dj06482 Reader
Jan. 24, 2011 6:23 a.m.

Looking to replace the tires on my e36 (97 328is, Sport Package, 5spd, stock). I use the e36 as a three seasons daily driver (I park it for the wonderful New England winter), and am scheduled for an HPDE in August. This will likely be my only HPDE during the life of these tires (hoping to get about 2-3 years out of them), and is my first in this car, so I have no visions of taking out class records The car is pretty much stock where it matters, before the HPDE I'll upgrade the pads, and replace the rotors and brake fluid. I'm working on refreshing the entire suspension over time, so by August I'm hoping to have the rear shocks replaced with Bilstein TCs, the rear shock mounts (RSMs) replaced with Rogue Engineering's mount, and the rear trailing arm bushings (RTAB) replaced with the later version from the Z4M with some limiters (shims). The car is close to the stock weight, so something around 3200 lbs - gotta love the sunroof, heavy power seats, etc.

I'd like to keep the stock tire size of 225/50/16, and after a bunch of research, I think I've narrowed the field to three:

Kumho XS - $110 each Plus: Outstanding Dry Grip, handle heat very well Minus: Wet traction/grip

Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec - $129 each Plus: Excellent overall grip in wet/dry (although not as good as the XS in the dry) Minus: doesn't handle heat as well as the XS, can chunk

Continental Extreme Contact DW - $99 each Plus: Good dry grip, outstanding wet grip, quiet, comfort, not as performance-oriented as the other two Minus: Not as much grip as the other two in the dry, Steering response, need more PSI for track work, soft shoulders

The Conti's have a higher treadwear rating on paper, but seems that no one believes the rating, so I'm willing to throw it out of the equation. Price is a factor, but not the ultimate factor. Does anyone have any experience tracking the Conti tires?

What are GRM's thoughts?

ST_ZX2 Reader
Jan. 24, 2011 6:38 a.m.

Whay not Hankook RS3 at $104? Very fast tire...better in rain than Kumho too.

7pilot Reader
Jan. 24, 2011 7:56 a.m.

With the near stock suspension and 3200Lbs, I'd say it is likely that it matters not what tyres you buy. The body roll is going to do a grind job on the outer tyre shoulders.


motomoron HalfDork
Jan. 24, 2011 8:32 a.m.

I use Star Specs as street tires/rain event tires on my streetable track car '36 M3 - they work great and seem pretty indestructible though the grip seems to have tapered off after a gazillion heat cycles. Plenty of tread left for driving to events or to work when I just can't bear the truck anymore....

EricM Dork
Jan. 24, 2011 8:37 a.m.


Tom Heath Webmaster
Jan. 24, 2011 8:49 a.m.

I'd shop from this list for track-friendly tires.

The Continentals are nice too, but aren't quite at the same performance level, especially on track. (Though they're probably the most street friendly tires of the bunch.)

7pilot makes a good point, though. A good alignment would be a wise investment before track use. A little extra camber can save your tires. (Look at the first few steps of this article to see what I mean.)

dj06482 Reader
Jan. 24, 2011 11:46 a.m.

Thanks for all the input!

I'll add the Hankooks to the list! Alignment is a must after replacing the RTABs. I've read the GRM tire tests over and over, the one thing is I wish they'd added a wet grip component to the first test of track tires. I realize most people have two sets of tires for dry/wet events, but I'm curious how each track tire handles some rain. I'm planning on commuting on these tires 95% of the time, so rain performance is a factor.

ST_ZX2 Reader
Jan. 24, 2011 11:52 a.m.

From firsthand experience, including a wet track day, the Dunlops are all-around outstanding. The Hankooks are a fair bit less costly, and may be a wee bit better in the dry.

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