Tire Test: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S (Intro)

Tire Test: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S (Intro)

We have now extensively tested the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, and hold it in extremely high regard.

Last year, we used the Super Sport on the magazine’s autocross car (reviewed here), and in fact, we only chose that tire for that application for a reason. While the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S had already launched, it was not yet available in a 17” size, which is what was required in order for the Mazda MX-5 RF (reviewed here) to maintain its factory BBS wheel.

Tire Test: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S review

Moving forward to this year, we were ecstatic to hear that the size portfolio for the Pilot Sport 4 S has expanded to include a series of 17” sizes, so we opted to grab a set to put through the ringer on the street, autocross circuit as well as the racetrack. The vehicle of choice is our 2004 Honda S2000, a two-seat, rear-drive, manual transmission roadster. The tire being replaced was the Bridgestone Potenza RE050, which was adequate but nothing special.

The Pilot Sport 4 S is Michelin’s new Ultra High-Performance (UHP) summer tire, and the staggered factory size on the Honda means that the fronts are 215/45ZR17 and the rears are 245/40ZR17. One of the main goals for the Pilot 4 S is to improve wet weather performance over the Super Sport, and this is one aspect that we have tested on other test vehicles with this tire application. The new tire does feel more composed in the wet, but more importantly, dry performance is improved too.

Tire Test: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S review

With regards to tread pattern, Michelin has implemented multiple compounds on the contact patch, and the inner shoulder of the tire uses a compound that is softer to improve grip. Our wee Honda is known for its ability to corner like it’s on rails, but the Bridgestones on it previously did create for a more tail-happy personality. The PS4S rubber grips extremely well and makes for razor-sharp reflexes in street and autocross driving. Response is immensely improved and it really does become evident how much a good tire contributes to the behaviour of a sports car.

We have only done one full track day so far with these tires, but we can confirm their ability to hook up and provide maximum traction both with regards to straight line grip as well as road-holding in the corners. The S2000 is a very tail-happy car north of the 6,000RPM mark (about where VTEC engages), but the PS4S rubber ensures control is at the driver’s fingertips (and feet), rather than at the mercy of the tires. For ride quality, initial impressions are that this tire is wholly firmer than the previous Bridgestones.

Tire Test: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S review

As it currently stands, we have put about 1,800km on this set of Michelins, so they’re barely past the break-in mark. Important factors over the coming months will include how well they wear. We will be taking this car on an extended highway trip to see how noise levels are as the tires get more mileage on them. For now though, we have nothing but good things to say about these latest UHPs from Michelin.


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