REVIEW: Michelin Pilot Sport 4
We develop our products to work effectively with all the OE parts and tyre choice plays a major role in that regard. This is an initial review with the latest Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (MPS4) in the first 150 miles after being fitted new.
The MPS4 replaced our MPSS fitted in 2015 that had replaced the second set of MPS2 – both in 255/35/19 XL 96Y fitment. The first set of MPS2 were in fact 275/35/18 fitment, replacing the stock Pirelli P Zero 245/45/18 tyres delivered with the car in 2009 and only lasted 8,000 miles with several track sessions also. The MPS2 lasted over 20,000 miles seeing several track sessions and had served us well.
MPSS also lasted over 20,000 miles with several wet / dry track sessions and we would have gone for another set however these proved difficult to source in the size required of 255/35/19 XL 96Y. There was plenty of stock of the MPS4 in the 255/35/19 96Y size required. So the option came down to MPS4, which we had not read much about and so this was a leap of faith in a way.
Our Development Audi TT-RS MK2 is a great test bed for us used for a variety of new product development and testing as well as evaluating new changes made to the vehicle in regards to road handling or comfort. At any one time, we have some sort of a test product being evaluated post development and as such it is easy for us to determine if a new change has been positive or compromised the current setup.
MPSS FINAL DRIVE
We had driven the 50 miles on a wet dull looking British morning to the shop using the motorway so was looking forward to the journey back on B-roads. The car felt good as always on the way there…planted; sure-footed though as the tyres were getting close to end of life the ride had got firmer – which is to be expected.
DAY1: VISUALS (fitted 24th Dec 2016)
First impression walking up to the car after the new tyre fitment is the smell of these new MPS4, no, we do not have a fetish for the smell of new tyres however these MPS4 had a pleasant smell to them and more so than I remember any new tyres prior. These certainly grabbed our attention for sure and added to that the thread pattern looked like they could go to work…if you know what we mean – similar to the MPSS and aggressive shoulders gives a clue of what these tyres are intended to do on open roads. These may be minor details however that is the sort of things we look out for on new changes as we step in to product development/evaluating. So, before we even got in to the car the tyres had already impressed visually and in scent – great start.
Second impression of MPS4 after driving all of 500 meters to a set of light is the ride comfort…gone were the sharp edges of the old MPSS replaced with a softer cushioned ride – which is welcomed as we have our track kit, MSS Track Pack, fitted to the vehicle however sporting a much stiffer rear Black test spring which will remain under wraps for now.
Cabin noise level was perceptibly less now – again new tyres and yet to go through repeated heat cycle so that was expected.
What we did not expect however was wet road grip on new tyres – MPSS definitely required a good 500 miles to scrub off new tyre surface before they felt assured. MPS4, if you like, felt pre-scrubbed and already warmed up ready to use. Where we expected to usually take it easy for the best part of 50 miles on past tyres changeover on nice dry days, MPS4 were happy and ready to work on wet roads at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. Now, that is impressive and shows the advance in tyre technology 5-years form when MPSS was released.
The fact that we could hit the wet British B-roads at the 60MPH limit on fresh tyres with surefooted handling made it easier to be a little bit more liberal with the throttle. Grip in the wet marks MPS4 as one for those wet track days.
DAY2: TYRE PRESSURES CHECK
Next day, we checked cold tyre pressures and these were 4PSI higher than the Audi recommendation of 32PSI fronts and 26PSI rears – again looking back to the first 50 miles drive and now knowing that the pressures were this high on a wet road impressed us further. Reset these to what we prefer for our performance springs kits thus 30PSI fronts and 27PSI rears and suddenly MPS4 is giving away some of its secrets on wet roads. More stable; even further improvements in ride comfort; still works from cold.
WET / DRY TARMAC DRIVE
Few days later we decided to test these tyres out driving late in to the evening on a mostly dry tarmac. MPS4 felt grippy and on full throttle application gets the rears digging deep in to the tarmac. The only ‘criticism’ now is that the softer riding means we either increase rear tyre pressures to get a firmer ride which we like for spirited driving or engage the firmer suspension mode. In fact , we will be upgrading to MSS ‘LS‘ – our firmest solution usually kept for track days however with MPS4 riding this comfortable, we suspect this is a change that may well be suited for road use so perhaps we can leave MSS ‘LS‘ in place all year round…superb!
We make changes to our Development TT-RS regularly and have grown used to new changes always being a compromise from Day1 until we flush out issues getting new changes in to shape and that has been the case since 2009. We cannot recall a time when a new change has been this good on all surfaces – MPS4 has impressed us in the short time we have had it fitted and we salute Michelin with yet another ‘under the radar’ product.
More to follow over the coming weeks and hope you comeback for the next chapter.
William | Owner | MSSKITS.COM