First Test Drive on the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

The moment I've been waiting for...an instant message to get the keys for the Michelin Pilot Super Sport test drive! I've said before in an exaggerated proclamation, that this tire will change the world. I've read the hype, been on-site as a group of Michelin engineers rolled out the tire, watched the videos and been on a short test ride where the set was newly installed and had mold release, therefore we took it pretty easy on the drive. All factors building my excitement to get behind the wheel.

Testing on a 6.6 mile loop of highway and county roads that includes smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt that we drive at both low and high speeds, our Real World Road Ride provides a wide variety of scenarios near our headquarters in South Bend, Indiana. I also tested the tires on our 1/3 mile track, where our test drivers are able to push the tires to their limit in 90-degree corners, simulated lane changes and sweeping expressway ramps. Test laps were run in both wet and dry conditions to provide feedback to consumers who experience different conditions during everyday driving.

Does it live up to the expectations? Oh yeah! Out on the road, the main thing I'm looking for is ride quality and noise levels on the various surfaces. In my opinion, the Michelin was tops. Tread and impact noise was kept at a minimum relative to its peers under all road conditions. On smooth roads the tread noise was barely audible. Impacts from expansion joints and patchwork were absorbed extremely well resulting in a nicely suppressed boom on the larger impacts. I found the Pirelli PZero generated a bit more tread noise on the smooth pavement. The Continental Extreme Contact DW had a bit more of a boom on the larger impacts. The DW also seemingly presented noise a bit more frequently, presumably due to it not absorbing the impacts as well the others. These two things made me feel like the tire was noisier overall. The fourth tire in the test was the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position. It fared extremely well overall. The noise levels were a bit higher than the others, but it wasn't an obtrusive sound, placing the tire second on my list for overall ride quality and noise.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Continental ExtremeContact DW
Continental ExtremeContact DW
Pirelli PZero
Pirelli PZero

Listed below are my fastest lap times for each tire. Conditions during testing were around 90 degrees with high humidity.

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position ****
Continental ContiExtremeContact DW 31.05
Pirelli PZero 30.76
Michelin Pilot Super Sport 30.60

Where is the Bridgestone time? It was off by over two seconds from the slowest lap of the other tires. It was the first run and clearly I wasn't in the game. It was definitely all the driver's fault, not the tire. We'll have to wait for the final results to see where it ended up with the other tires tested. In any event, the Pirelli was pretty close to the Michelin but it was harder work for me to get it there. The Michelin provided the most control and confidence while also posting the quickest lap time.

Michelin gave us the trifecta with the Pilot Super Sport. More grip, longer life and lower price.

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