Continental's display 5th Gen Camaro was shod with their ExtremeContact DWS all-season tire - a fitting choice considering that there are plenty of late model muscle car enthusiasts who depend on their rides for year round duty.

For as long as there have been cars, Continental has been making tires for them. Today, they’re one of Europe’s leading brands, an OEM supplier to manufacturers worldwide, and they have tires to fit everything from bicycles to forklifts and 18-wheelers.

One of the advantages of such a broad base of experience is the ability to match the right designs to the market, and we got an education today on how Europe and America differ. Continental’s sales in the European market are primarily “summer” and “winter” designs, while the US domestic tire buyer tends to prefer an “all season” design. Different laws and regulations play a part – for instance, depending on the time of year, getting into an accident while driving a car shod with summer tires during bad weather in Germany can actually lead to your insurance company denying the claim!

The ExtremeContact DW (left) and DWS are easy to tell apart at a glance, but the differences in design and materials are more than just skin deep.

Fortunately for us, the choice between the most interesting tires in Conti’s lineup is pretty straightforward. The ExtremeContact DW is their ultra-high-performance summer tire, while the ExtremeContact DWS is their all-season selection. It’s right there in the name: “DW” stands for dry and wet, while “DWS” adds snow to the mix. Now, while no all-season tire is going to be as effective in real snowfall as a dedicated winter tire, the DWS has the traction grooves and increased pattern edges necessary for competence in the white stuff, along with a compound tailored to remain more compliant in cold temperatures.

The DWS utilizes traction grooves and lots of 'biting' edges to give it all-weather performance.

The DW, as the name implies, isn’t a tire that’s afraid of a little rain either. Lots of car owners brag about their ride never having seen rain, but even if you avoid precipitation like the plague, there are always going to be unforeseen circumstances when the DW’s ability effectively evacuate water with its open longitudinal grooves and high void ratio will come in handy.