Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus vs Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4

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Both the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus and the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 come in ultra high performance all-season category of tires. So although they both provide great traction, and steering responsiveness, there are some things you should know about them.

Mazda 3
Michelin looks cool on Mazda.

Being a tire engineer, I can tell you that the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 offers superior directional grip, enhanced wet handling, and quieter performance. Meanwhile, the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus excels in dry handling, hydroplaning resistance, and boasts a more extended tread life.

Available Tire Sizes

All sizes on the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus (review) comes in 17 to 20 inches wheels, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight in comparison: 21 to 31 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 55k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 500 AA A.

The Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 (review) comes in 16 to 22 inches rims, and they come with the following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: Y on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight in comparison: 19 to 35 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 540 AA A.

Inner and Outer Construction

Let’s start off with the P Zero All Season Plus, which comes with a unique asymmetric tread pattern.

Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus
Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus features a ton of biters.

Like its Michelin counterpart, the Pirelli’s tread is also divided up in to 5 parts or ribs.

Let’s start with its outer two ribs, (shoulders).

These ribs are different on each side, mainly in terms of their siping designs, where on one side they come with linear designs, while other has a wave-like pattern to it.

Moreover (the one with wave-like sipes), rib also feature off-set edges, allowing lateral grooves to act as biters.

Moving towards the three ribs in the middle forming four circumferential grooves, each of these have a unique tread design.

The very central rib integrates both lateral and slanted in-groove notches, coupled with linear siping.

while the adjacent only carry a single pattern, though these ribs aren’t continuous running unlike the middle (most) one.

Internally tire comes with a single ply polyester, with twin steel belts and a nylon spirally wrapped cap ply.

On the other hand, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 although also comes with an asymmetric tread design, showcasing 5 total ribs, there are some difference to note still.

Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4
Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 features more streamlined lugs.

Now it’s central region comprises three primary ribs, which form four circumferential channels too. But unlike the Pirelli, these ribs don’t connect laterally.

And of course, these continuous running ribs have a very different structure.

The central most one features lateral in-groove notches, and similarly aligned siping.

Meanwhile, the adjacent ribs, though possessing similar notches, differ in their siping designs. One rib is marked by V-shaped sipes, whereas the other showcases circular ones.

The shoulder lugs are also very different on each side.

One side incorporates zigzag lateral grooves combined with circular siping, while the other integrates both lateral and longitudinal siping, complemented by snow vices.

Internally, this tire is reinforced with a 2-ply polyester casing, accompanied by two steel belts and a nylon cap ply.

Winter Traction and Stability

Although both tires are pretty great here, they still don’t get to have the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake ratings. In fact, none of the tires in their (common) UHP All-Season category do.

(For reference, the 3PMSF rating tells you that a tire can deliver 10% faster acceleration on snowy terrains compared to its standard all-season tire without this designation).

Now here, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is one of the top performers in its category.

I mean it’s not only better than the Pirelli, over here, but also outshines almost all in its group, where it stands out in all winter performance aspects, be it ice/snow braking, acceleration, or cornering.

And does so by a significant margin, especially when you compare it with the P Zero All Season Plus.

Side Note: In case you’re interested, the Nokian WRG4 (review) sets a high standard for winter performance, outperforming all tires in my top list of ultra high performance all-season category. See the list here: https://tiredriver.com/best-ultra-high-performance-all-season-tires/

Dry Performance

Dry performance of a tire revolves around its grip and handling capabilities.

Here grip is further split up in to directional grip and lateral traction. Let’s check them all out.

Directional Grip

Directional grip is shaped by various factors, including tread composition, rubber-road contact area, and tire’s overall weight. And it’s measured by the tire’s braking efficacy.

In this context, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 takes the lead, with it’s rubber composition offering better adherence to dry roads, particularly when moving in a straight trajectory.

It’s streamlined rib designs, enhanced by angular lateral notches, basically provide most to its longitudinal grip.

Moreover, the tire also has the advantage of its (lighter) weight, where it’s MaxTouch technology also ensures an even distribution of pressure points across the tread.

And that results in the tire generating a smaller momentum inertia in comparison, which means, it’s easier to stop in comparison.

Dry Handling

The P Zero All Season Plus excels in dry handling, effectively combining strong lateral grip with swift steering responsiveness.

That’s why its able to outperform the Michelin PSAS4, on dry handling tests.

So how is it doing that, even though both tires have very comparable lateral traction here, (as seen by their similar lateral g force readings).

Well this has to do with its superb steering responsiveness, which explains why Pirelli still takes the lead by a notable difference on dry slalom times, even though its handling lap times were only less than half a second faster, on average.

So what gives this tire this advantage? Well 3 main things:

  • It’s stiffer rubber composition.
  • It’s spirally wound cap ply.
  • It’s rounded contact patch.

All these design elements, basically help maintain the tire’s lugs in a less flexible state.

Why does this rigidity matter? Well because when the lugs bend, they need time to return to their original shape. This recovery time translates into a delay between steering input and wheel response, affecting the tire’s overall responsiveness.

However, the Pirelli’s handling performance is somewhat limited by its lesser directional grip. This shortfall means the tire requires more time to decelerate before entering corners during lap tests, which slightly diminishes its handling efficiency.

Nevertheless, the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus stands out in its ultra-high performance all-season category, offering the best overall handling performance despite these minor setbacks.

Tread Longevity

Tread life is shaped by several factors where some most significant ones include, tread compound, design, depth, and the tire’s weight.

Now here the Michelin features Maxtouch and EverTread technology, which optimize weight distribution and utilize compounds that resist wear. But it still shows up with a shorter tread life, when compared to Pirelli.

So why is that?

Well, simply put, the tire has more silica in its composition, and that although offers it with better wet and superb winter performance, it also makes it more susceptible to wearing down faster.

In fact, its the fastest wearing tire comparing to its close competitors and not just Pirelli over here. So it makes sense why it offers below average treadwear warranty of 45k miles, whereas the P Zero AS+ gives you 55k.

Wet Performance

Wet performance is influenced by a tire’s ability to steer and grip effectively, as well as its capability to resist hydroplaning.

Let’s start with later.

Hydroplaning Resistance

In wet conditions, rapid water displacement from the tire is the most essential aspect. This is because water is in-compressible, so if it’s not evacuated quickly enough, it can interfere between the tread and the road, leading to slippage and loss of traction.

To mitigate this, tires feature grooves that channel most of the water away.

Now having said that, it makes sense why the Pirelli AS Plus shows superior performance here, as seen by it’s (marginally) greater float speeds.

Unlike the Michelin, it’s circumferential grooves are better connected to each other, allowing for water to be evacuated in all directions, especially laterally.

Wet Grip and Handling

While tire grooves expel most of the water, the residual water is managed by sipes. These tiny slits in the tread expand and contract, generating a suction effect that absorbs water particles.

Having said that, the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus isn’t able to provide you with good enough performance, where the tire lacks with it’s slightly sluggish steering response.

I mean although it’s numerous siping and biters provide decent lateral grip, it’s overall handling is (2 seconds) slower, as seen by it’s lap test results.

It’s vague steering basically presents a less assertive on-center feel, whereas Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 outshines, with better response, especially when it comes to mid-cornering feedback.

Noise Comfort

Several factors contribute to tire noise, such as rolling resistance, groove resonance, and tread design. However, the primary noise source is still the interaction of air particles with the tire’s tread.

Air basically comes form shoulder voids (predominately), and their impact of collision with the tread walls, is what creating noise. That noise than echos within the walls, creating in-groove resonance, and then that leads to cavity sounds.

I know, it’s pretty complicated. But for simplicity’s sake, overall, you get a quieter ride on Pirelli P Zero AS Plus, comparatively. The tire isn’t as voided up, and so has less room for air particles to play around.

On the other side, Michelin PSAS4 emits more noise, where most of it is heard in the form of various tones.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is mainly determined by a tire’s rolling resistance.

This resistance depends on several factors: the extent of rubber-road contact, speed rating, tread depth, rubber composition, and the tire’s weight.

While both tires exhibit similar characteristics in many of these areas, like having almost identical contact patches, speed ratings up to Y, and a tread depth of 10/32″ across all sizes, there are a couple of distinguishing features.

These include, weight and rubber composition. Let me explain.

The Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus basically comes with a relatively heavier weight, which stresses out it’s lugs more, increasing rolling resistance. And with a comparatively softer compound, that resistance is further heightened, affecting it’s fuel economy.

Basically both these factors/variables cause lugs to bend more, causing extra energy expenditure in to reshaping of the lugs, and heat, for the most part.

Whereas on Michelin Sport All Season 4 with a stiffer rubber composition, and MaxTouch technology gets to offer a more composed structure. Meaning this tire focuses it’s fuel energy in to rolling of the tire more efficiently.

Key Takeaway

When comparing both tires, you get to know that they both have unique strengths.

The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 excels in:

  • Directional Grip: Its optimized rubber composition and streamlined rib designs give it a notable edge here.
  • Wet Handling: It shines brighter with a better steering response here.
  • Noise Reduction: It’s design minimizes voids, leading to less air particle interaction, reducing noise.

While the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus stands out in:

  • Dry Handling: The tire’s asymmetric design, combined with its shoulder lugs and stiffer rubber composition, provides superior handling.
  • Hydroplaning Resistance: Its well-connected circumferential grooves excel at evacuating water effectively.
  • Tread Longevity: Despite its softer compound, it manages to offer a longer tread life warranty, thanks to it’s well engineered compound.

So overall, the best choice between the two depends on your specific needs and driving conditions.

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