A few weeks ago I traveled to New Orleans to attend the launch of Michelin’s newest all-season tire, the Pilot Sport A/S 3. My review of the tire appeared on FlatSixes.com. In short, I was very impressed by this tire’s handling and stopping power (two crucial things when it comes to fun, but more importantly, safety behind the wheel). Lesson learned: the tire you put on your car makes a HUGE difference in how your car handles. No joke!
The PSAS3 was exceptional, but I was only able to discover this because I spent an entire day testing it on a few vehicles, against several competitors’ tires, and in various conditions. At the end of the event, I congratulated the Michelin folks on setting up the perfect tire test. I suggested that an even better test would be to drive the tire over one year, in every-day scenarios, and in various seasons and conditions. They agreed, and that is how the 365 days of PSAS3 came to be.
Our family car, and Audi A4 Avant, is now wearing Michelin PSAS3s. My plan is to drive as I normally do — to the kids’ school, to work, to the store, to the occasional vacation spot, and (yes, even) the track this summer. As I go along, I’ll share my thoughts on how this tire performs in real life. You may even get the occasional tire photo (Michelin does make very good looking tires, if you’re into that sort of thing…)
Day 1: winter, 23 degrees, no snow accumulation. The tire is quiet and handles confidently on the cold ground. Looking forward to seeing what happens when snow falls. Even though Michelin is very clear on the PSAS3s limitations (the tire will work well in very cold temperatures, but it is not made to function optimally in accumulating snow), I look forward to comparing its performance next to other all-seasons I’ve driven on. Stay tuned…and feel free to post questions.
Looking forward to following this!
Why, thank you!
I am glad you choose to do this! Can you let me know how your car feels with the tires in terms of ride comfort? Is it smooth on the highway, vibration free, no harshness over grooves, ridges, and bumps in the roads. Etc. I want to preserve the Michelin smoothness and comfort while having a good handling
So far, I really like the tires. Right away, I noticed the tires were quieter on the road, and the car felt more sporty, as if we had changed the dampers. (My husband, who races cars, agreed with this assessment). Along with this extra conectedness to the road, however, comes a more sporty ride — so you will feel the road more. I found the tire to be very nice on the expressway — quiet, smooth, and 3 mpg better fuel economy vs. the Goodyear that was on the car previously.
Something I loved when I tested the tire at NOLA Motorsports park was the grip and stopping power of the PSAS3, and those qualities are very much present as I drive around on our wagon. The car turns in very nicely and stops beautifully, even in standing water.
The one place where we have seen the tire underperform is in true winter conditions, which is to be expected (the Pilot Sport A/S 3 is an all season tire). While temperature is not really the issue, snow and/or ice affects the PSAS3 grip noticeably. If you live in a place where you get a true winter, you will still need a winter tire. But if you get no snow or ice, this could definitely be your only tire. If you are replacing the previous generation Michelin all-season, you will be blown away by the PSAS3 like I was.
May I ask which car you are thinking of putting these tires on? Also, which tire are you using right now?
Thank you for the great feedback about the tires. I have a 2013 Lexus GS350 F-Sport sedan and I current am using a winter set with 18 inch rims and Michelin Pilot Alpine PA4 tires which are very good in snow and has a good ride. The all seasons does feel smoother on the highways due to the smoother thread patterns. I had Michelin Primacy MXV4 on another car and they were my favorite tire. As you said, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S3 might be the best tire for the other 3 seasons which is perfect for me as I already have a winter set. I live in Bloomfield Hills, Mi and I did live in Ann Arbor for a while so I am aware of the winters here and agree with your assessment. I cannot decide if I want the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S or the Michelin Primacy MXM4 on my Lexus 19 inch rims during the Spring-Fall time. My car is very aggressive due to the sporty adaptive suspension so I have great handling feel and want to keep that along with a smooth yet sporty ride. I will wait to see how you like them during the spring when the temperatures warm up.
We live in Michigan as well. Sounds like you have a great setup. We use the Pilot Alpins in winter and have really enjoyed their durability.
We tested the PSAS3 in New Orleans, about 70 degrees and various conditions. We got to drive them at the track and in wet/dry autocross courses. They are fantastic when it comes to handling and stopping. Recently, we had a period of warmth here in MI and the PSAS3s were fantastic in all the rain and puddles — absolutely drama-free and great stopping. They are even great in the cold — just not great in slush and new snow (which is not surprising).
Have you tried the Michelin SuperSport yet? It is a fantastic tire as well, but perhaps a bit more sporty than the PSAS3. Both are fabulous tires, but if you use your car primarily for commuting, and prefer an all-season tire, I would go with the PSAS3. Also, the PSAS3 will be cheaper than the SuperSport, I believe. We are definitely keeping our set on the car.
We have reviews for both tires at FlatSixes.com if you’d like to check them out.
Thank you for the great review. Have you been able to drive on the A/S 3 in the snow yet? I’m in Chicago and drive a G35x and am considering purchasing these tires. I have always driven on all season tires – year round and would prefer not to get winter tires.
If you have driven in the snow what were your impressions.
Yes, I have driven on the PSAS3s through a Michigan winter (Jan-Mar 2013). We drive an Audi A4 Avant.Since your Infiniti is AWD, you should have similar performance to my Audi.
Which all-season tire were you using before? The PSAS3 is considered an “ultra high performance” tire, which should give you improved performance in most conditions. The PSAS3 does very well in rain, wet conditions, and flurries. The tire retained grip very well in very cold conditions (0-10 deg), and I did not notice a decrease in performance or lack of grip in the coldest days of winter.
When it came to sticking snow or accumulated snow, however, I did notice a decrease in performance, specifically in in grip, braking and cornering. In standing snow, we had to think a bit ahead when braking to avoid sliding. In addition, when cornering in standing snow, we experienced a bit of decreased grip and a bit of lateral travel. I should note that this tire was still superior to a few other all-seasons I have tried in winter (much better than the equivalent Continental, for example).
What does all this mean? Basically, you can definitely drive the PSAS3s all year round, but plan ahead when there is standing snow on the road. You will need extra time to brake and less speed when cornering.
Another thought – I lived in Chicago for 10 years and never needed snow tires because the city is pretty great about cleaning their streets. In Michigan, this is hardly the case. We are often left to deal with several inches of snow on the ground on local streets and even the expressways, which makes winter tires almost a requirement. If you live in a city which keeps their streets plowed, the PSAS3s should work for you, no problem.
you can read more about the PSAS3’s winter performance in the article entitled, “Driver’s Tips: How to Stay Ahead of the Rain and Snow Behind the Wheel.” (http://porschemama.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/drivers-tips-how-to-stay-ahead-of-the-rain-and-snow-behind-the-wheel/)
Hello, great blog you’re starting and love the car. I was just wondering how these tires compared against summer tires in the heat. I read somewhere that the Michelin testing against Summer tires was mainly done in around 50 F (Which isn’t ideal for summer tires) so I was just wondering what it’s like in hotter temperatures (like 75-90 F) if you have had experience with them. Are they close to true Summer tires even in hot conditions? Thanks for the feedback!
If you’re curious I currently drive a Fiat 500 Abarth with 17″ Pirelli P-Zero Neros.
When we first tested the PSAS3 in New Orleans a year ago, I believe it was in the 80s. I drove the tire in braking exercises, autocross course (where a tight course is set up with cones so you can experience various braking and steering inputs and their effects on the tire) and on a race track (NOLA Motorsports). As I’ve mentioned, the PSAS3 performed beautifully, offering sharp turn-ins, nice lateral grip, and plenty of stopping power.
The warmest temperature I’ve ever driven the tire in is 96 ̊F (Sept 10, 2013). I can tell you I experienced no loss of performance or grip during this very warm day. Also, the tire continued to wear nicely. I want to clarify that this driving was not on track or in testing conditions — just commuting and on the expressway. I am curious about Michelin Summer testing temperatures, so I’m going to look into that…
In the meantime, enjoy your Abarth! My brother was one of the lead engineers on your car, and he really enjoyed working on it.