If you’ve been following my work, you know that I make a lot of tire comparisons. For the most part, I’m taking two tires from the same category and see how well they compare, but today I’ll try something else – compare two tires from different categories.
Putting two tires from different classes is one thing, but this comparison will feature two premium tires from different categories. On one side, we have the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3, which is considered an extreme performance summer tire, and on the other is the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, a max performance summer tire.
Obviously, both models are designed for performance, but I wanted to compare the extreme vs. max and see which one is a better option for which conditions. Right off the bat, things may seem to lean in favor of the Goodyear model, and that is true, but not in all conditions.
There are some situations where the Michelin will be a better option than the Goodyear one and vice versa. Let’s dive into what makes them tick and compare the performance results.
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Goodyear has a lot of experience in the racing industry, so part of what the company learned over the years is implemented into the Eagle F1 Supercar 3. The compound is specifically designed with high levels of grip and traction in mind, and based on the manufacturer’s claims, it shouldn’t disappoint in dry and wet conditions.
Damp roads are one thing, but the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is also designed to deliver excellent performance in harsher conditions. To ensure better aquaplaning resistance, Goodyear designed higher void grooves and full-depth sipes to keep the tire stable at higher speeds in deep water.
In the handling department, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 has several features that should help it perform as intended. The outer shoulders feature a low void design to improve the cornering grip. On the other hand, the central rib is stiffened up, resulting in a more responsive handling characteristic.
Considering the type of tire we’re talking about, Goodyear worked on making it lighter. The Eagle F1 Supercar 3 has an internal construction with a two-ply rayon casing and a three-ply sidewall to improve responsiveness and reduce sidewall flex. As a bonus, the tread gets additional reinforcement from the twin steel belt support, which is designed to help with stability and handling.
Primarily, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is designed for the Camaro SS 1LE and the ZL1, but since it comes in a variety of sizes, it can be fitted to other cars as well.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Even though the Pilot Sport 4S is a max performance tire, not an extreme one, it doesn’t lack performance-oriented features. This means that while there is still plenty of performance the tire can provide, Michelin also paid some attention to the refinement.
Like its American counterpart, Michelin took plenty of features from its racing department, one of which being the compound. To ensure that the tire doesn’t disappoint in dry and wet conditions, the company utilized a hybrid rubber compound capable of delivering traction even in wet conditions.
The pattern is designed with a dual personality, aimed at improving performance in multiple conditions. On the outside of the tire, the design is there to help with braking and handling, while the inner part is designed for improving wet performance. The silica enriched rubber remains softer when the roads are cooled by the water, keeping traction levels high. For harsher conditions, Michelin molded the rubber into a pattern with wide circumferential grooves and sipes with the goal of evacuating water more efficiently.
Despite being a tire that’s more towards everyday road use, the Pilot Sport 4S also features a lighter internal construction. The twin steel belts reinforced with the hybrid wrap ensure that the unsprung mass of the wheel is reduced without compromising its integrity.
On the refinement side of things, Michelin utilized its Acoustic Technology. By adding a special foam on the inside of the Pilot Sport 4S, the manufacturer aims to make it quieter for daily driving.
When you consider that these tires fall into different categories, you should expect to see noticeable differences in performance. With that said, depending on the use case, the advantage may lean either way.
How do they perform in dry conditions?
Since the start of this review, you probably already knew that Goodyear would outperform Michelin. Being an extreme performance tire means that more is put into the performance, so it’s expected to be better than the max performance one.
The main problem with the performance difference is that you won’t get to experience it in daily driving scenarios. Both tires deliver very high levels of grip and traction, so whichever you choose, you won’t be left asking for more.
What about a drive on a twisty road? You may begin to notice some differences as the Goodyear will be a bit stickier. The Eagle F1 Supercar 3 will feel happy in these conditions and won’t hesitate to comply. I’m not saying that the Pilot Sport 4S is horrible and won’t handle that, but if you drive them back to back, you’ll notice some subtle differences.
In an emergency braking scenario, the Goodyear manages to outperform the Michelin tire by a hair. This is a very good result by the Pilot Sport 4S being able to be so close to a tire from a better performing category.
The biggest difference you’ll notice is on a track, something that the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is designed for. Yes, there are track-ready tires, but Goodyear’s option is almost as good. In these conditions, it beats the Pilot Sport 4S by a significant margin. Thanks to the higher levels of grip, you can attack a corner carrying a greater speed, which can reduce the lap times. Also, in the case of the Michelin tire, you are looking at a bit more understeer when pushed hard.
How do they perform on wet roads?
The results change once it starts raining, and you get two tires from different categories that perform similarly. There are situations where the Pilot Sport 4S is a bit ahead.
Like in dry conditions, under normal driving conditions, both tires offer more than enough. There’s plenty of grip and traction, so you can have either of them fitted, and you’d struggle to tell the difference. Things remain more or less the same even if you start to push the tires near their limits.
Having a bit of fun is something you can do with both, but you won’t notice massive differences. Even though Goodyear tried to make the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 good for driving in wet, Michelin already set the bar pretty high with the Pilot Sport 4S. As a result, the differences are minor, and I have to admit that in some cases, the Michelin tire gave a bit more confidence. This can also be noticed when you’re on a track.
A safe driving experience is crucial, and I’m happy to report that both tires have very short braking distances on damp roads. With that said, the Pilot Sport 4S has slightly shorter ones than the Eagle F1 Supercar 3.
The Michelin tire also gets ahead of the Goodyear one in aquaplaning resistance. Both are more or less equal in straight-line, but the area where the Pilot Sport 4S performs a bit better is in the corners.
Are they good in the handling department?
Handling is one area where the tires have a massive difference, which can be noticed even at slower speeds. You can probably guess which is the better handling tire, but let me break it down for you anyway.
To be fair, both tires handle pretty well, but the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is much better. It’s extremely sharp and precise, and when you combine that there’s almost no understeer, it becomes clear why it’s a better track-oriented option. Even on a twisty road, the tire is communicative, and you constantly know what each tire is doing.
The Pilot Sport 4S, on the other hand, is a performance tire, but it seems that Michelin tried to make it more road usable, so it’s far from the best handling option. The responsiveness isn’t terrible, and you won’t wait too much for the tires to change direction. With that said, after driving the Goodyear tire, the Michelin one will almost feel like a touring tire.
While the Goodyear is a tire that communicates very well through the steering wheel, the Michelin one isn’t. You may find yourself in a situation where you’d struggle to figure out what’s happening with the front tires.
Going hard into a corner leads to sidewall flex, and both manufacturers have done an excellent job at keeping the tire firm. While the Goodyear flexes less, I have to give credit to Michelin as well.
In a daily driving scenario, it’s more than enough, but unfortunately, this isn’t where Michelin’s tire is ahead. Even when you compare the Pilot Sport 4S with the SportContact 7, you’ll notice a difference in handling in favor of the Continental tire.
How well-refined are the tires for everyday driving?
The handling may go in favor of the Goodyear tire, but the refinement definitely is on Michelin’s side. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the French manufacturer aimed to make a good-performing road tire.
When you compare the noise levels, they aren’t too different. Yes, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is noticeably louder than the Pilot Sport 4S, but it’s not deafening loud. Thanks to the sound absorbing foam, the Michelin comes well ahead, especially over rougher surfaces. The story is the same on the highway, the Goodyear tire is noisy, but you could say that’s acceptable.
Comfort is where the Michelin has a clear advantage over the Goodyear. The Pilot Sport 4S is technically a harsh tire, but it does a decent-ish job at softening some of the holes. On the other hand, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is noticeably harsher, and it fails to isolate the cabin from vibrations.
Do any of them offer a warranty?
Another area that goes in favor of Michelin is the warranty. The Pilot Sport 4S comes with a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is a rare sight in this category. On the other hand, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 has no treadwear warranty, just uniformity, and workmanship.
How do they compare in terms of price?
When it comes to price, Goodyear takes the lead. A 17-inch Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is about $20 cheaper than the Pilot Sport 4S. Going for the larger sizes like a 20-inch model increases the difference to about $40.
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 Pros and Cons
– Better dry performance
– Offers more feedback and a more responsive handling
– Slightly cheaper
– Wet performance isn’t so good
– Ride is harsh
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Pros and Cons
– Better wet performance
– Lower noise levels and better comfort
– 30,000-mile treadwear warranty
– Slightly more expensive
– Handling is only above average
Which of the two is a better option?
When you look at these two tires, the first question you’ll have to ask yourself is the use cases. Both tires are excellent, but each one is for a different application.
For daily driving most of the time, I’d recommend the Pilot Sport 4S. Even though the dry performance and handling aren’t on the same level as the Goodyear tire, you probably won’t notice the difference as long as you’re not on a track or pushing it to the limit. Yes, this is the more expensive option, but you should also consider that you get a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty.
If you’re looking for a tire that you may drive around town, but you need the better performance on the track, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is the one to go for. Not only is it slightly cheaper, but you also get everything you’d want from a tire to get the fastest times. It doesn’t come without its drawbacks, though. The two main ones are the average-ish wet performance and the refinement you’ll have to live with every day.