Members of the media were recently treated to a discovery trip to experience firsthand the superlative performance of Continental Tyre Malaysia’s latest generation of road tamers with German Technology that were specifically designed and built for demanding Malaysian motorists.
Extensive and expensive in-house research and development at their Petaling Jaya center of excellence has culminated into 2 new Generation 6 tires that are perfectly suited for our punishing road conditions and promise to literally blow away the competition at similar price points.
Our jobs as media observers were simple; put Continental’s claims to the test in real world and simulated driving conditions and report our findings. I am happy to report that these latest Generation 6 passenger vehicle tires are truly out of this world, each possessing unique superlative qualities that address and exceed even the most demanding motorists’ expectations.
Our test vehicles were wrapped in either Continental UltraContact UC6 or Continental ComfortContact CC6 tyres for the short journey down south to hot and humid Malacca. I noticed that these new tires have lost the “Conti” moniker. Anyway, it was apparent during the roughly 2-hour journey just how competent these new shoes from Continental were even from the get go. With hardly any miles put onto the new tires, we were expecting a less than stellar showing from either model, but truth be told, neither model exhibited any signs of losing it, which means it will only get better once they’re properly broken in.
Continental ComfortContact CC6
These are Continental Tyre Malaysia’s entry level tyres, but do not let the segmentation fool you one bit, as these tires can more than hold their own against even the most impatient of drivers. Boasting flying carpet comfort and much reduced road noise than before, the ComfortContact CC6 series will endear itself to nearly 80% of the motoring public in time to come when word gets around. These tires are touted to provide superior ride comfort without breaking the bank.
Harmonic Comfort Chambers (HCC) are incorporated into the CC6’ inner shoulder of the tread pattern to cancel out unpleasant road noise. Said chambers were inspired by the “Helmholtz Resonator” principle where specially designed hammer-like chambers capture said unpleasant sound waves, traps and cancels them out so a lot of the generated road noise gets converted into quieter waves that takes away most of the harshness, offering you unprecedented levels of cabin quietness as a result.
“O”dB-Eaters, or ODE as Continental calls it, are tiny sound wave modifiers that are lined along the main grooves of the tread, aimed at splitting and diffusing sound waves and preventing them from traveling up into the cabin. Said ODEs are planted well within the grooves of the tire so that they will continue to function well within the recommended tread depth, so do expect a quiet ride for extended kilometers on end.
“Whisper Compound” polymers work in tandem with HCC and ODE in the comfort department by being super-pliant, i.e., the compound actually literally wraps itself around the tarmac instead of fighting against every nuance of the road surface as most tires do. The result? Imagine a snail and how it glides along the surface and recovering its form ever so easily instead of being stiff like a skateboard without wheels, grating itself along the hard tarmac. Not only does Whisper Compound result in a quieter tire, it offers unprecedented grip levels for a comfort based tire never before seen.
Continental’s ComfortContact6 CC6 in testing revealed a quieter and more pleasant riding experience against even the already stellar ComfortContact CC5 that it replaces. Although empirical testing revealed only a 1-1.3dB difference in sound levels within the cabin, it is the characteristics of the emanating sound waves that brought a smile to our faces. Instead of a bassy rumble, the new CC6 presented a softer, overall narrower sound spectrum that was definitely more pleasing and less obtrusive.
Aside from the three main differentiating factors separating the new tire from the old, a fourth reason to change up to the new ComfortContact CC6 is the extended mileage of the tire thanks to strong, interlocking molecular connections of the polymers bonded together with a new, strong and durable sulphur network. The new ComfortContact CC6 is available between 13” to 16” diameters with aspect ratios between 50 to 70, covering a substantial portion of the passenger car market.
Continental UltraContact UC6
Safety is always paramount at Continental, an aspect that has been imbued into each and every product that they manufacture throughout the world. The UltraContact UC6 is one of the latest recipients of this safety paradigm, as evidenced by the incorporation of newly designed Aqua Channel surface sipes that swiftly redirect road water away from the contact patch to maximize tread contact in wet weather, greatly reducing the chance of aquaplaning. Said surface sipes are incorporated into the center of the tread, where surface water is drained through a tubular aqua channel into the grooves for stellar hydro-evacuation
In practice, the repeated wet braking tests performed by the media revealed a greatly reduced wet braking distance, where it took us just 1 extra meter to come to a halt when slamming the brakes hard at 60km/h, when compared against the same, but in dry conditions. Having said that, if your car was shod with Continental UltraContact UC6’s, you had better pray the guy behind has the same or better tyres than you!
A newly developed Diamond Edge chamfered angle along the leading edge of the tread design greatly reduces braking distances by ensuring the tread does not warp under extreme or emergency braking scenarios, as it would on regular tires. This resistance to warping results in a massive increase in contact patch adhesion to the road. In the wet, the Diamond Edge tread pattern also does double duty as a wiper to clear the path by literally wiping away water from the contact patch. Brilliant!
Now before you even think about it, I’ll say it for you: Won’t a car’s ABS system kick in to keep us safe? Newsflash: Anti-lock braking systems prevent our wheels from locking up in an emergency braking situation, which in turn increases braking distance! ABS works by regulating brake pressure whenever it detects a lock-up, pulsing at up to 15 times per second. If a tyre has enough grip, there is much less tendency for a wheel to lock up, thereby reducing braking distances. On the contrary, if a tire is near bald like a baboon’s derriere, you might not even stop at all!
Another ingredient in UltraContact UC6, called Diamond Blend Compound, figuratively lets you have the cake and eat it. Amalgamating short-chain polymers and long-chain polymers, Continental has done the impossible by increasing grip levels while at the same time offering extended tire service life all in one package!
Traditionally, if you wanted a near track-like high performance tire you’d need to forgo mileage, as those tires tend to have very short life spans. Harder compounds on the other hand, last a very long time but they can’t grip as well. Mass produced passenger vehicle tires usually struck a balance, but you’d still have to choose to lean more towards one or the other.
Well, not anymore, as Continental has managed to marry long and short together, so to speak. Short-chain polymers are essential for grip in both wet and dry, acting like little claws that grip the road and screech like a banshee during emergency braking without ABS. However, short-chain polymers don’t last very long. Long-chain polymers on the other hand are very robust and stubborn, giving nothing away to the tarmac but keeping its tread intact for a long time. By some stroke of genius, the Minions at CTM PJ concocted a new blend that fused these long and short polymers together, hence the claim of having the cake and eating it too. How’s that for amazing?
A high performance tire would surely be noisy wouldn’t it? Not really, as Continental has equipped the UltraContact UC6 with Noise Breaker 2.0 to put paid to noisy performance. Of course, in terms of noise levels, the crown ultimately belongs to the ComfortContact CC6, but with the UC6 you get a huge performance advantage, so I would personally take the latter any day. We were told that the new UltraContact UC6 is a brand new addition to the lineup, sitting nicely in between the magic carpet
ComfortContact CC6 below it and the high performance ContiPremiumContact CPC range above it. Available in sizes between 15” to 18” and with aspect ratios from 65 down to 45, the new UC6 will also cover a lot of ground.
No prices were revealed at press time, so you’ll have to pay your nearest Continental BestDrive or participating tire dealers a visit nationwide. CC6 is available right now, with deliveries of UC6 to commence very soon. I. Can’t. Wait.
Text: Greg Yang/Photos: Marcus Lee