When my 2011 Audi S5 was built, a set of four Pirelli PZero Rosso tires (255/35ZR19) were selected and installed as the car rolled through the production line. This is the first time that I have had such tires on any of my cars and I’m thinking it will not be my first choice when it comes time to get new tires.
The tires are great at providing traction when slinging my cars around curves or when trying to blitz off from a dead stop. Unfortunately, those buggers are pretty noisy and high levels of tread wear; granted, these tires are ultra-high performance summer tires and aggressive tread wear is par for the course. The noise gets to be a bit tiresome when driving down a highway or freeway, next to a median divider with the windows down. I have experienced the same tire noise and short tread life on other sets of Pirelli tires that came with my 2004 Audi A4 (which were also included with the car when I purchased it).
Being ultra-high performance summer tires, I am also wondering how well the tires will hold up once the skies open up and when the temperature starts to dip down and the chances of snow and ice increase. Granted, the Willamette Valley does not get a lot of snow, but we do get a fair amount of rain (which so happens to turn into ice if the temperatures dip down enough during winter).
One of the tires that I’m looking at as a replacement would be a set of Continental’s ExtremeContact DWS, which are high-performance all-season tires; and, based on various comments, will not be near as noisy as the Pirelli’s that I currently have. Considering that I will not be going out to the track with my S5, the reduced performance and traction on dry pavement that is inherent in many high-performance all-season tires is not a concern of mine. The other positive is that the ExtremeContact DWS tires will cost about a third less than going with another set of ultra-high performance summer tires.
I have also considered getting two sets of tires and wheels, one for the non-winter months and another for winter driving. While that would be a better option if I had the room to store a full set of tires, but that’s not feasible living in a second-story flat. Granted, the local Audi dealership does provide a service for storing tires, it is a bit spendy (after the first free year) and would still require another set of wheels ($$).
There is still a good amount of rubber left on the treads, so I hope the tires will last for another 6 or so months. :)