Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 vs Michelin Pilot Sport AS4

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The Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 and the Michelin Pilot Sport AS4, both classified as ultra-high performance tires, represent excellent choices for individuals seeking to optimize their all-season driving experience. Designed to deliver exceptional dry and wet traction, these tires perform admirably in various conditions, including light snow. Let’s check out these tires in greater details.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 on Mustang
Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 on Mustang.

Main Highlights

So overall, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 excels in:

  • Linear Grip: Due to its continuous, streamlined ribs and effective tread design.
  • Overall Handling: Excelling in all phases of cornering with better braking, mid-corner feedback, and corner-exiting performance.
  • Wet Performance: Standing out in wet braking and handling.

On the flip side, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 takes the lead in:

  • Overall Comfort: Providing a quieter, and less bumpier ride.
  • Resistance to Hydroplaning: Offering effective water expulsion with its interconnected grooves.
  • Tread Life: Providing a rubber composition, which disperses heat, better.

Tread Features

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4. Like its rival, it sports an asymmetric tread pattern with five main ribs. However, there are a few key differences worth mentioning.

Michelin Pilot Sport AS4
Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 features continuous running ribs in the middle, unlike Zeon.

The middle of the tire is made up of three central ribs, creating four channels around the circumference.

Unlike the Cooper, though, these ribs aren’t connected laterally (well except for the middle-most one).

Now, each of the ribs have unique features, the middle one comes with lateral in-groove notches and aligned siping, while the ones next to it have similar notches but vary in siping patterns.

Here, one has V-shaped sipes and the other, circular ones, as you can see form its tread image.

The shoulder lugs on each side are a world apart, though they only vary slightly.

One side combines zigzag lateral grooves with circular siping, while the other side is a mix of lateral and longitudinal siping, topped off with snow vices.

Now, onto the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1. This tire features a relatively less refined, yet similar asymmetric tread pattern with five distinct ribs or block columns.

Cooper Zeon RS3 G1
The central most rib on Cooper Zeon has chamfered edges.

Starting at the edges, the outer two shoulder ribs have unique lug patterns on each side.

Here, one side comes with larger, simpler lugs (with minimal tread features), while the other has slightly more densely packed blocks, with linear sipes and interlocking lateral voids. This design enhances traction and stability.

Moving towards the middle, here the central-most rib is the slimmest of them all, and is decorated with a mix of linear and curving sipes and unique biters facing outwards.

Flanking this, the adjacent ribs on each side are distinctly different.

One side sports “S-shaped” blocks with linear sipes and notches, while the other features “C-shaped” blocks with outward-facing notches for better grip.

These ribs also connect to the outer circumferential grooves through lateral voids, completing this sophisticated design.

Note to my fellow drivers: My all-season tire page is where your journey to the ultimate tire fit begins.

Info on Sizes

The Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 comes in 16 to 20 inches rims, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10.5/32″ (with 2 sizes also seen with 10/32″ only).
  • Weight: 22 to 35 lbs, (with 205/55R16 being the lightest, and 275/40R20, the heaviest).
  • UTQG: 500 AA A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • The internal construction of the tire consists of a two-ply polyester casing, (with high-stiffness bead fillers), twin steel belts and a single ply spirally wound, nylon wrap.

Review Zeon RS3 G1 tire here:

The Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 comes in 16 to 22 inches wheels. These sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: Y on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 19 to 35 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 540 AA A.
  • Internally, this tire is fortified with a two-ply polyester casing, accompanied by two steel belts and a nylon cap ply.

Review Michelin PSAS4 here:

Fuel Economy

Let’s start off with fuel efficiency in tires, which gets largely influenced by rolling resistance.

Now, here out of both tires, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 faces some challenges, due to its relatively greater weight, and tread depth, increasing rolling friction, and with it fuel consumption.

On the other side, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 (PSAS4) stands out as a more fuel-efficient option, where its design includes a rounded contact patch, allowing for a more even distribution of the tire’s weight.

This design means less stress on each lug and more rubber in contact with the road, which helps in reducing rolling resistance and thereby improving fuel efficiency.

Winter Traction

Both boys here, claim to be top-notch all-season tires for winter performance, but they don’t have the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification.

This badge is a big deal. Why? Well, read this:

Now, even without this certification, both tires are pretty solid, yet, the Michelin Season 4 stands out here overall, as it nails all three crucial winter performance factors: braking, acceleration, and cornering.

Though most standout feature of this tire is its ability to maintain higher speeds in turns, which speaks volumes about its lateral traction and steering responsiveness.

On the other hand, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1, while not quite up to the Michelin’s winter performance, has some appreciable qualities as well.

The tire’s most notable features is its light snow traction, thanks to its S and C shaped lugs providing loads of biting edges. These biters, or in-groove notches are basically great for trapping snow, which is crucial since snow sticks better to itself than to rubber.

Side Note: If you’re looking for something even more winter-ready in the high-performance category, you might want to check out the Nokian WRG4, review it here:

Comfort Performance

In the realm of comfort performance, evaluating both noise dampening and vibration comfort is key.

Starting with noise dampening, the Michelin has a bit of an issue with emitting multiple tones. I mean these aren’t extremely loud but are noticeable enough to add to its overall decibel readings in tests.

On the flip side, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1, while not the quietest tire in its Ultra High Performance All-Season (UHPAS) category, fares pretty well, especially compared to the Michelin here.

My subjective evaluations noted varied tones on different surfaces and a light, continuous growl at slower speeds, which tends to blend into the background as you speed up.

Though what really stood out for Cooper, is its impact comfort performance, where it gets one of the highest scores in its UHPAS category based on my evaluations.

The tire showed excellent performance in handling both large impacts and smaller bumps, effectively softening the larger impacts and absorbing the smaller ones better than others in its class.

On the other side, the Michelin PSAS4, while slightly stiffer, isn’t far behind. This stiffness contributes to its sporty feel, especially noticeable in turns and stability.

Side Note: If you need a little more comfortable ride (staying in UHPAS), you should check out General G MAX 07 (review).

Dry-Road Performance

For dry performance, the focus is on three primary areas: dry grip, handling, and steering response. Let me break down each of these areas step by step.

Linear Grip

Linear or longitudinal grip refers to how well a tire can maintain traction in a straight line, primarily assessed through its braking performance. This kind of grip is largely influenced by the design of the tire’s center tread.

In this context, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 really shines. As we’ve seen in the tread design section, it features three continuous, streamlined ribs that maintain consistent road contact.

This uniformity, along with its V-shaped biters and notches, significantly boosts its braking capabilities.

Comparatively, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1, while designed for efficient longitudinal movement, falls a bit short.

Its design, featuring S and C shaped lugs and a narrower central rib (also discussed earlier in the tread design section), results in less rubber contacting the road.

This reduction in contact area impacts its directional grip and stability, making it less effective in this regard than the Michelin PSAS 4, as seen by its a feet longer braking distances on averaged test results.

Side Note: Even though they are UHPAS tires, they still can’t outperform summer. See why in all-season vs summer vs winter tires.

Overall Handling

Cornering can be broken down into three distinct phases: the entry phase, mid-cornering, and the exit phase.

  • In the entry phase, tires need effective braking and downshifting to enter the corner smoothly without slipping.
  • The mid-cornering phase demands precise steering feedback.
  • Finally, the exit phase involves the vehicle straightening up and acceleration being reintroduced.

Now, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 excels in all these stages. As previously discussed, it offers superior braking capabilities, with its more composed design, which allows it to enter the corners faster.

And thanks to a shallower tread depth and lighter design, its also able to deliver better mid-corner feedback, providing a clear sense of the grip available. So it takes the lead in other two phases too.

In contrast, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 doesn’t quite keep up with the Michelin’s dynamic performance, as seen by its lacking handling. It typically took a 0.7 second longer on average to complete laps on my conducted tests.

The main issue with this tire is its sluggish on-center feel, which particularly impacts its corner-exiting performance.

I mean you need to be a bit cautious about when to push the pedal, post cornering, as you don’t get that sharp, clear feedback you want when you’re ready to zoom off again.

Wet-Road Performance

Wet performance is critically dependent on the tire’s proficiency in expelling water from its tread, specifically in terms of traction and hydroplaning resistance. We’ll look at each of these factors.

Wet Grip and Handling

While tire grooves expel most of the water, the residual water is managed by sipes, which are small slits in the tire tread expand and contract, creating a suction effect that helps absorb residual water particles.

Having said that, the Cooper Zeon RS3 G1 lacks here, comparatively. Despite having ample siping and biters that provide decent lateral grip, its overall handling lags behind. This is evident from my conducted lap test results, where it came out 2 seconds slower than Michelin PSAS 4.

A key issue with the Cooper tire is its somewhat sluggish steering response. I mean just like the dry, its wet handling gives you a less assertive on-center feel.

On the other hand, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 is the best in wet braking, out of all the top ultra high performance tires that I’ve reviewed so far.

Moreover, it also provides you with relatively better steering response, particularly noticeable in mid-cornering feedback, contributing to a more connected and confident driving experience.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning resistance is all about how well a tire can shove water out of its tread, mainly through the grooves. This is super important because if water gets trapped between the tire and the road, the tires can lose grip and start “floating” on the water layer, which is pretty risky.

That’s why tires are designed with these grooves specifically to make sure water gets pushed out quickly and efficiently, enhancing float speeds (or how fast a tire can roll over a few millimeter of water covered roads).

Now, when it comes to the Cooper RS3 G1, it’s got a more effective setup with its central circumferential grooves interconnected with each other.

And that combined with its relatively greater tread depth, Zeon’s able to take out more water, through its voids, whereas, on Michelin PSAS4 with unbroken ribs, you don’t get the similar performance.

Take Home Points

Upon summarizing, it’s clear that both tires have their strengths and weaknesses.

The Michelin PSAS4 emerges as a more fuel-efficient option, largely due to its design that reduces rolling resistance, though lacks to its counterpart in terms of tread longevity, even though you get similar 45k miles treadwear warranties, on both.

Moreover, the tire although excels in wet performance, it lacks in terms of hydroplaning resistance, compared to Cooper.

The Cooper Zeon, particularly excels in terms of road comfort, providing you with relatively quieter ride, and performance in terms of bumps absorption.

Though the tire lacks to its counterpart, in terms of winter performance, even though both tires lack the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification.

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