By now, you should know that special winter tires are better on snow than summer tires. You should also know that winter tires generally outperform all-season tires in snow. With winter coming early in many parts of the world this year, having traction on snowy roads is certainly important. But how do those snow tires on wet and dry roads?
We turned to pro Jonathan Benson’s tire test for some insight into that. This time we get a direct comparison of Michelin tires in all conditions. The popular Pilot Sport 4S is the group’s dedicated ultra-high-performance tire, joining the all-season AllSeason 4 and CrossClimate high-performance tires, and X-Ice specialty snow tires. Tesla serves as a test vehicle in a variety of locations, offering precise apples-to-apples comparisons in every climate a driver will encounter.
It’s no surprise that the summer-only Pilot Sport 4S is at its best in the dry season and worst in the snow. In contrast, X-Ice is worst in the dry season and best in the snow. All-season tires hold the middle ground, but the raw data doesn’t really tell the story. In snow tests, Benson was impressed with the AllSeason 4 and CrossClimate, noting the AllSeason 4 still has a wide gripping range in all situations, though not as much as the CrossClimate. In terms of lap times, the X-Ice was twice as fast as the 4S, but only a few seconds quicker than the all-season CrossClimate.
That’s noteworthy because the CrossClimate also performs admirably on wet and dry roads. It’s not as precise a tire as the AllSeason 4, but in terms of lap times, it’s only slightly slower in wet and dry conditions. The AllSeason 4 actually beats the 4S in wet braking, but there’s no denying the Pilot Sport’s supremacy for grip and control across all other metrics.
Oddly enough, although the snow tires provided the slowest lap times, Benson said they were great fun for throwing the car around the dry track. X-Ice provides a highly progressive and controllable experience to sideways, although it doesn’t usually win races by drifting around every corner.
This is an interesting display of tires for drivers in areas where snow is not common, or those who just want a set for all situations. Benson offers more insight into this test in a video, and on his website at ban-reviews.com.