Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ Review: Ultra-High-Performance All-Season Tires

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  • Exceptionally responsive and positive steering feel
  • The tire communicates well with the driver and returns a lot of information from the road
  • Excellent cornering grip for an all-season tread compound
  • Outstanding straight-line tracking and high-speed stability
  • A top performer on wet roads – traction and braking are excellent
  • Surprisingly good over light snow, relative for the category
  • Good treadlife and long treadwear warranty
  • The ride feels firm, especially over larger potholes
  • There is a noticeable tread growl at higher speeds, especially on coarse surfaces
  • Very expensive

The idea of ultra-high-performance all-season tires revolts real car enthusiasts. That’s because these tires have never and probably will never produce the highest level of grip and traction on dry surfaces.

However, should you care about that? For daily driving, the modern crop of performance all-season tires works tremendously well, even in the corners. Also, you get at least some snow traction as a bonus. And one of the best examples in this category is certainly the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+.

The French company has always been at the forefront of the performance categories. That’s because the oldest tire company develops its products in the most popular racing series around the world, including Formula 1. And, who doesn’t want F1 technology on his/her vehicle?

Like most Michelin tires, though, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is also expensive. But, as always, you do get premium-level performance. There is simply no budget-friendly tire that can touch the Michelin in most categories.

The question is – how does the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ compare to other premium tires? Well, since this is an all-season tire, there are a few categories to cover before we get to the final answer.

To beat the competition, the tire needs to perform great in a variety of conditions, including dry and wet pavement, snow-covered roads, comfort, and durability. These will be precisely the things I’ll cover in my review, accompanied by a detailed analysis of the performance.

Before we do that, though, let’s see what features Michelin utilized in the Pilot Sport A/S 3+.

According to Michelin, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is a tire that provides ultimate dry and wet grip and winter confidence. To achieve those things, the company utilized its advanced Helio+ Technology. Part of that technology is the Extreme Silica Technology tread compound with sunflower oil, which increases traction at lower temperatures and on wet roads.

The engineers molded the tread into a performance-oriented tread design with an aggressive asymmetric pattern. The tread includes rigid blocks on the outboard shoulders, which increase the lateral grip and dry cornering capabilities of the tire. On the inside, the tire features four wide circumferential grooves, which resist hydroplaning and increase traction on wet surfaces.

To evenly spread the contact patch across the tire, Michelin also utilized its Variable Contact Patch 3.0 technology. They borrowed this tech from their endurance racing designs, and it should make the tire more durable, even when driven hard.

Ultimately, the internal construction is pretty standard for the category. It includes two high-tensile lightweight steel cords, reinforced with spirally-wrapped polyamide cord for more predictable handling, high-speed capability, and increased ride comfort.

The French tiremaker offers the tire in many popular sizes, ranging from 16-inch wheel diameter to 22-inch diameter. With those dimensions, Michelin covers many vehicles, including sports compact cars, sports sedans, sports coupes, high-end sports cars, and muscle cars. Also, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ might be a good option if you want to put larger wheels and pair them with lower-sidewall tires.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Michelin Pilot Sport AS 3+ Review

For monitoring tread depth, Michelin utilized the industry-standard tread wear indicators (TWI’s) on the Pilot Sport A/S 3+. These can only show you when the tread is fully worn out, but not precisely how much tread you have left. Some manufacturers, like Continental, include easier-to-read indicators, which can show you the tread depth in a more detailed manner.

The TWI’s are narrow rubber bars, which sit recessed into the circumferential grooves of the tire. As your tread wears down, these bars become more visible. And, when the tread depth falls to 2/32-inch, the bars will be completely flush with the surface. That’s when you need to replace your tires immediately. Otherwise, you risk driving with non-existent wet- and -snow traction. Moreover, driving with shallower tread than 2/32-inch is against the law in many states.

Fortunately, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ has a long treadlife for a performance tire. It isn’t as durable as the Continental DWS06 and the Bridgestone RE980AS, but the differences aren’t very big. You should still get at least three years from this tire easily. Also, Michelin provides a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is good for the category.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

Michelin Pilot Sport AS 3+ Review

The steering response is outstanding. The tires immediately react to the driver’s input, showcasing the performance aspect of the tire. In this regard, it’s among the best ultra-high-performance all-season tires out there.

Moreover, the tire communicates with the driver exceptionally well. At the limit, you will instantly know which tire loses traction through the steering wheel.

And, unlike many other ultra-high-performance all-season tires, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ provides high levels of traction and grip. In some regards, it feels almost like a summer performance tire. It possesses positive steering, excellent traction and grip, and outstanding high-speed stability.

Besides, the Michelin will have you covered even if you do track duties. Sure, a summer tread compound will work better there, but as far as all-season tires go, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is exceptional.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

The Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is among the best tires for rainy conditions. On wet pavement, it continues to feel positively responsive and eager to turn. That eagerness is accompanied by outstanding traction and exceptional hydroplaning resistance.

Moreover, the tires feel very balanced on wet roads – no understeer or oversteer. In other words, you will feel completely safe behind the steering wheel, even when pushing your car to the limit. Ultimately, the braking distances in the rain are among the shortest in the category.

Overall, I must say that this is one of the best tires I’ve driven on wet pavement. It accelerates without an issue, handles sweetly in the corners, and stops like few other tires.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

I would never recommend an ultra-high-performance all-season tire for serious winter driving, and the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ didn’t change that. However, it’s pretty good relative to other tires in the category. Namely, Michelin made improvements on that front and claims 28% improved snow traction when compared to the previous Pilot Sport A/S 3.

I was actually surprised at the amount of performance on snow. Longitudinal traction in light snow is very good, and the tire even handles well in the corners. The stopping distances are also pretty good for the class.

That said, you will still need a proper set of winter tires if you live in areas with harsh wintry conditions. You should only use the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ over snow in a pinch, not daily. That’s especially true if the roads get covered with ice, where this tire doesn’t work overly well.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

The Pilot Sport A/S 3+ isn’t designed with off-roading in mind, even though you some sizes fit crossovers. First of all, the tire doesn’t have enough tread to provide you with usable traction, especially on wet terrains.

Also, the tread compound of the tire isn’t resistant to cuts and chips from rocks. In other words, prolonged driving on hardpacked surfaces can damage the tread of the tires. Besides, sharp rocks can easily puncture through the softer rubber.

Is it comfortable and refined?

While the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ feels great behind the steering wheel, that responsiveness takes away from the comfort. The ride on these tires is firm – there is no getting around that. Now, that’s expected from ultra-high-performance tires, but still, you can find a more comfortable drive elsewhere.

On top of that, the Michelin won’t win any awards with its noise performance. The tires aren’t overly intrusive, but there is still a noticeable tread growl on coarse surfaces. In this regard, at least, most of the competitors are close in terms of noise.

You can see more Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ Review here: Video created by DailySquad

Should I buy the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+?

At this moment, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is one of the best ultra-high-performance all-season tires overall. That’s especially true if you care about performance and driving enjoyment.

Namely, Michelin did a great job making the tire perform outstandingly well in various conditions. Handling on dry roads is best-in-class, and it continues to be exceptional on wet pavement. Moreover, the French engineers did a great job improving the snow traction, which is very good for the category.

Still, the harsh ride and noticeable tread growl might deter some buyers. Also, the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ can be expensive for most people.

Despite all that, you’re buying an ultra-high-performance tire for the performance part. And, Michelin’s competitor is one of the best, if not the best performance-oriented all-season tire out there. It easily receives my highly-recommended rating.

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