The "M + S" symbol on a tyre sidewall denotes the tyre has performance capabilities for mud and snow conditions. For snow, this means a tyre's tread pattern, tread compound or structure are designed to achieve performance, better than a normal tyre, with regard to its ability to initiate or maintain vehicle motion in snow.
The "Alpine" symbol identifies winter tyres according to UNECE regulations (valid in the EU and various other countries) and the tyre regulations of the USA and Canada.
The snow performance of these winter tyres has to be proven by objective tests and meet or exceed defined limits. These tyres 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 tyres carrying the "M+S“ symbol on the sidewall. The reason for this is the vehicle category was first offered in North America where all-season tyres with the "M+S“ symbol are customary. Within the tyre portfolio of Continental this applies, for example, to the product lines ContiCrossContact LX, ContiCrossContact LX Sport or Conti4x4Contact.
The "M+S" marking is officially defined in an EU directive as meaning: “a tyre with a tread pattern and structure designed to better performance in snow than that of a normal tyre”. The performance of “M+S” marked tyres is therefore neither defined nor measured.
The snow performance of winter tyres is specified in North America with the so-called "Alpine" symbol. Only tyres which meet or exceed these requirements may carry the "Alpine" symbol.
Even though "M+S" marked tyres are required by law during winter in some European countries, Continental recommends to use winter tyres with the "Alpine" symbol on the sidewall and a tread depth of at least 4 mm in wintry conditions.