Continental IceContact 3 is a new winter tire with a directional tread pattern that is part of the 2018–2019 winter range of this German tire maker. This tire is designed to be fitted on both compact passenger cars and cars with 4-wheel drive. The tire delivers confident traction on icy roads, high levels of grip on snow and slush, as well as stable performance over its entire service life.
Continental IceContact 3 came to replace IceContact 2, in comparison to which it got such marked improvements as 7% better resistance to hydroplaning and 9% better handling on dry asphalt.
And this is where it becomes interesting. The thing is that in sizes from 17-inch upwards (exclusively in the UHP tires) IceContact 3 uses ContiFlexStud rubber-coated studs that, along with ensuring a dependable grip on icy roads, deliver greater riding comfort and a marked reduction in road wear. And, as noted by some experts, it is these tires, normally found on larger, heavier vehicles, that showed a 110% traction on icy roads.
Parallel to that, the reliability of grip provided by IceContact 3 of a smaller fitting diameter (14»-16») only rose by 3%, which has to do with the fact that they are covered with standard aluminum-jacked studs, and not rubber-coated ones.
What is remarkable is the fact that some seasoned tire geeks saw a certain similarity between this Continental model and the French tires Michelin X–Ice North 2. They are not exact replicas of one another but some similarity is definitely there.
With is unique ContiFlexStud technology, Continental IceContact 3 sets a new standard for winter driving. A combination of two types of studs and an optimized pattern of their placement ensures shorter braking distances on winter roads and confident handling.
Traction on ice
Better handling on melting snow provided by Continental Ice Contact 3, as well as its increased resistance to hydroplaning and skidding on slush became possible thanks to the directional tread pattern and the highly developed drainage system consisting of numerous interconnected broad grooves.
The little «bridges» between the blocks of the directional tread of Continental IC3 increase their ruggedness, thus improving the handling on dry asphalt.
Rapeseed oil, added to the rubber compound, maintains the tire elasticity even at extreme low temperatures, allowing it to quickly adapt to any kind of road surface.
The maximum performance that Ice Contact 3 ensures during the entire period of its service life is explained by Continental’s tremendous experience in manufacturing winter studded tires, and, specifically, by the use of the patented technology of vulcanizing the studs with special coating into the tires at the production stage, which virtually excludes subsequent stud loss.
The rubber coating of such a stud wears down together with the tread pattern, which maintains the effectiveness of the stud and the high level of traction during the tire’s entire service life.