Michelin Pilot Sport 5 vs Pirelli P Zero PZ4


Strap in for a deep comparison of high performance tires, the Michelin Pilot Sport 5 and the famous Pirelli P Zero PZ4. These two tire giants are known for their unparalleled performance. But which tire is a better fit for your needs? Let’s find out.

Michelin Pilot Sport 5

Quick Takeaway

The Michelin Pilot Sport 5 excels in:

  • Tread durability, due to its tough rubber formulation.
  • Dry handling, with its superior steering response.
  • Performance on wet surfaces, being a leader in hydroplaning resistance and offering exceptional performance on directional wet grip.

The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 shows strength in:

  • Longitudinal dry traction, excelling in dry braking and offering superior braking and acceleration performance.
  • Tread noise, with its design featuring smaller tread voids.
  • Fuel consumption, being marginally more fuel-efficient due to its more streamlined structure and shallower average tread depth.
  • Road vibrations, providing a smoother, more comfortable ride due to its softer tread rubber.

Tread Noise

Tire noise is significantly influenced by air particles. They basically flow, predominantly, through the shoulder grooves/lateral voids, and create “noise” upon colliding with the surrounding walls.

That’s why here, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 shines, as it’s shoulder area is fully packed up, so it restricts more air flow, relatively, killing noise at the source.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 5, with its larger lateral voids in shoulder lugs, tends to be noisier, on the other hand. Though it still not too far off, as it dampens down the in-groove resonance in a very nice way, thanks to its advanced pitch sequencing technology.

This tech allows for a variety of tones to be produced, dampening the overall noise. These variations are actually made by well engineered tread blocks, or in case of our tire, ribs, which individually vary from each other in geometry.

Nonetheless, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 wins this round.

Tread Life

Tread endurance and life, is largely contingent on three primary factors.

  • Rolling resistance.
  • Tread depth.
  • And tread composition.

That’s why tires with a more considerable tread depth wear down more slowly, while those constructed from more rigid materials can better withstand swift tread deterioration.

Now evaluating these parameters explains why, the Michelin Pilot Sport 5 is offers better performance overall here.

This tire’s tough rubber formulation is less susceptible to rapid wear, and its marginally deeper tread depth allows it to last longer before reaching the legal tread depth limit of 2/32″.

That’s why it confidently offers a 30k miles warranty, a feature not offered by Pirelli P Zero PZ4.

Thus, the Pilot Sport 5 takes the win in this department.

Dry Traction

To fully grasp these tires’ dry performance, we must analyze crucial features like traction, steering, and cornering abilities. Let’s delve into these essential characteristics.

Longitudinal Traction

Longitudinal traction, often referred to as dry grip, pertains to a tire’s capacity to adhere to of course, dry, and straight roads.

This is because its a directional metric, and that’s the very reason why its mostly calculated by stopping distances.

Now since its a directional metric, its explained by the central tread area.


Well because this part of the tread endures the most weight pressure, especially on highways when the tire moves straight.

And in this context, the Michelin Pilot Sport 5 performs better, showing relatively shorter braking distances, (on average), and earning recognition as a top-tier high-performance tire.

Unlike the Pirelli PZ4, this tire offers more contact area with the road, with relatively smaller longitudinal tread voids.

So Michelin is taking the lead here.

Dry Handling

Tire handling and lateral traction during cornering depend on the tread’s extremities, or shoulders, which bear the most weight pressure during turns, mostly because of inertia.

And here, the opposite happens, as the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 is taking the lead.

Sure, both tires also have similar rubber to road contact from shoulders, the PZ4 still offers faster handling due to it’s superior steering responsiveness.

It’s relatively harder sidewalls, and shoulders offer a smaller gap between under and oversteering, offering an optimal blend of rigidity and flexibility, ensuring the tire neither oversteers nor understeers excessively.

In contrast the lacking Michelin Pilot Sport 5 doesn’t quite match the same cornering dynamics.

Fuel Consumption

Rolling resistance and fuel efficiency have a direct correlation. Higher rolling resistance, primarily resulting from more significant weight and softer tread composition, results in more substantial fuel consumption.

The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 performs slightly better in this respect, offering a more streamlined structure and shallower average tread depth.

Moreover, its overall lighter structure also helps, as it requires less energy to roll, (because greater the weight, the more, the tire’s rubber would get pushed down, and the harder it would be to roll).

On the other hand, the Michelin Pilot Sport 5, with its larger tread voids towards the shoulders, leads to greater lug bending, as that, combined with this greater weight, its tread gets pushed down more, relatively.

So overall Pirelli offers better fuel mileage.

Performance on Wet Surfaces

Ideal wet performance in a tire should display a tread offering robust wet grip and resistance to hydroplaning, and both of these are fundamentally achieved through efficient water escaping capabilities.

Now here, I have rated both tires equally, because, while the P Zero PZ4 excels in wet handling, the Pilot Sport 5 boasts shorter braking distances, combined with superior resistance to hydroplaning.

The Michelin Sport 5 offers very powerful biters in the middle, which work in combination of wider tread voids to provide quicker stopping and accelerating abilities.

These wider grooves also offer exceptional performance on both straight and curved roads, provide amazing hydroplaning resistance.

On the other side, the PZ4, with it’s more aggressive biters on the shoulders offer superior wet handling.

Therefore, both tires perform equivalently in this area.

Road Vibrations

A tire’s ride smoothness is closely associated with its ability to absorb road imperfections. And here, tires with softer constructions typically provide a more comfortable driving experience, as they soak up road bumps with superior efficacy.

Among the two, Michelin Pilot Sport 5 struggles somewhat in this area due to its less flexible internal cap plies and comparatively harder overall tread compound.

The tire although offers superior steering response, and with it a firmer maneuverability, it’s harder tread compound can’t offer similar dampening of the bumps.

But before you go ahead and pick the other tire over it, know that this very rubber also offers greater tread life.

On the other side, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4, featuring a relatively softer tread rubber, effectively absorbs road vibrations, providing a smoother, more comfortable ride.

Take Home Points

In summary, both tires offer impressive dry performance, with the P Zero PZ4 edging ahead a bit, in dry braking, thanks to its full-depth sipes on the middle ribs, whereas its counterpart offers better handling.

On wet surfaces, the Pilot 5 offers better directional grip and resistance to hydroplaning, and PZ4 offers better handling.

Moreover, fuel economy is seen better on PZ4, so as the comfort.

Whereas the Pilot 5 gives you better tread life.

2 thoughts on “Michelin Pilot Sport 5 vs Pirelli P Zero PZ4”

  1. Does this mean that the PZ4s will have better grip and acceleration? I currently have PZ4s on my Model S Plaid. I’m down to about 3-4/32” on my tires after about 12,000 miles and need to get new ones soon. I was looking at the PS5s as there aren’t many options in the factory 19” size, but I’m concerned that with the harder compound, the PS5s will have more wheel slippage than the PZ4s when launching. Better cornering sounds better with the PS5s, but I don’t plan on tracking the car and the PZ4s are good enough for most freeway driving. I would prefer better straight line acceleration. Thanks.


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