Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 or Michelin X-Ice Xi2?

A 2005 BMW X3 owner recently asked a good question about two top-tier tires on the winter tire market today.

"I'm ready to order a set of snow tires and have narrowed the search down to the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 and the X-Ice Xi2. Which is likely to offer superior performance on ice, slick roads, and deep snow? I don't mind paying the higher price for the PA3, but from the descriptions I have the impression that the Xi2 might be the safer choice."

Both the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 (below left) and the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 (below right) are great tires but designed for a different element of winter. For the conditions you are describing the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 is the best option. You will give up a little handling vs. the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 but gain extra traction for the deep snow and ice. 

Michelin X-Ice Xi2Michelin Pilot Aplin PA3

Comments

Sunday, November 7, 2010 by Xi

Recent tests of the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S all-season tire vs. Pilot Alpin Pa3 vs. X-Ice Xi2 on CarandDriver showed that in certain cold (~20F) non-snow or non-ice conditions, the studless winter tire had dangerous levels of braking perforance when compared to the all-season tire. In fact, the studless tire was as dangerous in the dry/wet as the all-season was in snow. Does this mean that in an area that has mostly snow, the all-seasons would be more dangerous but in an area that is mostly dry (despite cold), the studless winter tires are actually more dangerous? How would one reconcile with this?
Monday, November 15, 2010 by chad

I’m not sure I’m ready to use words like dangerous. Only something like significantly different to describe the braking performance of the various tires used in CarandDriver’s test. I can’t speak to the method CarandDriver used for their test, but I can say that in our testing we have found that in non-snow conditions at warmer temperatures, winter tires take longer to stop than all-season or summer tires (comparing the results of several tests on different days). But with that said, one could reconcile the results by considering the true intended purpose of each tire. While able to drive in cold, dry or wet conditions, Studless Ice and Snow winter tires are tuned to be the best when winter conditions are at their worst, maximizing traction on snow and ice surfaces. As there is no free lunch in life or tire designs, there is a trade off when driving on wet or dry roads. Performance Winter tires are designed to offer a better balance between snow/ice traction and clear road capability. The same holds true for the all-season tire. It is designed to be the jack-of-all-trades in all four seasons, but winds up not being the master of any. True, it stops shorter than the winter tire in dry or wet conditions at cooler temperatures, but when conditions are icy or snow-covered the roles reverse. While we haven’t had the opportunity to test these summer tires in these conditions, my personal experience with them suggests they will stop better than even the all-season tire in dry or possibly even wet conditions at temperatures near freezing, and will definitely out-stop the a/s tire as temperature climbs. My recommendation: choose the type of tire that best fits your needs. If snow and ice are rarely encountered, then maybe the performance winter or all-season tire is the best option. If you see regular snow and ice, then a Studless Ice and Snow tire is best for the winter season. You may have already seen this test that compares Studless Ice and Snow, All-Season and Summer tires on the ice: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=116 Something else to put the stopping distance difference between the tires tested by CarandDriver into perspective. Consider the influence of tread depth on wet stopping distance (we used a common all-season tire). As you can see, this has a larger impact on the stopping distance than choosing between summer, all-season or winter. http://www.tirerack.com/videos/index.jsp?video=5&tab=tires
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by joel

Handling is not the only thing that should be considered when buying a performance tire. From my experience most tires get considerably loud when the tread begins to wear. I drive a BMW 545, and I like to drive quite hard. The best tire I have tested is the Michelin Alpin Pilot's. Two seasons later they are still stellar in the snow and very quite when the conditions are dry. Best tire out of all of them by far.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by max

I have a 2003 BMW 530i. My rear tires are Alpin Pilot PA2, 60% left. The front ones need replaced ASAP. Would you recommend PA3 or X-ice Xi2 for the front ones? Road conditions: temperatures -25 to -35C. Dry weather. Lots of snow. Will be driving mostly on the highways that are clean but sometimes slippery. Sometimes they would have snow on them during the snowstorms. Max speed on highways 110-120km/h.
Thank you!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Marshall @ Tire Rack

Max, Given that you are trying to match tires, the PA3 would be the most suitable choice. Let me know if I can help. -marshall@tirerack.com
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 by TL

I need winter tires for driving in Toronto and area (Ontario, Canada). Wondering (or wandering) between Michelin Xice2, Pilot Alpin PA3, and Pilot Alpin PA2. Doing a lot of city driving, incl. highway; snow and ice though most roads are cleared in winter. Which tire gives better performance in handling, grip, and traction (snow and ice)? For 2006 Ford Fusion SEL, which winter tire is better 94T, 94H or 98V (spec/s show 93V as standard).
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by Ben@tirerack.com

The Michelin XI2 will have the best snow and ice traction. The PA3 will have the best handling on wet and dry roads, similar snow traction, but not as good as the XI2 on ice. The PA2 is an older version of the PA3.

The service descriptions 94T, 94H, and 98V do not affect snow traction directly. The higher speed ratings H and V will give better handling on clear pavement.

-ben@tirerack.com
Sunday, February 5, 2012 by Carla

I am moving (driving) from Seattle to St. Charles, IL (west of Chicago) at the end of February. I drive a 2008 Volvo V70 (FWD). I'm trying to decide which set of tires would be best, Michelin X-Ice or Alpin A3. My understanding is that my commute in IL will be on roads that are always plowed. I know I'll encounter some snow, but it seems as though I'll mostly be on dry roads. However, my main concern is driving cross country safely. Which would you recommend, X-Ice or Alpins?
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by Marshall @ Tire Rack

Carla, Based on the info you provided, I would recommend the Alpin tire. Although both are very capable snow tires, the Alpin is known to be a better dry road performer. -marshall@tirerack.com

Leave a comment