In 1889, the Michelin brothers encountered a cyclist needing a fix for his flat tire. After repairing the tire (a three-hour removal process, and a full night to dry), it failed after a few meters of a test run. However, the brothers found themselves invigorated at the concept of developing their own pneumatic tire and in May 1889, they incorporated the Michelin name.
Nearly 60 years later, Michelin forever changed the automotive industry with the introduction of the first ever radial tire. A design in which the rubber-coated steel, plies, that run perpendicular to the direction in which the wheel travels. This means the tire has more tread in contact with the road at all times, allowing for better grip, while wearing evenly for lasting durability.
Over 132 years later, Michelin has time and time again revolutionized the tire industry as it relates to safety, economy, and performance. From their epic history in motorsport, to their range of tires that are able to fit: cars, trucks, aircraft, and even a NASA space shuttle. Not to mention their most recent project: the airless tire, meant to debut on the moon in 2025.
As for Michelin’s contribution to the everyday driver? Well, their answer is the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. An excellent road handling, braking, and durable tire in wet and dry conditions. The PS4S is Michelin’s reminder that they not only invented the standard for all automotive tires, but perfected it. Let’s take a closer look at what is quite possibly, the best performance tire on the market.
Born Through Racing: The Pilot Sport 4S
Since the Michelin brother’s humble beginnings in cycling racing, competition has been the ethos of the tire manufacturer. Michelin premiered in motorsport as early as 1923, debuting as the tire provider for over 30 of the teams featured in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With success in MotoGP, Formula 1, endurance racing, and rallying, Michelin’s awards and accolades come by the barrel full. Through their commitment to motorsport, their success has allowed for progression in the world of light-duty tires for passenger vehicles.
For years, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport was the benchmark for performance summer tires, though it was criticized for its performance in wet conditions. Tried and true through its success in the Le Mans and Daytona endurance races, the Pilot Super Sport largely featured similar technology to the racing wheels they were modeled after.
Michelin once again reinvented the performance tire market with its unveiling of the Pilot Sport 4S. Chances are, you’ve come across the PS4S whether you realize it or not. Since its introduction, a handful of years ago, it’s been the go-to choice of tire for many, exotic and performance cars, and for good reason. Independent test results declared the Pilot Sport 4S first in dry lap times, wet lap times, dry braking, and wet braking when compared to its competitors. All while featuring 9% more tread than the previous Pilot Super Sport. Making it the perfect blend of performance when you need it, while remaining comfortable in everyday settings.
Technology That Makes The Pilot Sport 4s The Best
With its DNA rooted in racing, the PS4S has numerous features that have made it the first choice for drivers everywhere. First and foremost, is its durability. Before the Pilot Sport 4S, the idea of a long-lasting summer performance tire was an illusion of grandeur. But thanks to Michelin’s Dynamic Response Technology and multi-compound construction, the PS4S is capable of precise steering and cornering power while evenly dispersing grip in wet or dry conditions. This allows for a tire that not only performs when asked, but is durable enough for Michelin to offer one of the few warranties available for performance tires.
Its ultra-reactive tread patterns increase grip to provide impeccable control, highly-reactive steering feel, and improved stability that allows the Pilot Sport 4S to corner at impressive speeds. Michelin’s blend of Multi-Compound Technology delivers fantastic grip during acceleration in wet or dry conditions, while its functional elastomers and silica provide the wet and dry braking capabilities.
Thanks to these construction elements, Michelin has been able to keep the weight of the Pilot Sport 4S down, while its deep wheel protector guards still allow for its defense against wheel damage.
Sizing, Warranty, And Pricing
As its most popular performance tire, Michelin offers the PS4S in a barrage of sizes. With more and more performance vehicles shifting away from smaller wheels and into bigger sizes, the Pilot Sport 4S’ smallest wheel diameter is 17”, while stretching all the way to 23”. Each rim size offers dozens of options that all range in terms of overall width, height, and load and speed rating. Sure to cover everything from a B15 Nissan Sentra SE-R, to a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.
On top of performance, variety, and durability, Michelin also offers an astounding 30,000-mile limited warranty, in addition to its standard limited warranty. It’s pretty rare for a performance tire to be covered to the extent Michelin does its Pilot Sport 4S, but for the price you’ll end up spending on a new set, it’ll be worth its weight in gold compared to the warranty-less competition. Depending on sizing the PS4S can range from around $210 per tire for its most common variants, to an eye-watering $1,000 per tire in order to fit some of the massive wheels that exotic cars offer today.
Although it’s not as widely known amongst gear heads as much as it should be, quality tires with the correct setup, can be one of the best performance modifications money can buy. A lighter wheel, such as the Pilot Sport 4S, can make a car more agile because it has a better ability to change direction, which in turn, means the drivetrain doesn’t have to use as much power to turn the wheels. What does this mean, besides speed and power? Well a lighter wheel allows the car to perform more effectively, due to its slimmer weight. Thanks physics!
There’s a reason AMG and Ferrari have homologated Michelin’s star tire as their OEM equipment: it’s simply the best. Its solid warranty allows driver to breathe a little easier when forking over the stack of cash, and the giant smile they produce (as a result of their performance), will only make it easier.
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