The Volkswagen GTI ticks several boxes for the hatchback-loving crowd. It offers a balanced ride, sporty and fun handling, and lots of interior space for passengers and cargo. Plus, despite its performance-oriented nature, the GTI can be used for everyday driving.
One thing that divides opinions about the VW GTI is its tires. Or, to be more precise, the factory-installed tires that come with this hatchback. VW ships this vehicle with Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2, an ultra-high-performance all-season tire that does what its name implies.
This tire offers incredible amounts of traction and grip on dry and wet roads. That may be just what you’re looking for if you intend to push the VW GTI to its limits. However, if you’re the sort of driver who uses their GTI for everyday driving, this tire may need replacement.
Your presence here tells us that you belong to the second category. That’s why we have developed this comprehensive guide on the 10 best tires for VW GTI. Aside from that, we’ll provide you with a detailed buying guide on choosing the right set of tires for this vehicle.
#1. Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus – Best Touring
The Pirelli Cinturato P7 is one of the best touring all-season tires for the VW GTI. This model offers excellent dry and wet traction, is quiet and comfortable on the highway and offers better fuel economy than most of its rivals. As such, you can count on it to provide fuel savings.
Pirelli’s internal tests report that this tire has 15% less rolling resistance than competitors. This means that the Cinturato P7 would require your GTI’s engine to output less power to keep rolling at a consistent speed. This, as you might guess, translates into gas savings.
Next comes this model’s excellent road manners. A computer-optimized tread pattern deflects road noise and absorbs vibrations before they can enter the cabin. Plus, its rugged internal construction also helps this tire isolate the vehicle body from road disturbances.
Wet traction is another area where this model shines. The credit for this goes to four circumferential grooves (which ensure quick water evacuation) and multiple biting edges (which shorten braking distances on snow and ice). You can thus confidently drive it in the rain.
To further sweeten the deal, Pirelli backs this model with an excellent 70,000-mile treadwear warranty. One-year or 2/32-inch wear and 6-month workmanship and defect guarantees are also available. All in all, except for its below-average grip on ice, this model is nearly faultless.
- Offers enhanced fuel economy
- Provides a comfortable and noise-free ride
- Great handling and traction at speed
- Could do with a little more grip on the ice
#2. Sumitomo HTR Enhance WX2 – Best Budget Touring
The Sumitomo HTR Enhance WX2 shows that sometimes in life you get more than what you paid. This affordably-priced touring tire might cost less than our top pick. But its performance, durability, and handling can compete with models costing twice as much.
Sumitomo has used its proprietary asymmetric compound in this tire’s tread. The compound holds excellent all-season capabilities without sacrificing grip and traction in mild wintry conditions, meaning you can rely on this tire to keep you safe on light snow and ice.
The duo of aggressive sipes and cross-sectional grooves improves the flow of slush, water, and ice through the tread channels. This keeps hydroplaning at bay and the contact patch dry, enhancing this model’s road grip and traction in inclement weather.
A wider outside shoulder block helps this model in more ways than one. For starters, it provides this tire with excellent cornering, letting you enter and exit turns at speed. The shoulder block also improves this tire’s handling to improve its high-speed stability.
Depending on the tire size, three different warranties are on offer. The coverage is 90,000 miles on T-rated tires, 75,000 miles on H and V-rated models, and drops further to 55,000 miles on W-rated HTR Enhance WX2.
- Offers excellent high-speed stability
- Is quiet and comfortable on the highway
- Stays useful in light wintry conditions
- Below-average treadwear warranty on W-rated tires
#3. Michelin Premier A/S – Best Premium Touring
The Michelin Premier A/S is one of the priciest touring tires on the market. Luckily, it has the features to convince people to pay its astronomical asking price. So, if you want the best performance and are willing to pay big bucks for it, consider this model.
A silica and sunflower oil tread compound is the first ace up this model’s tread, helping the Premier A/S stay useful 365 days a year. As such, whether you’re driving on dry roads, in the rain, or on thin snow and ice, you wouldn’t wish to be driving another tire.
The circumferential and lateral grooves duo also helps justify this model’s inflated asking price. Most other touring tires you see in the market opt for one of these two channels. So, having used both in its design, the Premier A/S should offer better wet traction.
Comfort Control Technology may also have jacked up this model’s price, given how it helps this tire offer a plush riding experience. Furthermore, a sturdy internal construction featuring twin steel belts reduces the risk of premature deformation.
However, there is one area where this tire could do better. Its 60,000-mile warranty, though good on paper, is 10,000 miles smaller than our top pick’s. Which is surprising given that the Cinturato P7 costs less than this premium all-season touring tire.
- Offers a comfortable and quiet ride
- Provides excellent traction on wet surfaces
- Can easily handle mild wintry conditions
- Relatively small treadwear warranty
#4. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 – Best High-Performance All-Season
The Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 ticks several boxes for enthusiast GTI drivers. These include excellent high-speed stability, short braking distances on dry and wet roads, and more steering feedback than you’d know what to do with.
A tread compound featuring silica and +Silane additives has been molded into an asymmetric tread pattern. The result? Even tread wear for a long tread life. Another benefit is improved dry grip and wet traction for reliable year-round performance.
Multiple shoulder blocks enhance cornering grip to let you attack bends with a vengeance. A stiff sidewall makes sure that anyone behind the wheel gets an excellent feel of what is going down there on the road. You’d thus have no complaints about the lack of steering feedback.
X-Sipe Technology and Traction Grooves ensure excellent grip in the rain and quick water evacuation, respectively. Both these features are why this tire boosts extremely short wet braking distances. They are also responsible for this tire’s excellent hydroplaning resistance.
Lastly, a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty means you can easily get 3 to 4 years out of this tire, or more if you can keep yourself from pushing it to its limits.
- Provides excellent steering response
- Above-average treadwear warranty for a tire in this class
- Superb cornering performance and grip
- Relatively long braking distances on wet roads
#5. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S3 Plus – Best High-Performance All-Season
The Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus is another exciting UHP all-season tire pick for VW GTI drivers. If you’re willing to blow a hole in your pocket for excellent performance, ride quality, and tread life, we see no reason why any other high-performance tire should be on your list.
Surprisingly, the Pilot Sport A/S3 Plus features the same tread compound – silica and sunflower oil – as the one you get in the Premier A/S. This is extremely good news for those of you who want the refinement levels of an A/S tire from an ultra-high-performance model.
However, apart from the tread compound, everything else about this tire maximizes performance. For example, its performance-oriented tread design enhances this model’s lateral grip, giving it the kind of straight-line tracking you usually expect from summer tires.
Outboard shoulder blocks improve dry cornering performance, whereas a continuous center rib ensures better road contact for enhanced steering feedback. Furthermore, Michelin’s proprietary Variable Contact Patch technology gives it excellent high-speed stability.
Finally, two more features help this model justify its premium price point. These include circumferential grooves (which ensure excellent hydroplaning resistance) and a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty (which all but guarantees multiple years of road life).
- Brilliant high-speed stability
- Exceptional cornering performance
- Extended treadwear warranty
- Might get loud at high speed
#6. Falken Azenis RT615K+ – Best Summer Performance
The Falken Azenis RT615K+ isn’t your average summer performance tire. That is because this model doesn’t cost a fortune and offers excellent traction in wet conditions. At the same time, its dry performance and handling are among the best in class.
Its high-tension carcass construction is the primary reason this tire is so stable above the speed limit. The construction is also responsible for this model’s lightweight construction, helping this model put less pressure on your GTI’s engine and offer better fuel economy.
A combination of solid center rib and massive shoulder blocks help this tire withstand all the abuse you can send its way. Both design elements also increase this model’s steering feedback and cornering grip, with the shoulder blocks also helping with water evacuation.
For excellent wet performance, notched tread blocks and grooves quickly evacuate water. Their effective action ensures the dryness of the contact patch, improving this tire’s wet traction.
Bear in mind, though, that the RT615K+ isn’t the most comfortable summer performance tire out there. Its high adhesiveness to the road means this tire may wear quickly with everyday use. As such, it might not be the best option for commuting.
- Great dry traction and grip
- Delivers an outstanding cornering performance
- Lightweight construction lowers fuel consumption
- Fares poorly in terms of ride comfort
#7. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 – Best Summer Performance
Three features distinguish the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 from the above summer performance tires. The first of which is that this model comes with a treadwear warranty (65,000 miles). In contrast, neither of the above models comes with tread coverage.
Another difference between this tire and the two above is that you cannot cross-rotate (front moves to opposite side rear) the Indy 500. This model can only be rotated front to back, a point you’d do well to keep in mind if you don’t want to hurt its performance.
Its excellent wet traction and performance also give this model an edge over the above summer performance tires, especially the RT615K+. As long as there isn’t snow and ice on the road, you won’t have to replace this model for want of traction.
This model’s inner construction is equally sturdy as its competitors. Nylon threads have reinforced two high-tensile steel belts, which are then encapsulated in a polyester casing. Such sturdy construction helps this model offer superior high-speed stability.
As with most summer performance tires, the Indy 500 isn’t meant for snow driving. That is because it doesn’t have the biting edges or flexibility to withstand sub-zero temperatures.
- 65,000-mile treadlife warranty
- Usable in rainy conditions
- Excellent steering response and feedback
- Unreliable in wintry conditions
#8. Michelin Pilot MXM4 – Best Highway Tire
Safe handling at high speeds? Check. Excellent durability and road life? Present. Longer lasting tread? Yup. Extended treadwear warranty? Absolutely. All these qualities make the Michelin Pilot MXM4 one of the best highway tires for the VW GTI.
An all-season compound has been rolled into a symmetric tread pattern to deliver excellent performance on dry surfaces and when you’re covered in rain, snow, and ice. You have, therefore, no reason to doubt this grand-touring tire’s A/S credentials.
Three specific features – circumferential grooves, independent tread blocks, rounded shoulder blocks –enhance its wet performance. The trio works in unison to expand this model’s contact patch on wet surfaces for excellent traction capabilities.
Michelin’s MaxTouch Construction helps this tire wear evenly for a long tread life. It does that by providing it with more biting edges than you usually expect from grand touring tires. In doing so, it also improves this model’s light winter performance.
Unfortunately, as it’s with the Premier A/S, this model’s treadwear warranty is lackluster. A 50,000-mile tread coverage is infuriatingly abysmal, given that rival models (such as the Cooper CS5 Grand Touring) come with 80,000-mile treadwear warranties.
- Wears evenly for a long tread life
- Offers excellent dry and wet performance
- Provides safe handling at high speed
- Below-average treadwear warranty
#9. Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 – Best OE Tire
As noted at the start, the VW GTI rolls off the factory floor with the Ventus S1 Noble 2 on its wheels. This original equipment tire needs not to be replaced if you like its below qualities.
An all-season tread compound featuring silica has made this tire an extremely capable performer on dry roads. Aside from that, silica’s lightness has slashed a few pounds off this tire’s weight, bringing down its rolling resistance and fuel consumption.
Multiple notched shoulders and an asymmetric tread design enhance cornering grip and dry traction, giving you the confidence to push this model to its limits. In particular, the shoulders enable this tire to deliver increased feedback at the steering wheel.
Four circumferential grooves and Hankook’s Aqua Hydro Block Technology improve wet traction to shorten braking distances on wet roads. To further sweeten the deal, Hankook backs the S1 Noble 2 with a respectable 50,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Bear in mind, though, that the S1 Noble 2 tends to wear pretty quickly. You’d therefore be lucky to get more than 3 years of road life from this model.
- Comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Excellent wet traction and braking distances
- Offers impressive dry traction
May wear down quickly
#10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter Tire
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is one of the best winter tires for the VW GTI. Their super-flexible tread compound, Multi-Cell structure, and aggressive biting edges won’t let this hatchback skid or slip on snow- and ice-covered roads for reliable winter performance.
Its ultra-pliable tread compound can stay flexible in sub-zero temperatures, helping this tire safely carry you from point A to point B on snow-laden roads.
Multi-cell structure traps snow within the treads. The resulting snow-on-snow contact generates the friction that enhances this model’s traction on snow and ice.
Various aggressive biting edges enable this tire to plow through harsh wintry conditions, not letting its road contact break for a confident driving experience. Plus, a Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol all but guarantees this model’s reliability in harsh weather.
- 3PMSF emblem
- Wears less quickly than rival winter tires
- Highly dependable on snow and ice
- No mileage warranty
Best Tires for VW GTI
High-Performance All Season
How can we be so sure that high-performance all-season tires are the best for the VW GTI? Because Volkswagen has shown us the same. The German car manufacturer delivers this hatchback Hankook S1 Noble 2, an ultra-high-performance all-season model.
This tells us all we need to know about which type of tires can enhance this model’s strengths and play down its shortcomings. However, while we agree with VW on which ‘type’ of tires are best for the VW GTI, on the model, we have no choice but to disagree.
That isn’t to say that the S1 Noble 2 is a bad tire. It’s just that its competitors that we recommended above are much better in terms of handling, performance, and comfort levels. As such, if you want to get the best out of the VW GTI, consider replacing its OE Tire.
All-season touring tires can be a better option than their UHP A/S counterparts, especially for VW GTI drivers who have no intention of exploring this hatchback’s sporty side. And who intend to use this vehicle for daily commutes and long highway trips.
These tires deliver exceptional ride comfort, extended treadwear warranties, and superb road manners. They also perform brilliantly in dry and wet conditions. Best of all, the best touring tires (like those recommended above) can help you out in snow and ice, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tires come on Golf GTI?
The VW Golf GTI comes in a wide range of tire sizes, including 195/65R15 tires, 205/55R16 tires, 225/45R17 tires, 225/40R18 tires, and 235/35R19 tires.
How long should GTI tires last?
If you drive conservatively and cover around 12,000 to 15,000 miles every year, your GTI’s tires may wear out in about 3 to 4 years.
Ultimately, the best tires for VW GTI are those that complement the road and weather conditions and meet the individual owner’s driving preferences.
If you’re an enthusiast who likes pushing this hatchback to its limits, consider ultra-high-performance all-season or summer-performance tires. Conversely, if you use the GTI for everyday driving, all-season touring or grand touring tires might prove to be a better pick.