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......
- Grip - Dry
- Grip - Wet
- Steering Response
- Braking - Wet
- Braking - Dry
- Breakaway behavior at the limit
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.