- The best dry and wet performance in class
- Superb aquaplaning resistance
- 20,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Excellent handling characteristics
- Noise may be an issue for some at highway speeds
- The tire could use a bit more feedback through the steering wheel
As the automotive industry evolved over the years, people got different types of cars. In the early days, the choice was between one or two brands making basically the same car. Luckily, today it’s a different story.
Not only do we have multiple brands to choose from, coming from multiple parts of the world, but we also have various types of cars at our disposal. From small economy hatchbacks to huge off-roaders, the options are endless.
For the most part, the type of car you buy or own will determine what type of tires you should be looking to buy. To adhere to the changes in the automotive industry, tire manufacturers make different types of tires. While some are good at several things, others are designed with a single purpose in mind. For example, if you own a sporty coupe or a hot hatch, your first choice is performance-oriented tires. Sure, you could go for a touring option, but with that, you won’t be utilizing your car to the maximum.
If you are like me and own summer and winter tires or live in an area where the winters are non-existent, then I have just the right max performance summer tire for you. With over 130 years of existence, Michelin is a brand that has provided us with plenty of excellent options for our cars. One of those is the Pilot Sport 4, a premium performance tire designed primarily for road use.
We know that the French brand makes excellent tires, but how good is the Pilot Sport 4?
What are the features of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4?
The Pilot Sport 4 comes as an upgrade over the previous Pilot Sport 3, meaning that you should be getting some improvements.
In terms of grip, the Pilot Sport 4’s compound is designed with Michelin’s latest mixture of elastomers and silica, which help the tire bite into the tarmac. Then there’s the tread pattern which follows a similar path as the one in Formula E tires. The wider grooves and sipes, along with the overall design, should improve the traction and help the tire evacuate water more efficiently.
The Pilot Sport 4 is a max-performance tire, so Michelin didn’t forget about the handling. Here you also have the benefits of the tread pattern, which helps the tire adapt to the road and constantly provide the maximum contact patch. This, in combination with the Dynamic Response technology, should help the tire be more precise and direct.
On the inside, the Pilot Sport 4 is designed with a belt made from nylon and aramid that helps the tread remain stiffer. That should help the tire keep the contact patch constant at all times, resulting in even wear throughout the years.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
On dry roads, the Pilot Sport 4 delivers on the promises that Michelin made. As far as these types of tires go, there aren’t too many to surpass it.
Let’s start with the traction and grip levels – both of which are amazing. Of the line, you may experience a bit of wheel spin, but only in the most aggressive acceleration and with more powerful cars. In terms of the lateral grip, there’s plenty of it to play around with. The tire will grip even if you push it to the maximum, at which point it will result in some slight understeer. Finally, the braking distances are best in class, outperforming its premium rivals.
Handling is another area where Pilot Sport 4 delivers excellent results. The levels of responsiveness are very high perfectly suited for road use. I will have to say that I was expecting a bit more feedback through the steering wheel, but it’s not terribly numb.
How does it behave over wet and slippery roads?
Max performance tires are primarily designed for dry conditions but aren’t horrible if the roads are wet. In these situations, the Pilot Sport 4 again manages to be on top of the rest in the premium category.
On damp roads, the Pilot Sport 4 can deliver pretty good levels of traction, which will help it get rolling without too much slip. If you want to push it to the limit, you’ll need to bring some heat into the tires, as they cannot function properly when cold. The good news is that once you do that, the performance will remain consistent. The braking distances are among the shortest, and tires like the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 will stop a tad shorter. On the other hand, the aquaplaning resistance is hands down the best out of any tire in this category.
Finally, there’s the aquaplaning resistance, which is phenomenal even when compared with something like the Pirelli P Zero. The Pilot Sport 4 manages to remain a bit more stable at higher speeds than the rest of the pack.
How is it over snow?
The Pilot Sport 4 is a summer tire, so this section will be short – don’t drive it in the winter.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Michelin designed the Pilot Sport 4 to be a decently refined performance tire for the road, and it managed to achieve that to a point.
The comfort levels with the Pilot Sport 4 are not too bad. It manages to deal with bumps and road imperfections decently well and makes things bearable in daily driving situations.
Unfortunately, the noise levels aren’t the best in the category but still manage to be tolerable. Depending on the conditions and your driving habits, the roar is noticeable when you drive at higher speeds. For driving around town, things aren’t too bad.
Is it good for off-roading?
Tires like the Pilot Sport 4 are made to be driven on paved roads, so off-roading is not something you should practice too much.
Like with most tires, even though I wouldn’t recommend it, driving on a dirt road in a pinch won’t be a problem. With that said, the performance will be limited, and you’ll need to be careful because it doesn’t take much abuse to damage the tire.
Is the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 ideal for sporty driving?
Absolutely, there is hardly any better tire for sporty driving in this category than the Pilot Sport 4.
The combination of performance and handling characteristics is excellent. On the one hand, you have very high levels of grip and traction, enabling you to push your car more than you would with other types of tires. On the other hand, the handling is very precise, and you can place your car wherever you want with ease. A slight complaint is that I would have liked the feedback to be a bit more pronounced.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Warranty
I believe the greatest advantage the Pilot Sport 4 has over its competitors is the warranty. Unlike most tires in this category that come with no warranty, Michelin offers this tire with a 20,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Pricing: Is it worth the money?
Even though there are cheaper options, the Pilot Sport 4 is a tire that’s worth it. With prices starting at around $120, it’s definitely a premium tire, but considering what you’re getting, it’s worth it.
Should I buy the Michelin Pilot Sport 4?
As long as it’s within your budget, the Pilot Sport 4 is a tire that you should buy or at least consider.
On dry roads, there are almost no tires that can outperform it. The Pilot Sport 4 can deliver high levels of grip and traction, enabling you to have a lot of fun on a twisty road. I wouldn’t really recommend it for track usage as it won’t take much abuse. The handling is excellent, and the tire will change direction even with the slightest inputs from the steering wheel while providing you with acceptable levels of feedback.
In rainy conditions, the Pilot Sport 4 continues to be one of the best options as far as premium performance tires go. It can hook up to damp roads and minimize slip while keeping you in check in the corners. With the short braking distances, you also have a tire that has excellent stability in situations with heavy rain.
Refinement with the Pilot Sport 4 is acceptable, but that’s not why you’d get this tire. The levels of comfort are decent, and you’ll get an acceptably comfortable ride quality. Noise levels, on the other hand, may be a bit of a problem for some at higher speeds.
Longevity is also not a problem, and thanks to the 20,000-mile treadwear warranty, you have some assurance that the Pilot Sport 4 won’t start to wear down too quickly.
The price isn’t for everyone’s pocket, that’s for sure. It may not be the most expensive summer performance tire, but it’s well above the average. Considering the performance you get, I’d say that it’s worth getting it.
Overall, if comfort and low noise levels aren’t your priority, the Pilot Sport 4 is an excellent choice. With that said, for anything more extreme, there are other options from the Michelin lineup that can take a beating on a track.
What Vehicles Will the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 will fit:
- Acura TLX
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Audi A4, A6
- BMW 3, 5 Series
- Ford Focus ST
- Honda Civic Type R
- Mazda MX-5
- Mitsubishi Lancer
- Porsche 718, 911
- Subaru Impreza
- Toyota GT86, Corolla
- Volkswagen Golf, Passat
Tire Sizes for Michelin Pilot Sport 4
List of Michelin Tire Reviews