Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 vs Primacy MXM4

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Out of both boys here, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 comes in the ultra high performance all-season category, while the Primacy MXM4 is high performance grand touring tire. Let’s dive in, and see which out of them is a better fit for you.

Buick Envista
Primacy MXM4 testing on Buick Envista

Main Highlights

So overall, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 is better at:

  • Winter Traction: Its design with interlocking lugs and snow-vices provides superior grip in snow.
  • Dry-Road Performance: Offers exceptional linear grip, handling, and steering response.
  • Wet-Road Handling: Excels in wet grip and braking, outperforming in lap tests with impressive mid-corner feedback, particularly.

Whereas the Michelin Primacy MXM4 is better at:

  • Tread Lifespan: Thanks to its stiffer rubber compound and lower rolling resistance.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: With its superior design of circumferential grooves.
  • Driving Comfort: Provides a quieter ride and better vibration management.

Info on Sizes

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.
  • Internal Construction: Two-ply polyester casing, two steel belts and a nylon cap ply.

Review this tire in greater details: https://tiredriver.com/michelin-pilot-sport-all-season-4-review/

On the other side, the Michelin Primary MXM4 comes with 43 total sizes in 17 to 20 inches, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H, V, W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 9.5 to 10/32″.
  • Weight range: 21.5 to 30 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles for H and V speed ratings, and 45k for W and Y.
  • UTQG rating: 500 AA A (some also have 420 A A).

Side Note: It’s important not to mix up MXM4 with its T1 version, as the latter is specially approved by Tesla. The “T” in T1 represents its Tesla homologation, and the “1” shows it’s a first revision. These tires have undergone thorough testing to ensure they align with Tesla’s prescribed standards.

Winter Traction

Regarding winter traction, both tires perform above average, despite not having the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification.

This certification signifies a tire’s capability in severe snow conditions, usually translating to about a 10% improvement in snow acceleration over standard all-season tires lacking this certification. I talked it more here: https://tiredriver.com/3pmsf-and-ms-ratings/

But diving deeper, my testing show that the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 still takes the lead overall.

Michelin PSAS4
Michelin PSAS4

Why? Well because its design features central interlocking lugs and multiple edges that bite into the snow, including snow-vices (those sharp saw-toothed edges of the ribs).

These design elements are basically crucial for capturing and retaining snow particles, thereby enhancing traction through the principle of snow adhering more effectively to itself than to rubber.

On the flip side, although the Primacy MXM4’s design offers pretty strong biters and siping on its own (particularly offering reasonable traction), it still falls short in overall winter performance metrics like snow handling and braking when compared to the high-performance PSAS4 tire.

Actually the problem with Primacy tire is its relatively firmer rubber composition which doesn’t adapt too well with changing temperatures.

Meaning, its biters tend to stiffen in freezing conditions, leading to their decreased effectiveness (which is particularly evident on icy terrains).

Side Note: The Pilot Sport All Season is actually one of the best winter-performing tire, when it comes to my list of reviewed ultra-high performance all-season tires.

Tread Lifespan

The lifespan of a tire’s tread depends on several key factors: its rolling resistance, the composition of the materials used, and the depth of the tread.

Now out of them, rolling resistance is self explanatory. And to understand why composition is a factor here, you just have to consider that tires made from harder rubber compounds typically last longer due to their reduced susceptibility to wear.

Tread depth also plays a crucial role. I mean, the deeper the tread, the longer it takes for a tire to wear down to the point of needing replacement. However, it’s worth noting that excessively deep tread can ironically increase rolling resistance.

Now comparing both tires it can be seen why Michelin MXM4 takes the lead.

Despite having a similar tread depth to its competitors, the MXM4 being a grand touring tire comes with a less rolling resistance compared to ultra high performance Pilot Sport 4S.

Primacy MXM4
Primacy MXM4

Additionally, it’s made with a comparatively stiffer rubber compound. This means it wears down more slowly, reaching the 2/32″ mark (the legal tread depth limit in the U.S.) at a slower pace.

Essential reminder: Before picking an all-season tire, a visit to my AS tire page is a must for top recommendations.

Dry-Road Performance

The analysis of dry performance involves three primary factors: dry grip, handling, and steering response. Let’s examine each factor in turn.

Linear Grip

The concept of linear or longitudinal grip pertains to a tire’s ability to maintain traction when moving straight ahead and there are two main things to know about it.

One, it gets calculated by tire’s braking performance. And two, it’s largely influenced by the tire’s center tread design.

In this scenario, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 stands out impressively thanks to its three unbroken, streamlined ribs that ensure constant contact with the road. This consistency, coupled with the tire’s V-shaped biters and notches, greatly enhances its braking capabilities.

On the other hand, the Michelin Primacy MXM4, though designed for effective longitudinal motion, doesn’t quite measure up.

Simply put, its design incorporates more open spaces and a narrower central rib leading to less rubber making contact with the road surface (comparatively speaking).

This decreased contact area not only adversely affects the tire’s directional grip but also the stability (or I should say on-center feel).

Consequently, the MXM4 comes out less efficient in overall dry braking compared to ultra high performance PSAS4 tire.

Overall Handling

If we dissect the handling performance, there are three things, or I should say phases to note (about a corner): entry, mid-corner, and exit.

  • During the entry phase, effective braking and downshifting are crucial for smoothly navigating into the corner without losing traction.
  • The mid-corner phase requires accurate steering input to maintain control.
  • Lastly, in the exit phase, the vehicle realigns to its original path as acceleration is gradually reintroduced.

The Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 tire demonstrates exceptional performance across all these stages. Its advanced design, as previously noted, provides outstanding braking capabilities, enabling quicker corner entries.

Moreover, its shallower tread depth and lighter build contribute to improved feedback during mid-cornering, offering drivers a better sense of the available grip. And this attribute positions it as a frontrunner in the other two phases as well.

In comparison, the Michelin Primacy MXM4 falls short in matching the dynamic performance of its counterpart. This was evident in my testing, where it consistently lagged by an average of 0.7 seconds per lap.

The primary drawback of the MXM4 lies in its sluggish response during steering, “particularly affecting its performance while exiting corners”.

This means drivers need to exercise caution when reapplying the accelerator after cornering, as the tire doesn’t provide the sharp, immediate feedback desired for a swift re-acceleration.

Wet-Road Performance

The key to wet performance is how effectively the tire can clear water from its tread, which impacts traction and hydroplaning resistance. Let’s explore how both tires perform in these aspects.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning resistance refers to the ability of a tire to effectively displace water from its tread, particularly through its grooves. This characteristic is critical because if water accumulates between the tire and the road surface, it can cause the tires to lose traction and essentially “float” on the (formed) water layer.

In other words, how good grooves take out water decide overall resistance of a tire to hydroplaning.

Having said that, it can be seen why Michelin Primacy MXM4 ranks better here with its superior circumferential groove design where channels are basically better interconnected to each other.

Though things change up pretty quickly when you measure up both tires’ wet grip and handling performance.

Wet Grip and Handling

Now as already discussed, grooves (on the tread) expel out “most” of the water from under the tire. Yet they don’t do it completely, I mean there’s some always left behind, and that’s where sipes become very important.

If I go into basics, these sipes expand and contract, creating a suction effect that helps absorb the remaining water particles (which were left out by grooves).

Understanding this, it makes sense why the Michelin MXM4 is lacking here.

Despite having sufficient siping and biters for decent lateral grip, its overall performance is not as robust (according to my lap tests, where it consistently trailed behind the PSAS4 by more than 1.5 seconds on average).

A notable issue with the Primacy MXM4 is its somewhat delayed steering response. Similar to its dry handling, the tire exhibits a less decisive on-center feel in wet conditions too, affecting confidence and with it, control.

On the other side, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 sets a high standard in wet braking, surpassing nearly all other ultra-high-performance tires I have reviewed (particularly in terms of wet braking).

Moreover, its mid-cornering feedback is also very impressive, leading to a driving experience that feels more connected and confident, particularly in challenging wet conditions.

Driving Comfort

Driving comfort is shaped by two critical components: the audibility of the tread and the tire’s ability to buffer against road roughness. Let’s look at each of these components in turn.

Tread Noise

The design of a tire’s tread is crucial in determining the level of road noise it produces.

This is because most of the “tread noise” gets generated from air particles striking the tire’s surface, often entering through the shoulder (lateral) voids.

While the collision itself creates different (unwanted) sounds, they further cause echoing creating what they call in-groove resonance and cavity noise.

Now this is where the Primacy MXM4 stands out, exhibiting a quieter ride experience (showcasing smaller decibels on the reading scale on tests).

So how come? Well this is due to its sophisticated tread pattern which is designed to produce varying pitch tones, effectively altering the way air particles interact with different parts of the tire. This variation in tone and frequency works towards neutralizing each other, thereby reducing in-groove resonance.

Road Vibrations

Considering a tire’s ability to manage vibrations, two factors are key: its role as a mini-suspension for the vehicle and the smoothness and stability of the ride.

And here, the overall construction of the tire plays the most important role.

That’s why out of both Michelin boys here, it makes sense why the Primacy MXM4, with its flexible composition takes the lead (which is no surprise by the way, given its a grand touring tire focusing more on comfort performance instead of traction like its UHPAS counterpart).

The MXM4 basically incorporates a unique polymer blend and features a specialized layer above its softer cap plies to absorb road imperfections.

And needless to say, these attributes significantly improve the tire’s capacity to mitigate bumps and irregularities, ensuring a more comfortable and smoother driving experience.

Take Home Points

Overall, each tire has its unique advantages, making them suitable for different priorities and conditions.

In dry conditions, the PSAS4’s superior linear grip, handling, and steering response outshine the MXM4, especially in braking and cornering. This performance advantage is credited to its streamlined ribs and lighter build.

And in wet, the MXM4 takes the lead in hydroplaning resistance while the Pilot Sport provides superior traction.

Lastly, in terms of driving comfort, the Primacy MXM4 emerges superior. Its sophisticated tread pattern reduces road noise, while its unique polymer blend and specialized construction effectively absorb road vibrations, offering a smoother, more comfortable ride compared to the more performance-oriented PSAS4.

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