Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Review

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Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Review
Bottom Line

If you want winter traction for your performance car -- without sacrificing actual performance -- experts and owners say the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 is the best snow tire you can buy. It's pricey, however, only available in limited sizes, and won't provide as much grip as some non-performance tires when the going gets really tough.

ProsImpressive cold-weather handling, Very good grip on snow and ice, Long-wearing, Ride is comfortable; quietConsNot best for harsh conditions, Only fair wet and dry braking

Breaking it down

Performance

Sporty, even on ice and snow. If you drive your sports car or performance sedan on cold, snowy, or icy roads, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 is for you. Its rubber stays soft in cold weather, so you won't slip and slide -- and yet it still handles crisply according to expert tests and user feedback, although braking on cleared roads is "just so-so" in one top test (like other performance winter tires). The PA4 impresses on snow and ice, too, beating its rivals in two expert tests. Still, you won't enjoy the ultimate snow-and-ice grip of the harsh-winter Michelin X-Ice Xi3.

Comfort

Very comfortable -- and pretty quiet, too. Traditionally, performance winter tires ride softer than summer tires -- and that holds true for the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4. It rates "very good" for comfort in a top test. It's quiet for a performance winter tire, too. One top source rates the Michelin PA4 "good" for noise, while most of its rackety rivals rate "fair" or "poor."

Durability

Expect long tread life. Unlike most winter tires, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 carries a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty. There's a catch, though. You can't collect on the PA4's warranty until the tread is worn dangerously thin, at 2/32 inch (TireRack.com recommends replacing winter tires when they have 5/32 inch of tread left). And you must have installation documents to prove that you run the tires only between September 1 and April 30. Be that as it may, owners at TireRack.com give the Alpin PA4 excellent feedback for treadwear -- a 9 out of 10 rating.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

ConsumerReports.org tests performance winter tires (including the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4) as part of its ongoing coverage of winter tires. Editors rate each tire's performance on snowy, icy, dry and wet roads, as well as ride comfort, noise and rolling resistance.

2. About.com

Review: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4, Sean Phillips, Not Dated

The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 impresses Sean Phillips (About.com's guide to tires and wheels) at a Michelin press event. It handles every snowy, icy road condition on the Quebec test course, including a sweeping uphill turn that stumps other tires.

3. Tire Rack

Testing Performance Winter / Snow Tires: Which Have the Right Balance of Performance?, Editors of TireRack.com, Nov. 15, 2013

Here, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 faces off against three performance-oriented winter tires and emerges triumphant. It provides good traction on all surfaces -- snow, ice and wet -- without exacting too much of a hit to overall car performance when road conditions are better.

4. Tire Rack

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4, Contributors to TireRack.com, As of November 2015

Only about 40 owners have provided feedback for this pricey performance tire here, but most give it strong ratings. Reviewers report the number of miles they've driven the tires, and where, and on what type of car, and their driving style. Around 99 percent of owners consider it to be the best performance snow tire.

5. M3Post.com

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4: An Ongoing Review, Contributors to M3Post.com, As of November 2015

A picky BMW M3 driver started this thread to share -- in detail -- how he likes driving the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 in Seattle winters. Over the course of two winters, other BMW M3 and M5 owners have chimed in with their experiences with the PA4. All are satisfied; however, no new posts have been added since late 2014.