You may remember that we recently journeyed to California to drive a series of supercars through the desert.
Though an exciting adventure, we were there to test Michelin’s new Pilot Sport 4 S tyre, and see just how it could offer more than the Pilot Super Sport tyre it replaces.
— Michelin USA (@MichelinUSA) February 21, 2017
Using Michelin’s ‘Dynamic Response’ technology, the Pilot Sport 4 S – or PS4S for short – benefits from a similar manufacturing process as the one used to create motorsport tyres. What does that mean? Well, Michelin claims that the process gives better wet and dry grip levels, with the former certainly noticeable when we tested it on a wet handling circuit within the Palm Springs Thermal Club Raceway track.
Dry grip has also been improved over the outgoing model. This comes as a benefit of Michelin’s use of a hybrid nylon belt that sits within the tyre. This helps the rubber to maintain its shape – even at high speeds – while also ensuring that the driver can accurately change direction.
— Jack R W Evans (@jackrober) January 25, 2017
Michelin claims that its PS4S tyre will out-brake the competition, including rival tyres from Continental and Bridgestone. It certainly felt competitive in the dry, though with only a quick comparison session it was tricky to see large differences – a longer test on UK roads would be needed to establish this. However, an offering from Dunlop – the Sport Maxx RT 2 – was noticeably lacking in grip when compared against the Michelin, both in the wet and the dry.
It manages these high levels of grip in different conditions by evenly distributing forces and temperatures across the entire contact patch (the area where the tyre meets the road) which means that maximum traction is generated.
However, tyres in this category can’t just be good on the track, they have to be usable on the road too. When fitted to a range of supercars, we noticed very high levels of grip through corners at moderate speeds, as well as plenty of stability when travelling faster.
We tried the tyre out on an Audi R8 V10+, Ferrari California T and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S, which all require a high-performance tyre in order to be driven properly. At no point did we notice any lack of cornering precision, and the quality of ride was certainly noticeable – even on some of California’s craggier roads.
— Michelin (@Michelin) March 8, 2017
On a more stylised note, the new Pilot Sport 4 S also features Michelin’s new exterior design technology, which allows for dynamic logos and text to be applied directly to the tyre. It may sound slightly strange to be talking about looks in relation to a section of rubber, but it’s something that really makes the PS4S stand out – especially when compared with rivals.
You may not think about them often, but tyres are a fundamental part of the entire driving experience. With the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S, that experience is certainly enhanced.