Pirelli P Zero vs PZ4

2 Comments

The Pirelli P Zero and the PZ4 are two top-of-the-line tires from Pirelli that cater to different needs of the market. The P Zero PZ4 is basically made to give out maximum performance and is best suited for high-powered vehicles, whereas the Pirelli P Zero, is although not as “performing”, but gives out better mileage and comfort.

Pirelli P Zero Tire

Tire Sizes

Pirelli P Zero comes with following sizes’ features.

  • Wheel sizes available: 17 to 22 inches.
  • Load rating: SL and XL.
  • Speed rating: Y and W.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 19 to 42 lbs.

The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 on the other side, comes with following.

  • Wheel sizes available: 17 to 24 inches.
  • Load rating: SL and XL.
  • Speed rating: V, W and Y.
  • Tread depth: 8 to 12/32″.
  • Weight range: 20 to 43 lbs.

Dry Traction

Dry traction encompasses two critical aspects: grip and handling.

Out of them, the grip is typically assessed by the braking distances, whereas handling is determined through lap times. Let’s examine both.

Directional Grip

The Pirelli P Zero excels in this area, as its densely arranged lugs in the central region contribute to enhanced grip on the road surface, resulting in shorter braking distances.

Pirelli P Zero All Season Tire
Pirelli P Zero

But why the central lugs are crucial here?

Well, because, when the tire rolls straight, most of the weight concentrates in the middle portion, so that area meets the road better. And if the tire offers better connectivity from there, it would end up with a faster acceleration and quicker braking.

On the other side, the Pirelli PZ4, despite its similar asymmetrical pattern, could not match the performance, which is logical given its wider lateral grooves and additional tread features like in-groove notches.

Both of these features basically obstruct the tread rubber’s proper contact with the road. In other words, they eat away the rubber that could have been in contact with the road.

Handling

Handling largely depends on two variables:

  • Contact of the shoulder lugs with the road.
  • The tread’s flexibility.

And considering both it can be seen why the Pirelli PZ4 outperforms its counterpart.

The tire comes with a more compacted up shoulder lugs, enabling better road contact as the tire corners. And its relatively shallower tread depth limits the lug bending which basically create a firmer contact with the road, minimizing over and under-steering.

This leads to higher lateral traction values, measured as g-forces during cornering.

On the flip side, the Pirelli P Zero falls short primarily due to its chunkier in-groove notches, which prevent sufficient rubber from contacting the road.

Note: The average handling (laps) speed differences between both tires was less than 1.5 mph.

Tread Life

Pirelli PZ4 Tire
Pirelli PZ4

Tread life depends on several factors, including the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG), tread depth, rolling resistance, and tread composition.

And looking at all these variables it can be seen why the Pirelli PZ4 is a significantly better choice.

For one, this tire gives you a harder tread compound that of course resists rapid wear, and with the help of extra reinforcing polyamide layer, it ends up giving the UTQG of 320, whereas its counterpart only gives you 220.

Now keep in mind that although UTQG is not a precise measure of tread life, it is still very useful for comparing tires from the same manufacturer, like these two Pirelli tires here.

So with this rating, we get to know that the Pirelli PZ4 offers almost three times the tread life compared to the test tire, whereas the P Zero provides approximately twice the treadwear resistance compared to the same test tire.

Wet Performance

A tire with superior wet performance should have a tread that offers strong wet grip and hydroplaning resistance. And both these characteristics are fundamentally achieved through efficient water displacement.

Basically grooves help clearing water off at a larger scale, while sipes soak up the remaining left over water particles coming underneath the tread.

Now here, both tires performed remarkably well but only when it comes to wet braking.

Though in terms of wet handling, and hydroplaning resistance the Pirelli PZ4 took the lead by a larger margin.

Fuel Consumption

Rolling resistance and fuel efficiency share a direct relationship, meaning an increase in rolling resistance, mainly due to heavier weight and softer tread composition, results in higher fuel consumption.

This relationship helps explain why the Pirelli PZ4 slightly outperforms in this area, as it has a more aerodynamic structure with a generally shallower tread depth.

The longitudinally aligned ribs offer less resistance as the tire rolls, while with shallower tread depth, the lugs don’t get to flex as much as the tire maneuvers.

And the deformation of lugs consumes energy that could otherwise facilitate tire rolling.

On the other side, the Pirelli P Zero, with its greater rubber to road contact, and a rubber compound providing greater gripping performance, gets to yield greater friction with the road.

Tread Noise

Airflow is the main contributor to tire noise, which gets generated when air particles, mostly getting in through shoulder grooves, collide with the surrounding walls.

Now out of both tires, the Pirelli PZ4 excels here in minimizing this noise due to its design featuring smaller tread voids at the shoulders and an advanced pitch sequencing technology.

With smaller voids, less air is able to get in, and so noise is cut off at the source. And with pitch sequencing the air particles colliding with the walls create different tones at various parts of the lugs, generating a spectrum of frequencies that ultimately cancel each other out.

This happens because the lugs are made with differing geometry.

The P Zero also has this, but its not that efficient, and besides, its relatively larger lateral voids, cause increased in-groove resonance, in the first place.

On-Road Vibrations

The composition of a tire, both internally and externally, greatly affects its ride quality, which i s obvious as with stiffer construction, the ride would feel more jittery. And a softer compound would create a more comfortable ride.

Now in this regard, the Pirelli P Zero takes the lead, with its softer tread rubber having a high silica content and a softer inner cap ply in its internal construction.

These components effectively absorb road shocks and bumps, enhancing ride comfort.

On the other hand, although the Pirelli PZ4 features greater tread depth, and so there’s more rubber between the road and you, its stiffer tread composition still isn’t able to offer similar impact comfort performance as its counterpart.

Side Note: Its basically a trade off between the tread life and comfort. The harder the tread composition, the longer the tread life, but less comfortable the ride would be. And of course this goes other way as well.

Take Home Points

In conclusion, the comparative analysis between the two boys showcases distinctive strengths and weaknesses for each tire.

The Pirelli PZ4 stands out for its superior fuel consumption rates due to its aerodynamic structure and shallower tread depth, which also contributes to its superior tread life, reflected in a higher UTQG rating.

Its design further aids in reduced tread noise and better wet performance, with notable hydroplaning resistance.

Conversely, the Pirelli P Zero excels in dry traction, offering superior grip owing to its central lugs configuration, facilitating shorter braking distances and faster acceleration.

Moreover, its softer rubber composition enhances ride comfort by effectively absorbing road irregularities, albeit at the expense of a shorter tread life and higher tread noise.

In essence, the choice between the Pirelli PZ4 and the Pirelli P Zero comes down to prioritizing either durability and fuel efficiency or comfort and dry traction performance, illustrating a tangible trade-off between tread life and ride comfort.

2 thoughts on “Pirelli P Zero vs PZ4”

  1. Thanks Ozmen, great comparison of the tyres, I’ve been trying to find this information for some time!

    With regards to relative comfort and traction, could you please help us understand how big a gap it is. For example with subjective scores out of 10.

    Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Comment