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Michelin launches it new sports tyre, the Michelin Pilot Sport 3

New tyres Published the 25/02/2010

Who said that sports cars and driving pleasure are on the wane? In a general energy saving climate, Michelin is launching its latest sports tyre, the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 Green X, combining high performance and environmental conservation.

With its new sports tyre, Michelin is cleverly supporting the growing sports market. Better than its predecessor (Michelin Pilot Sport 2), the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 brakes 3 metres shorter, gets 10% more mileage, significantly reduces fuel consumption yet preserves the irreproachable road-holding for which the Pilot Sport range is known. The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyre is designed for sports cars but can also be fitted to a mid-range car to offer maximum pleasure, safety and look.

We tested the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 on the Almeria test tracks in the south of Spain. Although known for its dry climate, we compared the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 with its main rivals, the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A, the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT, the Continental SportContact 3, the GoodYear Eagle F1 Asymetric, and the Pirelli P Zero in the rain with an outside temperature of 11°.

Road holding trials on dry surfaces.

Unfortunately, this turned into a drive in the wet. Nevertheless, it is in these weather conditions that the average driver can best appreciate the difference in performances between tyres. And this was indeed the case.

4 Volkswagen Sirocco TDi 140ch, two vehicles fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, one with Continental SportContact 3, and the last with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT tyres. On a very winding circuit, with tight corners, we did several laps with each of the cars to familiarize ourselves with the track and reduce significant driving differences during the trial. For this first match, the results were indisputable. The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 offers better road-holding than its competitors. The ESP is triggered much later, the vehicle enters the corner better and follows its trajectory, meaning that the tyre grips. Successive laps with the various tyre brands confirmed the verdict.

Trialson wet surfaces

Grip test of the tyre Michelin Pilot Sport 3 Copyright © :
Michelin chose to compare the Pilot Sport 3 with the best competitor tyres of the moment. On a fast track with large corners, the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 was compared to the Bridgestone Potenza RE050 A on an Audi A5 3.0 TDiQuattro 240HP, and with the Pirelli P0 on an Audi TT 1.8 petrol TFi 160HP. The difference is still there but less perceptible for an inexperienced driver than in the first trial. The vehicles had to be brought closer to their limits and at high speed to notice a difference between the tyres. It is unlikely that an ordinary driver would meet such a driving situation, unless it was for an emergency manoeuvre on the motorway. Yet, is it not in just such conditions that the slightest gain in grip takes on its full importance?

The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyre has a smaller contact patch than its predecessor the Pilot Sport 2 and yet is just as good at road holding. The smaller contact patch leads to a gain in weight, reduced rolling resistance and ultimately lower fuel consumption.

Braking on wet surface

Braking tests on wet surface of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3Copyright © :
A dreaded yet frequent situation, emergency braking consists of stopping a vehicle in the shortest possible distance. For most modern vehicles fitted with ABS this means really hitting the brakes without letting up in pressure. The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyre was compared to the famous GoodYear Eagle F1 Asymmetric on a BMW 320D 163CH.

The vehicles were fitted with a high-precision GPS to measure speed and distance covered. The road was constantly watered to simulate intense rain. The vehicle was stabilised at a speed of 90kph, sudden braking, pedal pushed down until complete stop.

The measurements transmitted by the GPS are clear. The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 brakes on average 3 metres shorter than its rival (27m compared to 30m for our tests). The cumulative measurements throughout the day indicated the same difference in favour of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3.

Due to the importance of this test for drivers it is regrettable that other top range brands were not included in this test.

It would seem from the day of tests that Michelin has moved ahead in terms of sports tyres. We await the counter-offensive impatiently, in particular from Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli and Dunlop and above all the comparison with the new Continental SportContact 5.

The development of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 required almost 50 000 hours of computer simulations and over 100 000 km of driving. These efforts enabled a very uniform tyre to be developed, which rapidly rises in temperature at low speeds (hence more rapidly effective: road-holding, braking, etc.), but which doesn’t overheat at high speed, a guarantee of safety.

Identity  :

  • The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 equips a wide range of vehicles, from the Fiat 500 Abart, to the Mercedes AMG
  • Specially shaped “Anti-surf System” shoulder and “Wet Grip Elastomer” to reduce the risks of aquaplaning
  • Introduction of “Green Power Compound” technology offering wear life and fuel consumption advantages.
  • New generation of “Long Lasting Elastomer” that increases the compound’s elasticity without breaking.
  • Dimensions available from launch: 195/45 R16 84V XL-205/55 ZR16 91W-205/55 R16 91V-205/50 R16 87V-205/45 ZR16 87W XL-205/45 R16 83V-205/50 ZR17 93W XL-205/45 ZR17 88W XL-205/40 ZR17 84W XL-225/45 ZR17 91Y-225/45 ZR17 94W XL-225/45 ZR17 94Y XL-235/45 ZR17 97Y XL-245/45 ZR17 99Y XL-245/40 ZR17 91Y-225/40 ZR18 92W XL-225/40 ZR18 (92Y) XL-235/40 ZR18 (95Y) XL-245/40 ZR18 (97Y) XL-255/35 ZR18 94Y XL-265/35 ZR18 (97Y) XL-275/35 ZR18 (99Y) XL-245/40 ZR19 (98Y) XL-255/40 ZR19 100Y XL-275/40 ZR19 101Y.

Let us recall that tyre tests may reveal significant differences in performance according to the dimensions of tyres used, vehicle settings, ambient temperature, ground temperature, etc...