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Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 – REVIEW

Interesting | April 7th, 2014 by 4
Michelin-Pilot-Sport-All-Season-3-Cornering

I was facing a dilemma, what should I purchase to replace the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires coming off the 135i. The rears were essentially slicks, …

I was facing a dilemma, what should I purchase to replace the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires coming off the 135i. The rears were essentially slicks, even the wear bars were getting worn. Worse, one front tire had expired in a pothole on an on-ramp late last year and the replacement was of a different make. So rather than being able to replace rears only, I needed a new, full set.

I could have stuck with the Contis, I liked them, but they weren’t as grippy as I would have liked, nor were they as communicative as I had hoped for. Good tires certainly, quiet and good wet grip, but yet not as engaging as other tires I have sampled.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3   REVIEW

And then there was the issue with weather. For whatever reason, the mid-west has been hammered the last couple of years with extended cold weather. We had snow in Kansas City last May – that’s right, snow in May! So the shoulder season of cooler temps has expanded. It’s as if I need to put the snows on a month earlier than normal and take them off a month later. And even then, I find temperatures below 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) to be more prevalent in September and May than in years past. It’s almost as if I need a third set of tires, snows, all season, and summer.

Forget that – I don’t want another set of wheels and tires occupying valuable garage space. And having a pure ultra high performance set of summer tires, that work best when temps are above 60 degrees, is a lot like having an outdoor swimming pool in Minot, North Dakota – you can use it for three moths and the rest of the year it’s worthless.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3   REVIEW

What I wanted was a set of tires that can handle lower than normal temperatures in spring and fall, normal high temperatures in summer, and the occasional downpour (and possibly very light snow/slush). I intend to use the snow tires from mid-December through mid-March, so the new all-season tire didn’t have to be biased towards snow (as the Conti DWS tires are). But they absolutely had to deliver good cold temperature performance.

And that brings us to Shawn Molnar’s praise of the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3s ( http://www.bmwblog.com/2013/01/22/bmwblog-tests-michelins-new-category-defying-rubber-pilot-sport-as-3/ ). After reading Shawn’s review, I discussed the tires in more depth with him. Michelin, and the tires, left a positive impression on Shawn – especially given his initial perception of Michelin. I on the other hand have had very good luck with Michelin tires on street cars in the past, and was wondering if the Pilot Sport A/S 3s may not be the key to good three season performance.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3   REVIEW

So, using my own pile of nickels, I purchased a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3s in 215/40-18 fronts, 245/35-18 rear. They are not, however, run flat tires. I ditched the Bridgestone RE050A RFTs after they wore out and have not looked back. That meant a tow when when the Conti expired in the pothole last year – but that was understood when I ditched the run flats.

So – now in mid-March – I have a new set of all season tires on the 135i. And, with only 100 or so miles on them, I can say that the Michelins seem to have better braking performance than the Contis they replaced and are a bit harsher and noisier than the Contis also. Grip levels and steering feedback are what I’ve come to expect from Michelins, it’s good. Now as the weather eventually warms up, we’ll see how they perform. They are supposed to have a greater optimal temperature range than typical summer tires, but we may a get a chance to see how they do when it’s really hot in the August time frame. And that may also give us an idea of how quickly they’ll wear out.

We’ll update this as time goes on, but hopefully we’ve found a good solution for the spring and fall (and early summer in the mountains, where snow and cold temps aren’t unusual) as well as the grip and handling we expect from a sumer tire.

  • Daniel Johnson

    I bought a set of these (run-flat version) last November for my 2011 328i wagon (manual/rwd). For the most part I love them, but was disappointed when we got a small flurry in Seattle that brought ~2″ of snow on top of icy roads. I was on a small incline of ~10° but the wagon could not get enough traction to get going, partly due to the 255 sections on the rear. I ended up turning around on the hill and the next hill I encountered at ~20-25mph I made it to the top, but had to feather the throttle in 3rd gear to keep it from stepping out. I am used to that, but in this case the hill was only about 100 feet long and I had slowed to ~15mph by the top. This was enough to convince me that I couldn’t take these tires to the ski slopes. I have since read that traction control should be turned off when trying to get started on a hill, which is the opposite of what I was thinking at the time, so I am anxious to try them again. I have driven my e30 M3 with 205 series Kumho Ecsta 4x’s to the ski slopes, and in the 5 years I owned my e36 325is I ran 225 series Continental DWS without hassle in snow and ice. I lived in Butte MT for 2 of those years and made dozens of trips to several ski slopes on those tires (Mt. Baker, Stevens, Schweitzer, etc). I want to give them another chance in the snow, but my first impression is they aren’t nearly the all-season tire the DWS is, that said, being in Seattle and only having to deal with snow a couple times a year I couldn’t be happier with the dry and wet grip of these tires. I just want to give a fore-warning to those that are considering jumping from the DWS that the A/S 3 just simply doesn’t have the snow capabilities from my experience.

    • Hugo Becker

      That’s exactly why I will keep my Blizzaks – one look at the tread on the Pilot Sport A/S 3s and you know it isn’t for true winter service.

  • Efoza

    I have Michelin tires on my 6 series gran coupe and they are great. I have now done 30000 miles and they still have life in them. This is one good thing about Michelin in that they last a very long set of mileage and even road abuse. You have therefore made the right choice in my view.

  • Jason Peters

    The first person posting from MT doesn’t have the same Michelin tire that this blog is detailing. There is no such tire as the Michelin PSAS3 run on flat or ZP as Michelin calls it. From my research the PSAS3 should have similar traction as the Kumho Ecsta he has used but NOT the DWS. The DWS is a phenomenal winter biased UHP AS tire. But is clunky and squishy on dry and wet roads around here. I have now driven roughly 1000 miles on the PSAS3 since purchasing these for my wife’s 328xi at the beginning of October 2014. No snow yet but I am not worried. The dry and wet straight line and cornering authority this tire has on a daily basis makes me sleep better knowing she and Daughter are connected with the PSAS3. I do have my worries for winter traction because the DWS which came off had certainly spoiled my wife last winter. I drive an Audi A4 and have just mounted Nokian WRG3 tires and we can ride to work together if absolutely necessary. The rest of the time the roads are plowed here in Littleton, CO quickly and I have enough confidence that the marginal snow capabilities of the PSAS3 will have her getting about just fine.

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