In the spring of 2016, Michelin introduced their redesigned Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tire as a successor to A/S 3. Plus has the same performance-oriented tread pattern and internal construction but an acclaimed 28% improvement in snow traction. Michelin’s goal for the new tire is best-in-class handling and braking in the dry and wet with light snow capabilities. Let’s deep dive and see if it can compete with other best all-season high performance tires? Before that here is the TL;DR of the detailed analysis.
- 1 Summary of the Review
- 2 Dry Performance
- 3 Wet Performance
- 4 Snow Performance
- 5 Ride Comfort & Tire Noise
- 6 Tread Life & Warranty
- 7 Cars Suitable for Pilot Sport A/S 3+
- 8 Specifications
Summary of the Review
Pilot Sport A/S 3+ extreme silica tread compound combined with contact patch technology, inherited from Michelin’s endurance racing tires, makes it the most sticky tire in both dry and wet conditions. The Helio plus compound and biting edges in the tread design also gives it good snow traction. The braking is also excellent in dry, wet and light snow conditions. Comfort and noise levels are also not bad and at par with other high performance tires. Overall A/S 3+ is one of the best all-season high performance tire and ideal for spirited drivers.
Traction, Steering & Cornering
Michelin didn’t leave any doubt that this is an Ultra High Performance tire. The technology developed for endurance racing tires is directly transferred to Pilot Sport A/S3+. It has the same variable contact patch technology that Michelin originally developed for their Formula 1 program which helps to achieve those summer tire levels of traction and response in both dry a wet conditions.
A/S 3+ asymmetrical tread design puts more rubber on the outside shoulder and more rigid blocks on the outer edge, so you get better handling and lateral grip. It also results in a precise steering response and the tires react nearly immediately.
As a driver, you feel the superior grip and traction even with the brand new set of tires. There is more confidence in cornering at the high speed and it’s hard to not fell in love with the sporty nature of AS 3 plus.
Dry Track Test: Pilot Sport A/S 3+ vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 vs Pirelli P Zero Plus
There is no doubt that this Michelin’s all-season tire is the best in dry performance compared to the other top of the line brands. It’s also proven in the 3rd party test results and below are Tire Rack dry performance test results for Continental ExtremeContact DWS06, Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ and Pirelli P Zero Plus.
Michelin was the fastest with lap time almost similar to Pirelli and 0.5 seconds faster than Continental. Although the differences are minor, the results show that A/S 3+ is truly a benchmark in dry performance for all-season UHP tires.
Michelin claims that this tire will have the shortest wet and dry braking compared to any leading competitive tire in the ultrahigh performance all-season category. 3rd Party test results also prove their claim. A/S 3+ has the shortest braking distance from 50 mph compared to ExtremeContact and PZero.
Traction, Cornering & Hydroplaning
Michelin has successfully translated the top-notch dry performance of this tire to wet conditions too. The tread design is pretty standard, 5 rib design with large grooves that help to evacuate water. The secret to their wet traction is extreme Silica technology.
It is an extreme level of silica that is included in the tread compound that provides a high level of wet grip. In short, the combination of large tread grooves and extreme silica gives enhanced wet traction and stability when driving straight or cornering in wet conditions.
On top of that, 3+ has variable thickness sipes, the tiny slits in the tread, to break water tension and lock together to help prevent hydroplaning.
Wet Track Test: Pilot Sport A/S 3+ vs ExtremeContact DWS 06 vs Pirelli P Zero Plus
A/S 3+ was 0.4 seconds slower than PZero and almost tied with ExtremeContact in lap time on a wet track. Although P Zero Plus was the winner in this category, 3+ wasn’t far off and the results are quite close to call.
In wet braking test from 50 mph, A/S 3 plus had the longest braking distance compared to P Zero and DWS 06 with the difference of 6 ft and 3 ft respectively. The margins are short and braking distance of 106ft from 50mph is still above average compared to the broad category of all-season tires.
Although PZero is a winner in wet conditions, Pilot Sport’s wet braking is still considered good and reliable.
Traction, Steering & Cornering
Michelin’s Pilot Sport A/S 3, launched in 2013, didn’t live up to the expectations for traction on light snow. So, Michelin redesigned the tire and launched Pilot Sport A/S 3+ with the new Helio plus tread compound for acclaimed 28% improvement in snow traction over its predecessor.
3+ has lived up to the expectations and has shown excellent straight-line traction in light snow. The good snow grip can also be attributed to the biting edges in the tread void that help grab loose snow to improve traction.
At the same time, A/S 3+ tire could be little edgy and harder to control at the traction limit when cornering.
Overall, this tire has very good light snow traction but it’s not similar to dedicated winter tire. If you are in an area with heavy snow, it’s better to replace these with winter tires. But they could perform well in light snow and near-freezing temperatures in winter.
Braking Test: Pilot Sport A/S 3+ vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 vs Pirelli P Zero Plus vs Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS
A/S 3+ lead the group in snow brake testing conducted by Tire Rack. It had the shortest braking distance from 25mph. The closest contender was Pirelli P Zero with the difference of just 2ft. However, the gap is greater of about 10ft and 15ft with ExtremeContact and Potenza RE980AS respectively.
When the braking distance was tested on Ice, the results were quite close. And none of the all-season UHP tires were close to the traction of a dedicated winter tire which offers the best braking on ice and snowy conditions.
Ride Comfort & Tire Noise
Pilot Sport AS 3+ tires are quite hard with a high treadwear rating of 500. In daily drive, on street roads, they could be bit stiff on bumps and potholes. Comfort is slightly on a lower side, compared to other top all-season UHP tires, mainly because of the sporty nature of these tires. But you might not even feel the stiff nature of this tire on the good suspension system.
Overall the comfort level is ok, and it will continue to improve once the tires start to wear.
3+ is not the quietest tire in the world but neither it’s very loud. In city drive, usually less than 60mph, you won’t even notice the tire noise. The noise is more noticeable at high speed on highways but it’s at the border of being uncomfortable.
Noise at high speed is common for high performance tires. If you want a super quite tire, then there is a trade-off with performance.
Tread Life & Warranty
A/S 3+ has a very high treadwear rating of 500. This is a hard and sticky tire that wears better than other tires in this category. Tread life of about 45,000 miles is expected from this tire.
Michelin also gives a 45,000 mile treadwear warranty if both front and rear tires have the same size. The mileage warranty is reduced to half if size varies. On top of that, there is a standard uniformity (first 2/32”) and workmanship & Materials warranty.
Cars Suitable for Pilot Sport A/S 3+
These tires come in a range of sizes for 16” – 22” wheels. That covers everything from subcompact cars like Fiat 500 to full size sedans. These are all-season high performance tires ideal for luxury sports sedans and coupes. If you are in an area with light snow in winter and summer all around then have these tires fitted in your Corvette, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others without any hesitation!
|Rim Size||Tire Size Range||Speed Rating||Load Index||UTQG|
|16"||205/55 - 225/50||Y||91 - 92||500 AA A|
|17"||205/45 - 255/40||W - Y||84 - 94||500 AA A|
|18"||205/40 - 285/40||W - Y||85 - 101||500 AA A|
|19"||225/35 - 285/40||W - Y||88 - 103||500 AA A|
|20"||235/35 - 285/35||W - Y||92 - 103||500 AA A|
|21"||295/35||Y||107||500 AA A|
|22"||265/40 - 285/35||Y||106 - 108||500 AA A|