“Snow tire” means a tire whose tread pattern, tread compound or structure are primarily designed to achieve in snow conditions a performance better than that of a normal tire with regard to its ability to initiate or maintain vehicle motion.
The "Alpine symbol" identifies winter tires according to UNECE regulations (valid in the EU and various other countries) and the tire regulations of the USA and Canada. The snow performance of these winter tires has to be proven by objective tests and meet or exceed defined limits. These tires provide high performance with regards to safety and control on snow, on icy road and in general at deep temperatures.
Many SUVs and Off-road-Vehicles are equipped with tires carrying the „M+S“ marking on the sidewall. The reason for this is that this vehicle category was first offered in North America where all-season tires with „M+S“ marking are customary. Within the tire portfolio of Continental this applies for example to the product lines ContiCrossContact LX, ContiCrossContact LX Sport or Conti4x4Contact.
M+S marking is officially defined in an EU directive as meaning: “a tire with a tread pattern and structure designed to better performance in snow than that of a normal tire”. The performance of “M+S” marked tires is therefore neither defined nor measured.
The snow performance of winter tires is specified in North America with the so-called "Alpine symbol" symbol. Only tires which meet or exceed these requirements may carry the "Alpine symbol" symbol.
Even though M+S marked tires are in some European countries regarded by law as winter tires Continental recommends to use winter tires with the "Alpine symbol" on the sidewall and a tread depth of at least 4 mm in winterly conditions.