In the spring of 2016, Michelin introduced their redesigned Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tire as a successor to A/S 3. 3Plus 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 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ 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.
Pilot Sport A/S 3+ Road Test
How Good is the Dry Road Grip, Steering Response and Handling
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/S 3+. 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 has more rubber on the outside shoulder and more rigid blocks on the outer edge of the tire for better handling and lateral grip. The outer edge of the tire is optimized for dry performance providing better contact with the road surface. This Michelin’s all-season tire has phenomenal dry road grip that is almost similar to summer tires. Usually, if an all-season tire is excellent in dry, the performance suffers in the snow. But, this is not the case with A/S 3+ and it has good snow traction as well. A/S 3+ is a dry biased tire with more focus on the dry performance and it’s ideal for spirited drivers living in the area that has light snow in winter.
A/S 3+ has a beefy but rigid sidewall that stays absolutely stable at sharp turns under any load. The Steering response is precise with a lot of feedback from the front tires. When going into a corner you know exactly how much grip you’ve got and how much steering lock you need to hit the apex. And, as you’re coming out of the corner you know exactly how much throttle you can use to really balance the car on the edge of grip. These are small little details that have huge importance in performance tires category which Michelin has really dominated. It’s good to see these details in Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tires as well.
There is no doubt that this Michelin’s all-season tire is the best in dry road performance compared to the other top of the line brands.
Wet Conditions Testing
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.
A/S 3+ has an extreme level of silica that is included in the tread compound that provides a high level of wet road 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, A/S 3+ has variable thickness sipes, the tiny slits in the tread, to break water tension and lock together to help prevent hydroplaning.
Performance in Snow and Winter Conditions
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.
A/S 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.
Ride Comfort & Tire Noise
Pilot Sport A/S3+ 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 a good suspension system.
Overall the comfort level is ok, and it will continue to improve once the tires start to wear.
A/S 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.
Comparison with other UHP All-Season Tires
A/S 3+ vs Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS
Bridgestone’s Potenza RE980AS is another high quality all-season tire with more focus on performance. You would be surprised to hear that, in our opinion, it exceeds A/S 3+ in dry grip and steering response. RE980AS steering feel is very light and it reacts immediately to the driver’s input. But what it lacks is the road feedback like A/S 3+ has, which is important for high-speed cornering and also in wet conditions to keep the car more stable.
RE980AS performance in wet conditions is at par with A/S 3+. It has a good wet traction, rapid steering response and, strong braking power. In winter and light snow RE980AS performance is second best to A/S 3+. Although it has good snow traction it cannot beat the straight line traction that Michelin provides.
Comfort wise, RE980AS is better on bumps and potholes but the tread noise is louder than A/S 3+.
Bridgestone gives a 50K mile tread life warranty on Potenza RE980AS compared to Micheline’s 45K mile tread life warranty. The tread life is almost similar for both tires but Michelin has a reputation for better treadwear than other brands.
A/S 3+ vs Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06
ExtremeContact DWS06 is another high quality all-season tire with more emphasis on comfort and winter performance. DWS06 doesn’t have the dry grip and performance that A/S 3+ provides but the comfort level of this tire exceeds that of Michelin. The steering is good but little slower to respond and the tire needs to be kept within its limits to avoid understeer at high speed cornering.
DWS06 provides a good wet traction and is very balanced on a wet road. The wet performance is at par with A/S 3+. DWS06 has a very good snow traction and easier to drive. However, A/S 3+ has a superior straight-line traction in light snow.
Continental gives a 50K mile tread life warranty and could be $10 – $20 cheaper than Michelin depending on the tire size.
A/S 3+ vs Pirelli P Zero All-Season Plus
P Zero all-season plus tire is just good in about all categories and doesn’t standout in a particular area. The dry traction and handling feels sporty but doesn’t match with Michelin. PZero Plus also has reliable wet traction and cornering stability but again A/S 3+ is just superior. Snow performance is at par with Pilot Sport A/S3+ except that Michelin is just too good in straight-line snow traction. Pirelli cannot overcome Michelin in performance category but what it exceeds in are the comfort and lower tread noise.
Pirelli offers a 50K mile tread life warranty on this tire and is about $10 – $20 cheaper than A/S 3+.
Tread Life, Warranty and Tire Specifications
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.
A/S 3+ comes 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|