Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4

Brand: Michelin
Tire: Pilot Alpin PA4
Category: Performance Winter / Snow
UTQG (treadwear): Not rated

When it comes to specialized tires on the market today, I can't see how the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 doesn't fall into that category. This is really an enthusiast tire that happens to be built for duty on ice and snow covered roads. Typically you'll see a tire come in a range of sizes. Not so here. You're limited to owning wheels from 18" to 20" in diameter. Michelin built this tire for use on high performance vehicles where drivers also wanted the car to be functional in a blizzard. Well done. In addition to the great traction you get from this tire, it also meets Michelin's Green-X standards for low rolling resistance, making it one of the few winter tires on the market that won't suck down your fuel economy. To get to this point, they used a sunflower oil-enriched Helio Compound+ tread that keeps the tire flexible in low temperatures --very essential for snow/winter tires. The Pilot Alpin PA4 also happens to meet the industry requirement for severe snow service, so it's fairly rugged. Due to the traction you gain from these tires, Michelin states that you should only install these tires in sets of four.

As you might imagine for a tire this engineered, the reviews on it are outstanding. This is at worst the second best performance winter/snow tire on the market right now, and probably is my top A Number 1 favorite. If you drive a performance coupe or sedan (ie Audi S4/S6, Mercedes-Benz S550/E63 AMG, Subaru WRX, etc) then you want a tire that can not only keep your beast on the road during the storm, but also still makes it fun to drive when the roads are dry. Most drivers I know that run these tires try to get them to lose traction and if you have AWD, it's almost not possible unless you really are trying to screw around. Many people that run these tires keep them on from Fall to mid-Spring and then just go to summer tires. So essentially 5 months of winter tires and 7 of the summer. Depending on where you live, that might be a possibility. The downside to this tire and it's performance is that you won't get a ton of miles out of them. Early reports are that you should expect a little more than 30,000 miles out of a set. So maybe a bit on the low side compared to others in this performance category, but in my mind if you have a performance car, you should drive it that way. Then again even if you don't have a performance car, but you want the great traction, I'd say these are a really safe bet.