Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ vs Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4

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The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ and the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 are both top-tier in their category, so its best if I dissect each tire’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you determine which would meet your driving needs and conditions best.

Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+

Being a tire engineer, I can tell you that the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ offers better wet and winter performance overall. Moreover, its tread longevity and comfort is also more appreciable. On the other side, the Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 shines in dry conditions, offers better fuel economy and is quieter off the two.

Info on Sizes

The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ comes with 16 to 20 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 24 to 38 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 500 AA A.

On the other side, Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 comes in 16 to 22 inches wheels, and they come with the following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: Y on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 19 to 32 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 540 AA A.

Tread Design

Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS features an asymmetric tread design with a lot more tread features.

Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS
Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS comes with more prominent snow vices.

Let’s start from its shoulder lugs.

So these are proper blocks with linear lateral grooves (though all lugs are sitting on a secondary rubber layer underneath).

They have a combination of thick and narrow siping slits, and then they have snow-vices facing the middle (the sharp zigzag teeth you see).

Both of these features are actually really helping when it comes to winter performance.

These snow vices are also seen on the central most rib. Though instead of linear siping (as seen on shoulders), here you get a wave-like pattern.

Which is also true for surrounding ribs as well.

Also note how these ribs are continuous running, meaning all lugs are joined up with each other longitudinally.

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 on the other side, although also comes with an asymmetric tread design, things are very “different” here.

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4
Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 has a more “asymmetric” design, if it makes sense.

I mean consider its shoulder blocks on either sides. See how they get to have such varying tread features on them.

Where on one side, you get zigzag lateral grooves, and a combination of linear and circular siping, and on the other you get a lateral + longitudinal siping and snow vices.

The central 3 ribs forming 4 circumferential channels are also very different, where you see a lot of different in-groove notches and siping.

With so many multi-directional siping, the tire basically tires to hit all angles, gripping wise, especially when it comes to wet roads.

Performance on Wet Surfaces

Wet performance is highly dependent on how well a tire removes water from its tread.

This is because water is in-compressible, and has to leave out, otherwise (in extreme situations), a layer of water would come in between the tread and the surface and tire would start to float (which is by definition, hydroplaning).

But how tires clear off water? Well, they do it by sipes and grooves.

Grooves throw out water in bulk and contribute directly to hydroplaning resistance, and here both tires do great with neck to neck float speeds (on average, that is).

I mean you can’t really put one over the other here. Moreover, you also get mixed bag of results when analyzing their grip too.

I mean the the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS is better at wet handling showing up with larger lateral g forces, while the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is better at directional grip, stopping almost a whole feet quicker, comparatively (on average).

Winter Performance

Winter performance is categorized in to 3 sections.

  • Snow braking.
  • Handling.
  • And acceleration.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The Michelin PSAS4? Great at snow braking and a bit better at handling. But the Potenza RE980AS+? That one’s a champ at ice braking, and provides superior acceleration on snow.

But hey, let’s keep it simple: If you’re dealing with icy roads, Bridgestone’s tire is your go-to. However, if it’s snowy paths, the Pilot Sport AS4 is your friend.

The Michelin basically offers a lot more notches in its construction, combined with thicker multi-directional siping slits in comparison, and all of these features are able to generate a better snow to snow contact.

Why’s that good? Well, because snowflakes love clinging to each other, so when snow grips snow, you get way more friction than rubber gripping snow.

Well, basically snowflakes having an interlocking design really like to adhere to each other, allowing snow to snow contact to generate far more friction, compared to rubber to snow contact.

On the flip side, the Potenza RE980 has these super aggressive snow vices and a siped-up tread pattern, kind of like winter tires. This gives it an edge in clinging to slick surfaces, balancing both lateral and longitudinal traction.

In the end, both these tires are solid choices, especially if you’re worried about winter driving.

Just a heads-up, though, neither of them have the 3 peak mountain snowflake rating, which is pretty rare in UHPAS tires.

Well, except for the Nokian WRG4, of course, and that’s why it’s on my top list for ultra-high performance all-season tires. You can review that tire here:

Fuel Consumption

Fuel usage is closely related to how much resistance a tire faces while rolling. So yes, you can say, the more the grip, the greater the friction, where some contributing factors are the tire’s weight, and rubber composition.

Now out of both tires, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 performs slightly better when it comes to saving fuel.

This is because this tire has:

  • Lighter overall construction.
  • Stiffer rubber composition.

Both of these factors, basically keep the tire’s lugs from excessively bending, keeping rolling resistance at bay, improving tire’s overall fuel economy.

Tread Life

The tread life depends on the tread depth, composition, structural weight, and overall rolling resistance of a tire.

And here both tires perform almost similarly.

Though if you still have to pick one tire here, you should know, that the Michelin PASAS4 provides you with slightly better results (on a few sizes).

This is because the tire has lighter construction, and a relatively more composed up tread design.

This means that less weight rests on a slightly greater rubber area, putting less weight pressure on each of the lugs, as they rub against the road, improving tread longevity slightly.

So even though you get 5k miles greater treadwear warranty on Potenza, you still get more miles out of the PSAS4’s tread.

For Your Info: Among the many ultra-high performance all-season tires I’ve analyzed, the Yokohama ADVAN Sport A/S+ stands out for its exceptional tread longevity. Discover more, in my list of top UHPAS tires here:

Road Comfort Assessment

When we talk about how comfortable a tire is, we look at how much noise it makes, how smooth the ride is, and how well it absorbs shocks from the road.

Let’s discuss these aspects in simple terms in the next two parts.

Tire Noise Generation

It is important to note that the design of the tread affects how much noise it makes while moving. And this happens because of air particles hitting the surface of the tire.

Air predominately enters the tread through shoulder voids, and their collision with the tread creates the primary noise, which then echos with the walls, creating in-groove resonance (basically amplifying the noise further).

Now in both these cases, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is quieter because it has smaller gaps in the tread, mostly shoulders, which means less noise is generated in the first place.

And with its advanced pitch sequencing tech, the in-groove resonance is also minimized.

The Potenza on the other hand, emits a lot of noise mainly in the form of growling, which makes sense, given its winter tire like heavily siped up tread design.

Vibrations Absorption

When evaluating the ride smoothness of a tire, it is imperative to focus on how it can deal with inconsistencies and rough patches on the road.

This proficiency, in large part, stems from the design and the materials used both internally and externally in the construction of the tire.

In this context, with a thermally adaptive rubber of Bridgestone Potenza (which basically aims for winter traction), you get a more seamless ride, in comparison.

For Your Info: The Vredestein Hypertrac All Season offers the best combination of overall noise/ride quality comfort. Review the tire here:

Dry Traction

To properly analyze dry performance, we need to closely examine aspects like traction, steering, and cornering abilities.

Let’s check them out.

Dry Grip

In the tire industry, the term dry grip is used to describe a tire’s competence in maintaining a straight line grip, and its mostly measured with braking efficacy.

And during straight rolling, as tires have most of the weight concentration is the middle, it makes sense why central lugs are so significant here.

In light of this, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 emerges better showcasing remarkable performance in dry braking, where it stops almost 1.5 feet shorter on average, in comparison.

Conversely, the Bridgestone faces a slight drawback owing to its larger tread voids, and smaller average section width, which slightly lessen the amount of rubber that comes into contact with the road.

Dry Handling

Dry handling, depends on shoulders. To be more specific, how well shoulders connect with the road.

So in order to achieve good enough handling, shoulders should have a decent rubber to road connection, and two, they should keep flexing to a minimum.

That’s why out of both tires, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is taking the lead here, as it does exactly that.

Meaning, you get greater contact patch here, and with lighter weight, its lugs aren’t susceptible to a lot of flexing, so you get superior steering responsiveness, exhibiting a finely-tuned balance between under-steering and over-steering.

But wait why flexing of the lugs matter here?

Well simply put, with lugs bending, they waste time into recovering back from their slightly deformations, and that time is translated in to the delay between steering inputs, and wheels’ feedback.

For Your Info: The Pireli P Zero AS tops my list of ultra-high performance all-season tires, excelling notably in overall handling. Review the tire here:

To Conclude

In conclusion, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 seems to have a slight edge in several critical areas.

Its performance in dry, and wet conditions is noticeably superior, attributed largely to its enhanced rubber to road contact, hydroplaning resistance and numerous sipes. Additionally, it promises a quieter and smoother ride, making significant strides in terms of road noise reduction and vibration absorption.

On the flip side, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ does not fall far behind, particularly showcasing its merits in winter, and impact comfort performance.

Moreover, its also offers better tread life, though it by a very close margin.

And yes, it also holds its ground decently in aspects of wet grip and fuel economy.

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