Michelin Pilot Alpin 4: Test at the wheel of a Porsche 911 Carrera S and a Mercedes E63 AMG
To get an idea of what the Pilot Alpin 4 has to offer, Michelin organised a series of test drives behind the wheel of two high performance cars: a Porsche 911 Carrera S and a Mercedes E 63 AMG. Our impression: Whether driving on wet paving stones in Riga, on snow covered paths in the surrounding countryside or on the ice-covered tracks at the test centre, the Pilot Alpin 4 comes up trumps!
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By presenting the Pilot Alpin 4 in Latvia, Michelin were sure to find the ideal weather conditions to reveal its alpine tyre’s qualities i.e. a tyre that handles well on all winter road surfaces: A cold and dry motorway, wet paving stones, snow-covered paths, ice-covered roads… And on the test day, conditions were just right: Temperatures close to 0°C, freezing rain, slippery roads….
Since the Pilot Alpin is a sports tyre, Michelin selected two exceptional sports cars for us to push the tyres to the limit.
- a Porsche 911 Type 991 Carrera S with 400 HP, fitted with Pilot Alpin 4 tyres with a directional tread pattern (245/35 R20 and 295/30 R20) ;
- a Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG with 550 HP, fitted with Pilot Alpin 4 tyres with an asymmetrical tread pattern in 255/35 R19 96Y.
In town and on road driving
To boost our confidence, Michelin first proposed a mixed surface drive. The route chosen took us through rural areas, along dual carriageways and down the town centre’s paved streets.
The drive started behind the wheel of the Porsche 911. Our first observation: The tyre maintained a high level of traction even in the most challenging situations and the ESP (not possible to declutch) never flinched. The car/running gear interaction left a positive impression, even on road surfaces where a car with this amount of power is usually not at ease. We caught ourselves forcing the pace allowing us to appreciate how efficient this tyre is with the latest 911.
We completed the test drive with the Mercedes E 63 AMG, a monster that delivers exhilarating acceleration performance. We ran the risk of disconnecting the driving aids to test the traction. No nasty surprises: The Pilot Alpin 4 held the road admirably well. As we returned to a more academic pace, the tyre was silent and comfortable.
Driving on snow and ice
To appreciate the grip provided by the Pilot Alpin 4 with a directional tread pattern, we tested the tyre on a large kart track completely covered with snow and ice. The track’s technical layout allowed us to test the tyre for targeted performances: Acceleration, braking, lateral grip… We weren’t aiming to set a record but to gauge the tyre’s behaviour on winter roads in normal driving conditions.
For this test, the Pilot Alpin 4 was really impressive. It was easy to handle, with gradual grip loss, excellent steering ability in bends and virtually no understeer… With these tyres fitted, the Porsche 911 seems capable of crossing a snow-bound mountain pass!
To end the test series, Michelin reserved a fun session to demonstrate how a high powered saloon, fitted with Pilot Sport Alpin 4 tyres, handles on snow.
Back behind the wheel of the Mercedes E63 AMG, we set off for a slalom test on a snow-covered track with the driving aids still disconnected. As a rule, driving a heavy, powerful car on snow can be compared with a physically demanding rodeo.
Indeed, with the 550 HP engine, we quickly lost traction and we needed to ease pressure on the right pedal. However, the acceleration potential is good, and the car is easy to control… providing you know how to counter-steer.
- Michelin Pilot Alpin 4 : Tyre sizes
- Michelin Pilot Alpin 4 : Performance
- Michelin Pilot Alpin 4 : Technology
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