First Impressions: Continental Max Contact MC6 – New UHP Contender

There’s a new UHP candidate from Continental Tyre lately, and it’s not just another Sport Contact sibling either. Yes you’ve heard, It’s the new MC6. Short for Max Contact, The new MC series will not just replace older MC5, it takes on a new role in the world of Ultra High Performance tyres.

What’s more, the MC6 now competes against Michelin’s super duper PS4. Also, the MC6 supports wheel sizes ranging 16-20 inches in diameter.

MC6 New Features

Multifunctional Tread Design

The new radical tread pattern is a proud feature of the MC6 and is said to increase grip and handling level as well as contribute in reducing braking distance in both wet or dry conditions.

Adaptive Grip Compound

With engineering down to the molecular level, the MC6 has what Continental Tyre calls the MaxContact compound that contains adhesive polymers, which enables higher grip levels thanks to improved adaptation to various road surfaces.

Xtreme Force Construction

The entire tyre now benefits from higher stiffness through newly developed Xtreme-Force ply material, which reduces tyre flex thus provides better steering and car control. Ironically, this material retains flextibility at low speed to deliver a comfortable ride.

Stabiliser Bars

In between the tyre’s grooves has what Continental Tyre call the Stabiliser bars, and there’s about 50 of them in each tyre. These series of reinforcement bars are moulded in to the tyre, in between the grooves on the outer side to further strengthen the tyre during high speed manoeuvres.

Wet Braking

On the pit lane at Sepang’s south paddocks, a wet braking arena was set up. It consists of a dry acceleration zone, followed by a full wet braking zone, complete with water sprinklers that constantly saturate the area.

In this exercise:

  • 6 BMW 330e were deployed
  • First 3 BMW 330e wear new Continental MC6 Tyres
  • Remaining 3 BMW 330e are on previous MC5 tyres.
  • 2 runs on each car
  • Braking stats are measured via VBOX logger

MC6 330e

First up, the new MC6 equipped 330e. Under full acceleration on said course, the 330e yielded about 70km/h just before the braking zone. We are to apply the brakes only when the entire 330e crosses into the wet zone.

As anticipated, like any good tyre these days, the MC6 stopped beautifully without any significant deficits. If anything, stopping distance was better than I’d expected, probably just as impressive as the Goodyear Asymmetric 3

However, this is not taking into account Goodyear’s test course being quite a bit longer in distance and higher speed, which was about 85km/h. Also, the Goodyear test was done on actual back straights of Sepang, whereas Continental did theirs on the Pit lane.

One could say it’s the same tarmac but one can also argue the difference in rubber content that were laid by constant track use on the straights versus the pitlane. So the debate will never end. The only conclusion I can draw from here is the impressive stopping power demonstrated by the MC6 as a UHP entry.

But this was all before the impending comparison against the MC5.

Review: Goodyear Asymmetric 3 Tyres (2017) First Drive!

MC5 330e

Launching the 330e in the same manner actually caused the rear wheels to spin and it wasn’t a slight chirp like in the MC6. But an actual, audible and physical wheel spin which was quite surprising too, the 330e being rear wheel driven with 255 mm wide tyres. In this case the new MC6 easily clawed the tarmac better upon launch as expected, without drama.

Now comes braking. Despite noticing the wheelspin earlier, it hasn’t really occurred to me that I was on the older MC5 tyres. Not until I applied the brakes. To my surprise, the 330e was virtually grip-less at the point of applying brakes. It felt like it took a lot more distance to stop. Even the ABS system was working overtime right till the end on this set of tyres. There is also less dive upon braking and instant suspension rebound like in the new MC6, further confirming the MC5 less enthusiastic wet braking performance.

Emergency Lane Change

Here comes the exciting part. In this course, drivers will get their cars up to speed, accelerating from starting point, about 300M before reaching a set of cones that forces an immediate lane change to the right. We are to clock and maintain at 80km/h throughout the exercise, and execute the lane change without braking

In this exercise:

  • 6 Mercedes C200 were deployed
  • First 3 Mercedes C200 wears new Continental MC6 Tyres
  • Remaining 3 Mercedes C200 are on previous MC5 tyres.
  • 2 runs on each car
  • Cones in close proximity will be the obstacle here
  • Performance is judged based clearing the cones with the least drama.

MC5 Mercedes C200

This time, I start off with the MC5. Barrelling towards the obstacle at 80km/h, I was ready to make the lane change. As I see the opening on the right, I made the move and found the steering just didn’t react as dynamically as expected.

I managed to clear the first set of cones on the first right swerve which required a subsequent left swerve. However, the MC5 tyres wouldn’t have it and I then killed a series of cones as the car failed to respond to my immediate correction.

Executing an emergency lane change without first applying a touch of brakes can be challenging as there is no load on the front to prep the tyres for the evasive move. Which, in fact proved extremely difficult for the MC5 on both my tries.

I found:

  • The front tyres were reluctant to react immediately
  • Dead zone between steering movement and tyre reaction
  • There was a moment of tyre scrub as the front tyre collapses under sudden load
  • The rear tend to step out, creating a pendulum effect under steering correction
  • Severe steering correction to keep the car planted.

MC6 Mercedes C200

Yet another world of difference here with the new MC6 when compared to its MC5 predecessor. This includes both the initiation of first right swerve as well as the second left swerve.

Steering was direct and accurate in the MC6 equipped C200 which transformed the emergency lane change from 50-50 miss to literally a walk in the park. I was taken aback by the old MC5’s initial irresponsive steering that had “you’re in trouble now” written all over it. In the MC6, even at the second try with a slight increase in speed

The new tyres demonstrated superb steering response right from the moment of initiation. This aspect alone determines just how important steering feel can be especially during emergency maneuvers.

Track Driving

This is an aspect I wasn’t able to conclude. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go out during the track driving segment as the slots were full for some reason. There were 5 GLA 200s for 10 journalists, with 2 journalists per car but I’d somehow became the 11th pax in this activity.

Nevertheless, the initial tests were sufficient to tell how far the MC6 has come within the MC range. I might just get to sample the MC6 in full in the near future just to see how it fares against the PS4 or the Eagle F1

Party trick with 500hp / 700nm! @zerotohundred #continentaltires #continentalmc6 #mercedes #amg #c63s #continentalmalaysia #zerotohundred

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It’s hard to tell how Continental’s new entry fares against same category elites like Goodyear’s Asymmetric 3 or Michelin’s PS4 in a non controlled environment, furthermore my lack of track time means I can only judge based on the 2 test activities above.

But one thing’s for sure, the MC6 certainly lives up to its AA rating and no doubt possess characteristics typically found in UHP tyres. If you need further encouragement to be certain of the MC6’s credibility as a performance tyre, there you go.

MC6 Tyre Sizes

Section Rim Size (inch) Load Index Speed Rating
205/45 16 87 W
205/40 17 84 W
245/40 17 95 W
205/45 17 88 W
215/45 17 91 W
225/45 17 94 W
235/45 17 97 W
245/45 17 99 W
215/50 17 95 W
225/50 17 98 W
215/55 17 94 W
225/55 17 101 W
255/35 18 94 Y
265/35 18 97 Y
225/40 18 92 Y
235/40 18 95 Y
215/45 18 93 Y
225/45 18 95 Y
235/45 18 98 Y
245/45 18 100 Y
225/50 18 95 W
235/50 18 101 W
235/55 18 104 Y
265/30 19 93 Y
275/30 19 96 Y
285/30 19 98 Y
245/40 19 98 Y
275/40 19 105 Y
245/45 19 102 Y
295/30 20 101 Y
245/35 20 95 Y
255/35 20 97 Y
275/35 20 102 Y
285/35 20 104 Y
295/35 20 105 Y
245/40 20 99 Y
265/40 20 104 Y