Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Review

Michelin Pilot Sport 295/30 R19 100Y XL

If you’re looking for a high-performance tire that blends exemplary performance with great traction in a variety of conditions, this Michelin Pilot Sport 4S review may help you decide if this well-performing tire is the best choice for your performance car. 

Owners of higher-end vehicles have experienced enough of their vehicle’s ability to notice the slight differences between tires. Whether they are trying to take off quickly from a standstill, or live in an area where tight cornering is somewhere between necessary and fun, tires like the Michelin Pilot Sports 4S  can make a big difference in the performance of a vehicle designed for its handling and speed.

We rely on a combination of real-world stats about tires and real-world reviews to determine if a tire is worth the hype. The manufacturer is willing to tell you facts about tires, but do the tires hold up and perform under real-world conditions? We will review the wet and dry handling for the Michelin Pilot Sports 4S, as well as its durability and warranty.

Don’t have time to read everything? Here’s a quick summary of our review as well as pros & cons listed.

Conclusion:

Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4S enables drivers of performance vehicles to get more out of what their vehicle can do. Improvements have been made to handling as well as durability and while most any vehicle can fit a Michelin Pilot Sports 4S, people who drive smaller performance vehicles will take note of this tire’s ability to grip under any condition and deliver an overall comfortable ride.  

We recommend the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S as a definite upgrade over whatever rubber your performance vehicle came with. Many reviewers noted a big difference between stock sport tires and the Pilot Sport 4S when it came time for their ability to handle the road and maintain a quiet, smooth ride.

Pros

  • Outstanding wet and dry handling
  • Comfortable with minimal road noise
  • Will bring out the best in your sports car

Cons

  • Most expensive performance sport tire available
  • Potential issues with tire wear in heavier performance vehicles
  • Not meant for winter driving

Review of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S will include

  • Overview
  • Performance Breakdown
  • Price & Overall Value
  • Our Take

Without further ado, let’s look at some details and help you decide if the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is right for your vehicle and driving style. 

Michelin Pilot Sports 4S Overview

The Michelin Pilot Sports 4S is designed for road and occasional track usage. As a track tire, Michelin has designed the Pilot Sport 4S to go fast and take sharp corners while offering the grip needed for the driver to feel in control under all conditions. The Sport 4S can handle conditions whether very dry for your desert drive or a remote wet highway. 

The Sport falls squarely in the “Performance Sport” category. Performance sports tires are designed to handle the rigors of being driven quickly by vehicles designed for tight turns and acceleration. They are also designed to let you hear the roar of your engine for gasoline-powered vehicles or just the radio in an electric- not just the road noise of the tires themselves.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is also admittedly the priciest of the Performance Sports category. Generally speaking, the Pilot Sport 4S is also rated higher in durability and performance than competitors within its own category. It’s also noted that the Pilot Sport 4S’ primary comparison is to its predecessor – the Super Sport.

Michelin also offers a warranty with its tires. 30,000 miles of driving are covered by Michelin with the Pilot Sport 4S. Drivers also receive a limited warranty which covers manufacturing defects for the rated tread life of the tires, or six years, whichever comes first. The warranty offers replacement of the tire.

Michelin Pilot Sports 4S Performance Breakdown

Performance

Many reviews for the Michelin Pilot Sports 4S place it solidly in the top of the category for a Performance Sports tire. Performance Sports tires are expected to handle a variety of conditions including wet and dry. Reviewers who drive their sports cars in the rain also noted a significant improvement in wet handling compared to stock sports tires. Of note, this is not a winter or snow tire. 

Wet

Rain makes some sports car drivers nervous. Wet road conditions and poor visibility can make some drivers take another car with all-wheel drive and touring tires instead but this is not necessary with the Michelin Pilot Sports 4S. Drivers on the East Coast reported taking their sports and performance vehicles out for drives and getting caught in the rain, only to learn that the tire hugs the road quite well on wet roads too.

How? The treads on the Pilot Sport 4S are made super sticky by combining center ribs and an inboard shoulder with a silica compound that both efficiently moves water and maintains grip.  The result is confidence-inspiring cornering, even when you are splashing around. 

Some testing users reported “understeer” in wet conditions or a lack of complete and predictable reaction. Compared to other tires in the same category, the Pilot Sport 4S did quite well.

Dry

If you are looking for the benchmark performer for a Performance Sport tire on a dry road, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is in the lead. An asymmetric tread pattern and a hybrid rubber focused on dry performance make the Pilot Sport 4S the king of the road when compared to other sport tires on dry roads. 

One of the biggest grips of sports car owners is the feeling of having your tires spin under heavy acceleration, removing the feeling of control, and actual acceleration that performance vehicle drivers crave. Reviewers loved the feeling of cornering on tight streets and windy highways using the Pilot 4S.

While the Pilot Sport 4S’s wet performance is the leader for Performance Sport tires, the dry performance is even better by comparison. 

Snow

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a Performance Sport tire that is not meant to handle snow. As such, the mix of soft and hard rubber that gives the Sport 4S its outstanding dry and wet handling also makes it unsuitable for cold conditions. The rubber on the Sport 4S tires may crack under especially cold conditions, and cracked tires voids the warranty for Michelin tires. 

Consider a pair of all-season or winter tires if you plan to do winter driving. Many owners of performance cars also have ‘winter cars’ with 4 wheel drive or All Wheel Drive that are meant to handle those conditions while the Corvette or 911 is stored in a temperature-controlled location.

Braking Distance

Braking distance is pretty important when you are traveling quickly. Who knows what is coming up next! 

While dry braking from 80 kilometers per hour, the Pilot Sports outdid competitors in a real-life test by nearly a meter with a complete stop in 33 ½ meters. The wet braking was better at 27.7 meters, which beat the nearest competitor by more than two meters.

Handling

A performance vehicle is all about power and handling. The Pilot Sport 4S offers the asymmetrical, aggressive tread design needed to maintain grip around corners while maintaining long tread life. Performance and handling are indeed the goals of the Sport 4S, so you are receiving all the handling that Michelin can squeeze out of the tire.

Noise and Comfort

Reviews on Tire Rack indicate from many drivers that they just don’t hear noises coming from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. The Sport 4S fulfills the expectation that a performance car driver would rather hear the sound of the engine and maybe the radio than the sound of their tires literally pounding the pavement.

Comfort is second to none. Users reported the ability to drive at high speed and experience typical highway bumps with no issues. Regular street driving also enhanced the experience delivered by the performance vehicle’s suspension system without making itself noticeable.

Durability

There is a difference in reviews for some vehicles on Tire Rack. Some drivers with heavier vehicles have reported that the tread life on the Michelin Pilot Sports 4S is at or under 30,000 miles when driven hard. Drivers with lighter vehicles (roughly under 2 tons) have noted that the Pilot Sport 4S offers the promised tread life, and then some.

On the plus side, Michelin offers a tread life warranty for its tires. This is relatively rare, and at 30,000 miles, is more than most offer. Besides the overall traction and handling ability, this is what truly stands out for the relatively high price of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.

Price and Value

The Pilot Sport 4S is priced above average in the Performance Sport tire segment at $260 or higher per tire depending on the size. Compared to other tires though, the Pilot Sport offers better handling in dry and wet conditions as well as better stopping – and a better warranty.

 

The next best competitors are the Hankook R S-4s. The Hankook offers better treadwear and better-than-average handling and comfort. Continental’s ExtremeContact Sports tested just a little slower in track time than the Sport 4S. These tires are new to the Performance Sports category and are generally cheaper, but don’t quite offer the same wet handling s the Sports 4S.

Competition

Here are some similarly rated alternatives to the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S:

  • Pirelli P-Zero Nero GT
  • Goodyear Eagle F1
  • Dunlop Sport MAXX
  • Bridgestone Potenza S001
  • Continental Sport Contact 

Our Take

Should you buy a set of Pilot Sport 4S for your performance vehicle? If you need them, these are a no-brainer. The feeling of accelerating quickly and being able to corner at high speed is engineered into a higher end sports car, and the tires need to be able to handle these things. These incredible tires are up to the task. 

Pair your performance vehicle with a Pilot Sport 4S and you will be ready for the experience your vehicle was meant to offer.