I understand what you are saying about the budget. I nearly fainted when I found out a set of 4 was going to run over $800.00. >.< But it's such a night and day difference- it was completely worth it. The ride is so much smoother and she's so much quicker on the starting line with a good grip. Corners are much smoother as well. If you can make it work, I'd strongly recommend the Contis, but you know this because you recommended them to me first. haha.
Hoping to catch you before you go; the tires are AWESOME. The ones I had on there were performance tires that looked a little low. I was right (they were almost gone apparently). The Continentals are a great choice- very good on turns and cornering and solid on acceleration. Thanks again for the recommendation.