So the warmer months are here and you're a fan of spirited summer drives, but also in need of some new rubber... Well, you've got a task on your hands to sift through the options because the Max Performance tire category is saturated with reasonable - and some not so reasonable - products. So how do you choose?
Dunlop gave us a chance to test its new SP Sport Maxx GT tires on a Lexus IS250. Sure, the Lexus wouldn't be our first choice for a sporty rear-drive sedan, but it certainly got the job done.
Swapping out worn OEM-supplied Dunlop SP Sport 2050s for the new tires was a real pleasure. Upon our first test drive, we noticed much improved steering response and turn-in, while the stiff sidewalls weren't a problem on public roads, but were amazingly stable on long sweepers.
Tires in this segment are known to increase noise, but the Dunlops only squeak when driven at the limit, like any tire would. That limit, though, is much harder to find with such an aggressive tire on a bone-stock base model. It's obvious the Sport Maxx GT's would only shine brighter on a more performance-oriented car.
The exhibited characteristics that we so enjoyed about this tire are thanks to Dunlop's motorsport success, where its experience has translated into the consumer market. So even if you're not a racecar driver, knowing that somebody more skilled had a part in dialing-in your car's handling, is a good feeling.
The Sport Maxx GT uses a highly refined carbon black tread compound directly from Dunlop Motorsport, molded into an asymmetric tread pattern with firm tread blocks and a continuous center rib. The features help the tire keep a large contact patch on the road at all times, giving you more responsive handling and better high-speed stability.
Internally, the tire uses twin steel belts reinforced by Dunlop's Hybrid Jointless Band (JLB) as well as spiral-wrapped Aramid to provide better durability at high speeds, while also shedding unwanted weight and reducing temporary flatspotting.