The age-old problem with all-season tires has been that they tend to be a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. A few years ago, Michelin sought to address this issue head on when they released the Pilot Sport A/S 3. The A/S 3 was intended to provide the performance of a summer tire but with the winter capabilities of an all-season. I was one of the first individuals outside of Michelin to test the A/S 3 under real world conditions, including in snow and on ice. As sure as was advertised, the Michelin drove like a summer tire with fantastic dry/wet grip and steering response. Unfortunately when the snow started flying, it drove very much like a summer tire then too, prompting me to eagerly jump back to my dedicated set of winter tires.
Due in large part to our recommendations, as well as the feedback from Tire Rack customers, Michelin went back to the drawing board. Michelin engineers knew they had a winning formula with the dry and wet traction of the A/S 3, therefore they wanted to sacrifice as little as possible when re-engineering the new tire. To this end, Michelin left the tread design the same, opting to concentrate on tweaking the tread compound to bolster winter traction for the new Pilot Sport A/S 3+.
This February, myself and a few of my fellow team members were offered the opportunity to experience the A/S 3+ firsthand. Michelin flew us from the frigid confines of South Bend to the warmth and lights of Las Vegas for a go at their new product. During our time on the highway between Las Vegas and Pahrump, we got a good feel for the A/S 3+'s ride comfort and stability at speed. After a fair amount of highway seat time, we made our way to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch where the real meat of the test would occur. A rigorous set of wet and dry testing with the A/S 3+ versus top competition confirmed what we had hoped. In the quest for improved winter traction, the A/S 3+ sacrificed little to no dry/wet capability.
Since this was only a demonstration, we were not able to test the winter traction of the tire, however, several other team members were able to corroborate Michelin's claim of a 28% improvement on the ice and in the snow. As the smile on my face is only now starting to fade, I look for the Michelin to ascend to the top of the Ultra High Performance All-Season category quickly and stay there for some time. To read our full preview report, check out, "What's It Take to Be a Top Performer in All Seasons?"