because I'd describe myself as a 9/10ths of the limit driver and you describe yourself as at the limits where I think you'd need to be to notice a significant difference between the top-end shoes.
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#8 Old 03-29-2014
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Originally Posted by SD-13SLK55AMG View Post
Not that it matters, but I'd guess second set of fronts and that you've worn through the third set of rears. 18k is a lot of miles to get from a single rear set on these cars and 12k closer to average.

The Conti 5Ps are OEM-issue on many R172 SLK55s and like Randombloke, I have them too. I've found them to be satisfactory in every way, and I use that word because I'd describe myself as a 9/10ths of the limit driver and you describe yourself as at the limits where I think you'd need to be to notice a significant difference between the top-end shoes.
Heh heh, I've been purposely trying to kill the rears since I bought the car so I can get rid of the Pirelli's And you may be right about what iteration of Pirelli's are on the car. I should mention that my SLK55 is not stock either. Intake and tune work, rev limiter raised to 7,000 rpm, speed limiter removed. Best I can figure it's making about 390 HP and a little over 400 lb/ft.

And I suspect you're right about noticing a difference. Even Tire Rack testing , which is about the best out there, will pronounce one tire superior over a group of competitors. But when I look at the objective data, there isn't really a lot of difference. Maybe a foot on dry braking and three feet on wet braking. So, at the limit maybe it is subjective feel about how the tire loses traction and then recovers that wins the comparison for a given tire.

I had high hopes for the Conti 5's based on what I've read. I can't believe they're crap. But I don't have a lot of personal experience with the brand or that product to know what to expect. And I really do play with stuff like trailing throttle in corners pretty much constantly. If my car isn't going straight, it's on the razor's edge of grip at every opportunity. I know it sounds crazy and hard to believe but after driving like that for years it doesn't really even get my heart rate up any more.

Last edited by CT_SLK; 03-30-2014 at 09:07 AM.
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#9 Old 03-30-2014
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For what it's worth...the Michelin Pilot Super Sports appear to be the overwhelming favorite for the folks on the AMG Private Lounge site. Opinions range from the daily driver to the track crowd. I have the Conti's on my 2013 but will likely switch to the PSS when the time comes for replacement.
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#10 Old 03-30-2014
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Michelin SuperSports. I went one size up, as I have non-offset rims. I had them previously on my 997TT and loved them. So i love them on the SLK55 as well.
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#11 Old 03-30-2014
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Originally Posted by AMG-UFO View Post
For what it's worth...the Michelin Pilot Super Sports appear to be the overwhelming favorite for the folks on the AMG Private Lounge site. Opinions range from the daily driver to the track crowd. I have the Conti's on my 2013 but will likely switch to the PSS when the time comes for replacement.
So what is it about the Conti's that would cause you to look at the PSS?
  • Grip dry
  • Grip wet
  • Steering response
  • Ride quality
  • Noise
  • Tread wear
  • Price (the PSS and Conti 5 seem almost identical in price)

As SD-13SLK55AMG noted in his post above, I have a hard time labeling any Max performance summer tire from top brands I've ever owned as drastically worse or better than peers in normal driving. Usually, the differences are found in "at the limit" behavior and even then, they can be subtle rather than "night-n-day" differences. The major exceptions to this are tread noise and ride quality which can be noticed all the time but are not performance criteria and not something I really care about.
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#12 Old 03-30-2014
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I have a hard time labeling any Max performance summer tire from top brands I've ever owned as drastically worse or better than peers in normal driving.
how are you defining "normal driving"?

if you're just talking about fast, relatively straight roads then sure - but I would class fast, twisty roads (2nd and 3rd gear types) where there is a real loading put on the tyres as normal too.

For me, it's more about the feel of the tyres and how the car responds - and the level of confidence I have in the tyre grip. I've had the rear conti's let go a few times when they were pressed relatively hard (but not stupidly so) - I wouldn't expect to have had the same issues with the michelins.

I'm down to 4mm on the rears after 6k miles. I would normally look to replace at 3mm.

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#13 Old 03-30-2014
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Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
So what is it about the Conti's that would cause you to look at the PSS?
  • Grip dry
  • Grip wet
  • Steering response
  • Ride quality
  • Noise
  • Tread wear
  • Price (the PSS and Conti 5 seem almost identical in price)

As SD-13SLK55AMG noted in his post above, I have a hard time labeling any Max performance summer tire from top brands I've ever owned as drastically worse or better than peers in normal driving. Usually, the differences are found in "at the limit" behavior and even then, they can be subtle rather than "night-n-day" differences. The major exceptions to this are tread noise and ride quality which can be noticed all the time but are not performance criteria and not something I really care about.
All of the above. Many comments about superior handling, comfort, wet/dry grip, quieter and better tread wear. One highly respected veteran on the PL (who tracks his AMGs) does prefer the Continentals, though.
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#14 Old 03-30-2014
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Originally Posted by randombloke View Post
how are you defining "normal driving"?

if you're just talking about fast, relatively straight roads then sure - but I would class fast, twisty roads (2nd and 3rd gear types) where there is a real loading put on the tyres as normal too.

For me, it's more about the feel of the tyres and how the car responds - and the level of confidence I have in the tyre grip. I've had the rear conti's let go a few times when they were pressed relatively hard (but not stupidly so) - I wouldn't expect to have had the same issues with the michelins.

I'm down to 4mm on the rears after 6k miles. I would normally look to replace at 3mm.
You have identified a problem with trying to get opinions (on anything). It's always subjective and since we don't really know each other, my "acceptable slide" may be your "rear letting go" or vice versa.

But it sounds like you get what I'm concerned about. Yes, 2nd or 3rd gear turns with the outside tires and springs pretty well loaded up is where I play with trailing throttle oversteer a lot. It's fun to steer by lifting on the throttle. Don't want any nasty surprises. Want it to behave predictably time after time.

Likewise, I place a heavy weight on wet handling and predictability since that's much more likely to get me in trouble than a warm dry stretch of asphalt. I will gladly trade a little dry road performance for a tire that is superior in the wet. And I continue to play with handling even on wet roads (not in a downpour). It's actually more fun at low speeds. Easy to get the rear end loose. I just want it to behave predictably.

And as you say, sometimes it's not about the objective numbers but whether the tire makes you comfortable and inspires confidence. Like I said before, I may just call it a day and buy the PSS. I liked the first set. They did nothing wrong. I had high hopes the Conti 5's would be a worthy competitor but it sounds unanimous amongst R172 owners, you're all heading to the Michelins.
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#15 Old 04-03-2014
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Ok I'll put my flame suit on in readiness.

When I took delivery of my 06 55 AMG in June last year It was fitted with a pair of new rear tyres. I'd asked for them because the ones on the car when I looked at it were getting low and were mismatched.

They put on a pair of Kumho ku39 ecstas. These are considered to be on the budget end of things. At Ł150 each for the rears there are a few tyres a lot cheaper.

Since delivery I have put 8500 miles on the car and tread is down about 50% since new. My estimate is that I'll get around 18k out of them. First of all I had to get through the first couple of months of exploring the limits or at least the performance of the car. Then we had the wettest winter in decades in the uk. The tyres have worn perfectly evenly and survived some harsh treatment. They are euro rated as A for wet grip btw.

I have had Kumhos on a seven series BMW, a big heavy vehicle, family hatchbacks and my sons seat Ibiza. I am happy that as a mid priced tyre they are well up to the task of looking after my 55.

>edit ........ Hmm just looked at them and 12000 looks to be more like it!
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#16 Old 04-04-2014
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Originally Posted by nimbusgb View Post
Ok I'll put my flame suit on in readiness.

When I took delivery of my 06 55 AMG in June last year It was fitted with a pair of new rear tyres. I'd asked for them because the ones on the car when I looked at it were getting low and were mismatched.

They put on a pair of Kumho ku39 ecstas. These are considered to be on the budget end of things. At Ł150 each for the rears there are a few tyres a lot cheaper.

Since delivery I have put 8500 miles on the car and tread is down about 50% since new. My estimate is that I'll get around 18k out of them. First of all I had to get through the first couple of months of exploring the limits or at least the performance of the car. Then we had the wettest winter in decades in the uk. The tyres have worn perfectly evenly and survived some harsh treatment. They are euro rated as A for wet grip btw.

I have had Kumhos on a seven series BMW, a big heavy vehicle, family hatchbacks and my sons seat Ibiza. I am happy that as a mid priced tyre they are well up to the task of looking after my 55.

>edit ........ Hmm just looked at them and 12000 looks to be more like it!
No need for a flame suit. Kumho makes a very decent tire at low price point based on reviews here in the states. But they are not the pinnacle of performance. Maybe bang for the buck. But not absolute performance. And I care less about cost and more about performance.
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#17 Old 05-25-2014
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Preface: I am not sure where to put this (in a new thread or in this thread seeing as how i don't want to clutter the boards up). On to the post...

I think I've hit about 22,000 miles on my Michelin Super Sports. I switched from the Conti SportContact5 OEM to 4 brand new Super Sports. I have the AMG Sport Package on my 2012 SLK250.

Question #1: My L-rear tires has really bad inner tread wear to the point that I have to replace it very very very soon. Is this because of alignment or camber problems? The dealer did the ServiceA (I think it's A) where they check camber, alignment etc. They all weren't 0.0mm but within spec (i.e. not more than .5mm out of spec or whatever their limits are). Either way, I am thinking I need to correct alignment AND camber. Just need opinions and feedback on this. The area where I live tends to have bad CalTrans roadwork quality (California Transportation Department) so there are potholes that exist every so often where the top layer of blacktop is missing and the layer underneath is present. Can running over these on rare occasions cause camber/alignment problems for me?

Question #2: Need to replace my Michelin Super Sports. Not too concerned about cost but sometimes the most expensive is not the best. My choices are:

- Michelin Super Sports (replace with same tyres)
- Hankook Ventus V12 evo2 (someone mentioned these are good)
- Bridgestone Potenza S001 (a few SLKWorld people say these are really good)

I would like at least 17,000 mileage capable tires (which I think all of these are rated for). I want to make sure cornering capability is good. I tend to drive pretty hard around corners. I prefer that the road noise is not so bad that you can't hear your radio when you're driving topless. Need good steering response. I consider myself a fairly capable driver. Haven't been to race driving school but I have ridden sport motorcycles in the mountains for over 10 years and am capable of keeping up with the boys and their 1 litre bikes in the corners. I regularly take our 2014 Viper out on spirited drives without too many problems except for really bad MPG.

Please help! (need tire replacement soon!!! front L-tire has 2 small nails in it that have not leaked yet - they're on the block part of the tread)

~ Lost in the corners
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#18 Old 05-27-2014
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Update ....

Just changed the rears. 1 pair of Kuhmo Ecstas lasted me 11 months and 11700 miles ( down to the wear indicators ). Some spirited driving but all on fair to good public roads.
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#19 Old 05-27-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
I'm a bit hesitant to ask for tire recommendations here as this forum is home to a wide range of SLK variants from three generations of product. I don't really care about the tires you have on an SLK230 or SLK350. You aren't dealing with the traction problems of a high torque V8 nor the front end weight of the SLK55. And this forum is NOT generally populated with a high percentage of performance freaks but here goes......you can feel free to yell at me for being a snob................
I would NEVER call you a snob......just because you drive an ///AMG55. And although what you say seems to make sense, it is a fact.....no matter what variant you happen to have, if you read through the threads you will find that EVERYONE deals with the same situation......get around 10-12k miles out of the rears and almost double that on the fronts. So I'm not really sure that your "traction problems of a high torque V8" is the culprit. ;-)

Having said that, with 18k on the clock, I had to replace my rears 6,000 miles ago, and swapped out the fronts with matching sets while at it. At 12,000 miles my rears were toast yet the fronts still had about 40% of their life still in them. Perhaps this is because there is not as much weight in the front of my 300? I went from the OEM Conti's to Michelin Pilot Super Sports. I immediately noticed significantly better handling when cornering, although I drive this car on mostly dry roads anyway. I can't say exactly how much tread I have left as I don't have the proper tool, but from the looks and to my eye I would say that the rears are about half way through their life still achieving only about 12k miles. So next time around I just might go with the best "deal" on a high performance summer tire.

Steven

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Stinger, you've met me before and know what type of cars I drive. You also met hubby and he's told you what a crappy driver I am.

Hence, I'm endorsing the Michelin Super Sports unless someone thinks the Bridgestoned tires are better, which I'm trying to figure out (see my previous post).

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Originally Posted by Stinger View Post
I would NEVER call you a snob......just because you drive an ///AMG55. And although what you say seems to make sense, it is a fact.....no matter what variant you happen to have, if you read through the threads you will find that EVERYONE deals with the same situation......get around 10-12k miles out of the rears and almost double that on the fronts. So I'm not really sure that your "traction problems of a high torque V8" is the culprit. ;-)

Having said that, with 18k on the clock, I had to replace my rears 6,000 miles ago, and swapped out the fronts with matching sets while at it. At 12,000 miles my rears were toast yet the fronts still had about 40% of their life still in them. Perhaps this is because there is not as much weight in the front of my 300? I went from the OEM Conti's to Michelin Pilot Super Sports. I immediately noticed significantly better handling when cornering, although I drive this car on mostly dry roads anyway. I can't say exactly how much tread I have left as I don't have the proper tool, but from the looks and to my eye I would say that the rears are about half way through their life still achieving only about 12k miles. So next time around I just might go with the best "deal" on a high performance summer tire.
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