Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review: Excellent but Costly

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  • Outstanding responsiveness and steering feel for a grand-touring tire
  • High levels of grip and traction on dry surfaces
  • Exceptional highway stability
  • Wet handling is among the best in the category
  • Short braking distances on wet surfaces
  • Super-plush ride quality
  • Supremely quiet on the road, even at very high speeds
  • Owners are generally satisfied with the treadlife of the Primacy MXM4
  • Very costly for such an old tire
  • The treadwear warranty is off the pace in the grand-touring category

The touring and grand-touring tire categories are by far the most popular on the market. That’s mostly thanks to the value these tires provide – they aren’t overly expensive, yet they offer outstanding treadlife and last for at least 4-5 years.

The thing that these tires aren’t known for is performance – they simply lack in the handling department. Michelin, being the most advanced tire manufacturer in the world, saw an opportunity here.

With the Primacy MXM4, the company wanted to give drivers of luxury and performance cars the long treadlife of a grand-touring tire, with the responsive and grippy handling of a high-performance tire.

And, for owners of these vehicles, that was great news, as the already available grand-touring tires on the market were also available in smaller sizes for “regular” passenger cars, even some compact city dwellers.

The thing is, the Primacy MXM4 is almost a decade old by now. Other premium tire manufacturers caught in terms of performance, while also offering more extended treadwear warranties lower prices.

Michelin lowered the price of the Primacy MXM4 recently to better cope with the competition, but the tire is still an expensive one.

That didn’t detract buyers much, though – the Primacy MXM4 is still sought-out by premium-car owners, who aren’t scared of paying more for a quality product. And, which Michelin tire isn’t expensive for that matter?

So, is the Primacy MXM4 worth the extra cost when compared to other grand-touring tires? That’s just the question I’m going to answer in this detailed Michelin Primacy MXM4 review. I’ll cover each aspect of the tire, including dry and wet traction, wintry performance, comfort levels, and treadlife.

Before we jump to my conclusions, though, let’s see what makes the Michelin Primacy so unique and why it costs so much.

Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review

According to Michelin, the Primacy MXM4 is a tire designed for premium precision handling, something that you don’t often hear in a statement for a grand-touring tire.

Moreover, Michelin states that the tire offers a quiet and comfortable ride, which is something that owners of premium vehicles indeed ask for.

Thanks to these qualities, the French manufacturer says that most premium carmakers still choose the Primacy MXM4 as the OEM tire of choice.

But what are the features that allow Michelin to be so confident about the Primacy MXM4? Well, it all starts with the patented sunflower oil-enriched Helio Compound, which despite the age of the tire, is still one of the most advanced in the category.

The all-season rubber compound is designed to work well in hot weather, but also to retain its excellent dry and wet traction in freezing conditions. Moreover, Michelin says that the tread compound also stays pliable over snowy and icy surfaces, which is vital for traction.

The Helio Compound is molded into an asymmetric tread pattern. According to Michelin, the tread pattern is designed with European roads in mind, which means that it should offer better handling on tight and twisty mountainous roads, but also excellent stability at higher speeds (German Autobahn).

More accurately, the tread features rounder shoulders that provide progressive and predictable cornering, something that you won’t often see in grand-touring tires.

Meanwhile, like most tires in the category, the Primacy MXM4 has four wide circumferential grooves for better hydroplaning resistance. These grooves then channel the water through the sipes with 3-D Variable Thickness Sipe Technology, which also improve wintertime traction through the biting edges.

In order to make the tire as comfortable as it can, Michelin utilized its Comfort Control Technology in the Primacy MXM4. This technology uses a combination of computer-optimized tread design and precision manufacturing methods to minimize road noise and vibration.

Michelin utilized its MaxTouch Construction on the tire as well. According to the company, this technology ensures even wear across the tread of the tire, while also retaining the biting edges needed for wet and snowy traction throughout the tire’s lifetime.

The internal construction of the Primacy MXM4 is standard for the category – it features twin steel belts reinforced by BAZ (Banded At Zero) spiral-wrapped polyamide cord, which ensures high-speed capability and enhanced tread wear. Meanwhile, the polyester cord body provides a plush ride quality.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Like any other Michelin tire, the Primacy MXM4 features the regular tread wear indicators (TWI’s). These indicators are crucial for safety because they show the driver how much tread depth is left for sufficiently-safe driving on wet and snowy surfaces.

As you probably already know, without sufficient tread depth, the tires won’t be able to channel water out of the tire, which hurts hydroplaning resistance. The minimum tread depth on the Primacy MXM4 is 2/32-inch, a point when you should immediately replace the tires. Otherwise, you’d risk severely worsened wet and snow traction, stability, and braking.

You can easily supervise the tread depth with the help of the TWI’s. These are narrow rubber inserts built into the circumferential grooves of the tire. When the tire is new, the indicators are well recessed into the grooves. However, as the tread wears down, the bars become more visible. The TWI’s become flush with the surface as soon as the tread depth reaches 2/32-inch.

If we can trust people that owned this tire for a while, that won’t happen soon. Owners report excellent treadlife, even on some more powerful vehicles.

That said, the treadwear warranties are far from impressive. Michelin provides a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty for H- and -V-Speed rated models, and a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty on W-, Y-, & Z-Speed rated models.

These numbers might sound good to you, but let me remind you that the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, for example, comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on all sizes.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review

Overall, the Primacy MXM4 is the best tire in its category in terms of handling and braking on dry surfaces. The performance focus of the engineers really paid-off.

Even from the get-go, the tire impresses with the responsive and direct nature, which reminds me of a high-performance tire.

Push the Primacy MXM4 through the corners, and it will quickly show a lot of character. The cornering grip is excellent for the category, and the handling feels light on the feet.

Moreover, the braking distances are still the shortest in the category, despite the age of the tire. Ultimately, the Primacy MXM4 provides drivers of more powerful cars with excellent traction for swift acceleration runs.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review

The Primacy MXM4 continues to impress in rainy conditions. The tread compound works miracles on damp roads, where it retains the excellent grip, traction, and braking.

Moreover, the tire performs outstandingly well in heavy rain. The hydroplaning resistance is exceptional, even over deep puddles of water. The traction is outstanding on these conditions, and the handling feels sure-footed.

Ultimately, the Primacy MXM4 provides the driver with strong stopping power on wet roads, beating almost any other premium competitor.

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

The Primacy MXM4 does feel soft and pliable in freezing conditions, which translates into good traction over snowy and icy surfaces.

However, some more modern competitors have slightly more aggressive tread patterns with zig-zag sipes, which provide more biting edges for driving over snow.

So, overall, the MXM4 is suitable for driving in wintry conditions, but here it’s not class-leading. Also, keep in mind that the Primacy won’t replace a proper winter tire in very harsh wintry conditions.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

The Primacy MXM4 wasn’t designed and isn’t intended for off-road driving. Sure, you can cover a few feet of hardpacked roads here and there, but you should avoid driving for long stints. Not only the tire won’t provide you with reliable traction, but it can also be easily damaged.

Is it comfortable and refined?

Not that I expected less from a premium grand-touring tire, but the Primacy MXM4 really impressed me in this category. The tire produces almost no noise, even at highway speeds, and provides passengers with super-smooth ride quality and lack of road vibrations.

Should I buy the Michelin Primacy MXM4?

Well, if you own a premium sedan or coupe, you should definitely put the Primacy MXM4 on your shortlist. Michelin’s grand-touring tire possesses the best handling in the category, both over dry and wet surfaces, and it is also supremely quiet and comfortable.

That said, if you own a more down-to-earth vehicle, such as some mid-size sedans, you should consider other grand-touring tires. The Continental PureContact LS first comes to mind with its balanced performance, but the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack also impresses with the exceptional treadlife.

Also, the Premier A/S, a newer tire in Michelin’s range, is another enticing option that ticks most boxes and has a longer treadwear warranty.

Still, no other tire can beat the Primacy MXM4 in outright performance, which is why it deserves a highly-recommended status.

You can see more Michelin Primacy MXM4 Review here: Video created by HILLYARD’S RIM LIONS

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