Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive vs AS Plus 3

9 Comments

Both the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive and the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 represent the next gen tire engineering, each catering to multiple driving needs and conditions. But which tire is a better fit for you? Well, let’s find out.

Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive
Both tires are great options for CUVs.

Being a tire engineer, my testing with these tires show that the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive excels in wet performance, winter grip, and road comfort, thanks to its specialized tread. In contrast, the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 stands out for its dry lateral grip, noise dampening, fuel efficiency, and longer predicted tread life.

Tire Sizes

The Pirelli Scorpion Weather Active comes in 15 to 19 inches rims, and they have the following specs.

  • Speed ratings: H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 11/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 19 to 32 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 60k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 700 AA.
  • Winter Rating: 3PMSF only.

The Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 comes in 17 to 22 inches wheels. And all of those sizes have following specifications.

  • Speed ratings: T, H and V.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 11/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 29 to 42 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 70k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 800 A A.

Layout of Tread Pattern

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive is equipped with a directional tread pattern, characterized by a densely structured center.

Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive
Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive’s tread benefits from a cutting-edge resin and polymer blend, enhancing its rubber composition.

The tread is divided into five distinct columns. I mean the swooping lugs have longitudinal slits in them, so they make 4 circumferential channels as well.

And since they are also laterally connected, you get superb resistance hydroplaning.

Now, here, the most notable groove is the central zigzag one, formulated by the interlocking of lugs of the adjacent ribs.

Furthermore, the whole pattern carry linear siping, though they have multiple angles to them, which is enhanced by the curving nature of the lugs.

Internally, the tire incorporates a 2-ply polyester casing, paired with twin steel belts and complemented by 2-ply polyamide cap plies, which is pretty typical.

I mean this construction approach is a common standard for not just all season, but all tires.

The Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 on the other hand, features an asymmetric tread design.

Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3
Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 has multi-directional biters, especially on its middle most rib.

Now, this tire although also makes 4 longitudinal channels, they are not as interconnected as seen in its sibling.

Though its more biting, no doubt.

I mean check how its central most rib has the combination of interlocking and linear siping, with in-groove notches.

Also the adjacent ribs feature similar features, though they are stuck with just one sipign pattern.

Moving towards shoulders, these lugs are the least aggressive.

They integrate both longitudinal and lateral siping, punctuated by conspicuous lateral grooves.

Lastly, the tire has a similar construction, compared to WeatherActive, though overall its build is slightly heavier.

Tread Life Comparison

Treadwear is dependant on a lot of factors, including tire’s UTQG or treadwear rating.

Now the UTQG isn’t a great way for determining tread life, but it becomes really useful for comparing tires coming under the same manufacturer.

And so in this comparison, the AS Plus 3, with a rating of 800, suggests better longevity than the WeatherActive, which has a rating of 700. This indicates that the AS Plus 3 provides a lifespan 8 times that of a reference tire, while the WeatherActive gives 7 times the reference tire’s life.

I’ve talked about this in greater details here: https://tiredriver.com/what-is-utqg-rating/

Dry Performance

Dry performance is the overall picture you get, when you combine the tire’s traction, with its steering response. Let’s check out both of these factors here.

Overall Grip

The Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive demonstrates superior performance in terms of longitudinal traction due to three primary factors:

  • Its tread design is directional.
  • It features interlocking central most lugs.
  • It has a rounded contact patch.

Let me explain how each of these help here. So with directional tread, the tire’s central most area meets the road better (this area is the most crucial, for the straight line grip), enhancing grip.

And since here (middle most), you get zigzag circumferential groove, the overall traction is further enhanced.

And lastly, with rounded contact, the tire evenly distributes its weight, and hence the lugs engage with the road better. This basically allows for a stable inertia, and therefore contribute to the tire’s overall braking efficacy.

On the other side, the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 although offers a more longitudinally streamlined central ribs, the tire’s overall braking efficacy is still lacking here, though its only by a small margin.

While testing, the Scorpion AS Plus only stopped 1 feet longer (on average).

Basically, the tire simply put is more voided up with the multi-directional in-groove notches, alongside a mix of linear and wave-like siping. These features eat away the rubber that could have contact the road and resulted in better braking efficacy or directional grip.

Cornering and Steering

Discussing lateral or cornering grip requires one to analyze the ability of the tire’s shoulders to maintain contact with the road, (during turns).

Basically as the tire turns, the weight on it doesn’t want to, and so you get a more concentrated weight on the shoulder/sidewalls.

And that explains why the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 does better here, as seen by lateral g forces.

It’s shoulder lugs provide larger rubber to road meet up, and its biters there (in-groove notches and multi-angled siping cuts), add to its superior overall lateral traction.

But traction is only half the equation, as the overall handling (seen by lap times) comes from cornering feedback.

And that’s where the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive comes in.

Even though the tire doesn’t offer as much lateral grip, its quicker steering response allows it to be more in tune with the vehicle’s handling characteristics.

So overall its ends up giving you similar overall handling times.

But why this tire offers a superior under/oversteering balance? Well this is due to its lighter weight and its rounded contact patch.

Reduced weight minimizes lug flexing, while with rounded patch, the transition of weight from the middle to its sides is more uniform.

So overall, if I summarize, both tires end up with similar lap times, where Pirelli AS Plus 3, although lacks in braking and steering, makes up for it with remarkable lateral grip, allowing for similar overall performance compared to WeatherActive.

Winter Performance

When it comes to maneuvering in wintry conditions, the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 is although pretty great, its still can’t beat it’s winter focused counterpart here.

I mean traction wise, the tire does okay, but its overall handling is limited due to its greater susceptibility to understeering.

Basically if I dive in more, the tire’s front wheels really struggle for grip.

On the other side, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive coming with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating (missing in AS Plus 3), offers much better overall traction and handling.

The tire comes with a lot of siping, oriented at various angles, and features a thermally adaptive rubber, that basically keep those sipes flexible even under freezing temperatures.

That’s why the tire’s ice traction is superior.

Moreover, in terms of “snow”, with directional pattern, the tire effectively scoops out the snow backwards, and generate needed acceleration.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is closely tied to a tire’s rolling resistance, weight, tread depth, and overall composition. Given these factors, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive doesn’t seem to deliver a satisfactory performance in this area.

The primary culprit affecting its fuel economy is its soft, winter-tire-like tread compound.

This softer compound is basically more, you can say, sticky on roads, which in turn elevates friction during rolling. Additionally, its structure, which is more voided, particularly from shoulders, is prone to flexing/bending (as the tire corners, for the most part).

Such lug flexing wastes energy, like for example its coverts into heat, and in to reshaping the tread, etc, so overall economy is lowered.

In contrast, the Scorpion AS Plus 3, featuring a more streamlined longitudinal tread pattern, exhibits reduced rolling resistance, making it potentially more fuel-efficient.

Wet Performance

In wet conditions, 2 things matter, grip and resistance to hydroplaning.

Let’s check them all out.

Wet Braking and Handling

In wet, both tires offer very similar results, and you can’t really put one over the other.

But before I explain their performance, you should know that two things are the most crucial when it comes to wet, sipes and grooves.

Grooves take out most of the water, while sipes suck up the rest (in their slits). These sipes basically “flex” to create a vacuum, which soaks up water particles coming underneath, allowing rest of the rubber and biters to grip the road.

Now, for Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive, half of the work is already done, since the tire evacuates more water out through its grooves (thanks to their interconnected vertical and horizontal structures). So less is there for the sipes to clean up.

But the thing is that remaining half isn’t so great, as the tire comes with less effective siping (they only have a linear designs), and the rubber is stiffer, relatively, so sipes can’t breath/flex as much either.

So you can say the WeatherActive is saved by its grooves, so it still gets to offer similar handling times compared to its AS Plus 3.

Basically, the opposite is happening on the Pirelli AS Plus 3, where the tire isn’t so great in terms of, clearing water through grooves. Though with its efficient siping structure, the overall lap times are similar to that of its counterpart.

By effective siping structure, I mean it carries both linear and wave-like sipes, along with curved biters running at all angles, so you get a grip in all directions.

Hydroplaning

Hydro or aquaplaning happens when tire loses its connection with the road, as water comes in between. And here grooves are the most important.

Now I’ve already discussed how out of the two, the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive provides better water evacuation, it makes sense why its overall resistance to hydroplaning is also greater, as seen by float speed tests.

Float speeds tells, how fast a tire can move over water.

On the other side, the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 although does pretty great in straight aqua tests (which involves channeling water out longitudinally), the tire lacks in curved aqua tests, where missing proper lateral grooves limits sideways water evacuation.

So the tire exhibits a tendency to understeer, hurting overall handling times.

But again, as explained in the above section, the overall wet performance of both tires is similar.

Road Comfort Performance

So overall ride comfort comes form efficient noise and bumps dampening ability of a tire. Let me discuss both one by one.

Impact Comfort Performance

Tire comfort largely hinges on its construction. And it makes sense as softer tires are better at soaking up road vibrations, leading to a smoother ride.

This explains why the Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive stands out, with its winter tire-like soft tread, which is great at reducing the imperfections of the road.

The tire offers both impact control and cushioning (I mean bumps settle down very effectively, after the impact).

This is unlike its competitor, the Scorpion AS Plus 3, which although handles smaller bumps impressively, making them almost undetectable, the larger bumps take a while to dampen down.

Noise Dampening Ability

In the noise department, the Pirelli AS Plus 3 is pretty great, where it only generates minor white noise at lower speeds, and some distinct tones which get masked by other ambient noises.

This is due to the tire’s innovative blend of polymers in its tread, and its advanced variable pitch technology.

Now noise is just air striking with the tread walls, and it mostly enters through shoulder voids. And with variable tread, different air striking points create varying tones, which don’t get amplified.

This also explains why the Scorpion WeatherActive is lacking here, with its broader grooves, allowing more air to get in and strike around.

So, What’s The Verdict?

So overall, both tires exhibit distinct strengths.

The Pirelli WeatherActive excels in dry longitudinal traction, wet water evacuation, winter performance, and road comfort due to its unique tread design and soft compound.

Conversely, the Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3 showcases commendable lateral grip in dry conditions, noise dampening abilities, and a potential edge in fuel efficiency and longevity as indicated by its higher UTQG rating.

So despite their individual advantages in specific areas, they both are great overall, and you can’t go wrong with either one of them.

9 thoughts on “Pirelli Scorpion WeatherActive vs AS Plus 3”

  1. So living in central IL, what would you go with? I keep going back and forth here. We have the possibility for snow 3-4 months out of the year, but it could be a foot, it could be a couple inches, but total number of days we’d have snow on the road would be maybe 30 days max for the year. That being said, I’m less concerned about snow than I am ice performance and being able to stop at a stoplight. At the same time we could see summer temps upwards of 100F. My fear for the WeatherActive is the potential for wear due to the increasing possibility of 100F temperatures.

    Road noise and rolling resistance are definitely concerns as well. Dry performance I care less about to be quite honest, because most tires perform well here. Of course I know either is going to be better than the OE tires Continental Crosscontact LX Sport.

    Reply

Leave a Comment