Michelin Total Performance

Of course this all sounds great in theory but typically when any company tries to make a product that excels at everything you end up with a jack of all trades but master of none. Michelin spent years of development and testing to avoid adding unfortunate drawbacks to any aspect of this tire. This involved testing hundreds of different wet compounds, dry compounds, and tread patterns to get the optimum combination. The results speak for themselves: in independent third party tests The Pilot Sport 4 S takes the top spot.

The track testing was administered by TÜV SÜD and included tests for showing the average dry braking distance from 100 kmph (62 mph), wet braking distance from 80 kmph (50 mph), and average lap time around a 2.6 kilometer track (1.62 miles). During the dry braking test the PS4S averaged a braking distance of 33.6 meters (110.24 ft) which beat out the competition by a range of .83 to 3.87 meters (2.72 to 12.7 ft) [see below, left]. Even the lowest difference of 2.72 feet could easily be the margin between crushing your front end or stopping in time.

In the wet braking test the numbers were a bit closer but the speed was reduced to 80 kmph (50 mph) so that is to be expected. Again the PS4S is the top contender in this category with a 27.73 meter (90.98 ft) stopping distance, edging out the next contender by about .10 meters (.33 ft or 4 inches). The rest of the tires averaged between .64 meters (2.1 ft) and 2.41 meters (7.91 ft) [see below, right] which, as in the case of the dry braking averages, could be the difference between a near miss and a crash.

TÜV SÜD Dry Braking and Wet Braking Test Results (click to enlarge)

 

The final TÜV SÜD test was average hot laps of their 1.62 mile race track. This is where all aspects of the tire come into play, the car will brake aggressively, corner fast, accelerate hard. If a tire is not up to the task its performance will drop quickly and make for a poor average. Luckily the Michelin engineers seem to know what they’re doing. The PS4S was able to set an average lap time of 80.33 seconds with the other Max Performance Summer options averaging between 0.40-1.39 seconds slower [see below, left]. This may not seem like a lot, but in the world of high performance Motorsport every tenth or even hundredth of a second counts.

The fourth test the tires were subjected to was a longevity test run by the DEKRA Test Center. Michelin claimed to have improved the PS4S tire wear approximately 9% over the old Pilot Super Sport and the longevity test shows that gave them the lead over other brands as well. In the test the PS4S lasted for 52,032 km (32331 miles) with the other contenders ranging from slightly worse (-5%) to notably worse (-43%).

The longevity test gives good insight into how well the compounds were designed. The most common way to produce a tire that has good dry performance is to use a soft compound. You can see from the test results [see below, right] that the Continental Sportcontact 6 achieves its faster lap times thanks to a soft grippy compound but suffers increased tire wear because of it. On the opposite end the Pirelli Pzero Nero GT had an unimpressive lap time but had some of the best tread-wear of the group. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 actually preformed admirably in all the tests so they seem to have found a decently well balanced compound that is unfortunately overshadowed by the multi-compound design of the PS4S. The Dunlop and Bridgestone unfortunately achieve poor lap times and even poorer longevity. This goes to show how impressive it is that Michelin’s design doesn’t have the usual trade-off of tread-wear for performance.

TÜV SÜD Testing Lap time averages and DEKRA Test Center Longevity Test (click to enlarge)

 

Quality of life improvements

In addition to their impressive achievements in performance and longevity, the Michelin engineers have added a few more subtle improvements to make buying a set that much sweeter. On the aesthetic side of things Michelin improved an aspect of the tire that is often overlooked. Usually tires come in a slightly glossy finish, you can always tell who pays for the extra tire shine at the car was because their tires will look unnaturally shiny and oily. On the Pilot Sport 4 S they implemented a satin finish [see below, left] instead of the old gloss look on the Pilot Super Sport [see below, right]. This gives a very unique classy look to the sidewall that really accentuates your wheels rather than distracting from them.

The other quality of life improvement on the PS4S is the NVH reduction. NVH stands for Noise Vibration and Harshness, which is a more all inclusive term than just mentioning road noise. Michelin made all their performance and longevity advancements while still improving overall ride quality over the old Super Sports. This was achieved using a combination of their ultra-reactive tread pattern and their Aramid Nylon Hybrid Blend so the tire reacts well to road irregularities but thanks to the more flexible nylon it doesn’t transmit as much of the noise and impact as the old Twaron band.

Pilot Sport 4 S Satin Finish vs Pilot Super Sport Glossy Finish

 

What’s the catch?

Despite their impressive performance in wet conditions, these tires are not the perfect choice in every situation, no tire can be. Due to different weather conditions or varying levels of usage there’s no tire that encompasses all situations. If you live in a snowy area you will still want to have your usual winter tires, although the PS4S will work further into the cold season than other summer performance tires. You can use them up to the period when it is maybe a bit damp but hasn’t started snowing yet. Just make sure that you give the tires adequate time to heat up before any aggressive driving as they do lose traction as it gets close to freezing temperatures. They also are not a good choice if your vehicle spends all its time on the track. These are not a DOT Competition tire so while they do work well on the track they’re not going to give you the same level of performance as a Sport Cup 2 would. That being said, if you’re looking for a max performance summer tire that will give you amazing grip, excellent tread life, and won’t betray you in the wet then you can do no better than the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S.

 

Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S Installed

 

If you’re ready to take your performance to the next level you can view this item on our website. If you’re not sure what size you need or have any additional questions about these tires our Mod Experts are always happy to help. You can reach us at (714)-582-3330 or by email at [email protected].

 

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