Tires: How much difference would I notice with something "less sporty"?

I have a 2000 Audi A4 that came with Dunlop SP Sport 8000 tires (just in case the specifics matter). I’m about to replace them for the second time, and I’m thinking of changing to something that wears a bit better; I’ve typically gotten barely 25K on a set of these. When I was getting the set that now needs replacing, the guy at the tire store said that I could get something that had better wear, but that they obviously (to him, anyway) wouldn’t “feel” the same. I asked him what that really meant, didn’t get much of an answer, and didn’t press it at that time.

So, what does it mean? I’d like to get tires that last longer, but not if it’s going to make the enjoyment of driving substantially less. Can anyone give me at least some idea of what kind(s) of difference(s) I might experience? I don’t race the car, I stay generally somewhere in the vicinity of the speed limit, I drive mostly on city streets and freeways, rarely do any severe mountain driving. But I do, on occasion, like to take a corner (too) fast. I’m not a daredevil, but I know what my car (and the current tires) can do, and I never feel like I’m anywhere close to getting out of control or sliding or skidding or what have you. The dealer did say that longer-wearing tires would be “less sticky”, but I still don’t really know whether that would make a huge difference, or be barely noticable.

IANA tire expert, but I had some type of sporty tires on my Mustang up until about a year ago, then I switched to something with a longer wear. The bonus was that I got less road noise – substantially less – and they are better in the snow. I can’t say that I’ve lost anything. Maybe they are less sticky, but I don’t engage in performance driving so’s that I’d notice.

Well I just adjusted the other direction, went from basic all weather tyres to Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 and the differnece is very noticable.

Check out Tire Rack Customer survey ratings ratings though, you can get better tyres than the Dunlops with better treadwear lifetime.
Also be sure that you get any tyres you buy at or near the Tire Rack prices.

My Goodyears are listed in the stock sheets at the local Goodyear tyre shop as approx $500 each, they will sell them at a ‘discount’ price of $200 each to a nieve person. The tirerack price is $120 each (and I got them at a tirerack special price of $90 each). Basicaly the stire hops will likely screw you over if they get the chance!

stire hops? I haven’t been drinking honestly…

Seriously if you have the Dunlop Sp Sport 8000 E that is standard original equipment for Audi A4’s then you can get much better tyres for less cost.

One thing you may consider, I ‘upgraded’ from a stock tire to a high preformance tire once and noticed my MPG went from 26 to 24 mpg.

YMMV

Tire “stickiness” shows up in situations where friction is most important: accelerating, braking, and cornering. But mostly cornering, assuming you’re not drag racing or making lots of panic stops. Less sporty “touring” tires will cost less and provide longer life than your SP 8000s. They may also be quieter and give better gas mileage. However, you may want to take your quick corners a little more cautiously the first few times on the new tires.

I highly recommend using the tire comparison function at Tire Rack. Select your car, and check off Performance All-Season, Grand Touring All-Season, or Standard Touring All-Season tires. (The SP 8000 Sports are Summer Ultra High Performance tires.) Check the “compare” box next to a few of the tires in your price range, and review their ratings in various categories such as Treadlife, Dry Traction, Wet Traction, etc. (Each of the terms is defined on the site.)

Tire Rack has a better selection and lower prices than most brick and mortar stores. So if you see something there that you like, you will probably save money, or at least break even, compared to buying locally, as long as you can find an installer who will mount and balance them at a reasonable cost. Tire Rack has a function to help you with that, too.

(If you want to talk about sticky tires, my track tires cost about $1,000 a set, and I get less than 5,000 miles out of them. But they let me go really fast. :D)

Just wanted to say thanks to those who pointed me to the Tire Rack. I never would have thought of looking to buy something like tires online, but I’ve found that it’s not only a great resource for comparing tires, but I’m gonna buy through them, too.

If you are just buying tires, be sure to consider the cost of mounting and ballancing the tires.

Yes, some tire stores include mounting and balancing in the purchase price, others don’t. Make sure you know the total price of buying locally vs. buying online and getting them mounted locally, so you’re comparing apples and apples.

If you have alloy wheels and are buying low-profile tires, M&B can be fairly pricey. If you have regular steel wheels, pretty much any service station can do it, and it will probably only cost $15-25 per wheel. But alloy wheels can cost $40 or more each, and you’ll probably have to go to a tire store or a dealership.

If you do have alloys, make sure the technician knows what he’s doing, or he could damage your wheels!!! Make sure to mention when you call that they are alloy wheels, and ask if they have a no-touch tire changer.

I was able to get a set of racing tires mounted at the place where I usually buy my racing tires, even though I didn’t buy this set there, and they only charged me $10 each. My dealership was going to charge $25, and that was less than the local National Tire and Battery store, which wanted $40 each. I even got a quote of $70 each (!!!) from a Firestone dealer, but I think that must have been a misunderstanding or a we-don’t-want-to-do-it price.

So check out the places where you already have a good relationship: the Audi dealer who sold you the car, or the mechanic you go to for service. Someone who will recognize you and the fact that you are a regular customer.

I went with a cheap tire with a lower speed rating for my 90 Mustang GT. My logic; I don’t drive 140 mph, so why do I need a tire rated for that? Well the speed rating isn’t just speed, it’s sidewall stiffness too. Those tired turned my car into a wallowing hog in the turns. I purposely burned those tires up in 10,000 miles or so. :smiley:

In one test, the difference between a “high-performance all-season” and an “all-season” tire on a mid-sized to full-sized vehicle in terms of dry surface absolute grip ranged from 2 to 7% and in terms of dry surfance stopping distance from 60 MPH 0 MPH, 0 to 4%. [1]

[1] http://www.nlectc.org/testing/tires.html -> 2002 Test on right side.