Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Review: Max Performance For Summer

Robert Herrera-COR-Wheels

By Robert Herrera

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There has been rave customer feedback about Michelin Pilot Sport 4S since its release. As a result of Michelin’s cooperation with the most prestigious producers, the tire enjoys tough constructions, advanced groove designs with much thought put into traction maintenance, and specialized compound materials.

This review will summarize our findings of its real-life performance during the COR Wheels Tire Test, to confirm how much of these investments translate to road handling.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Specifications & Features

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Tire TypeMax Performance Summer
Tire Size17″ – 22″
Weight18.92 LBS – 35.27 LBS
Load Index84 – 108
Load RangeSL – XL
Speed Rating– Y: up to 186 mph
Warranty20,000 – 30,000 miles

Michelin joined hands with Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi to produce Pilot Sport 4S, utilizing key engineered technologies for drivers of serious luxury vehicles, performance sedans, and sports cars. 

Like all same-sector tires, Pilot Sport 4S is not meant for storage, servicing, or usage in freezing (or below-freezing) temp in ice or snow, hence the lack of features tailored for these conditions.

Highlights of this tire model include: 

  • Premium Touch sidewalls (available for select sizes), created through innovative laser technologies, improve the tire’s sleek design for luxury cars.
  • The asymmetric pattern, coupled with side-by-side compounds (meeting 24 Hours of Le Mans standards) and low-void shoulders, maximizes the best hybrid rubber for better braking and dry handling.
  • Inboard shoulders and center ribs feature silica-blended wet compounds, increasing braking performance on slippery surfaces.
  • Variable Patch 3.0 is computer-modeled to distribute pressure evenly through turns, which improves tire life and reduces hot spots despite aggressive use.
  • Double steel belts (reinforced with wound hybrid) offer high-strength, lightweight constructions to enhance durability, wear, and high-speed manners.
  • Cord filaments balance strength and tension, working with the polyester, single-ply casing to minimize trade-offs between responsive handling and ride quality.
  • Acoustic Technology (for limited sizes) introduces noise-absorbing foam layers for the tire’s inner liner to reduce cabin noise.
  • Connected Tire Systems (for selected tire sizes) feature special sensors to communicate driving data to the car’s system. 

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Review & Performance Test Result

Our team chose the 245/40R18 version as the representative tire size for Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. Installed on the 2022 Audi A5, it was then tested across dry and wet terrains during June and July (for summer evaluation) and January (winter). This was all a part of our 2023 COR Wheels Tire Test.

1. Dry Performance: 9.4/10

Dry Traction: 9.4/10

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S was extremely powerful on asphalt roads. While this tire still let a bit of drifting seep through the corners (just like any other tire), the hybrid rubber buffed out to refill traction loss so quickly that it was hard to notice. 

We started bold at 45 MPH and went through a delightfully breezy strike during straight-line driving, rarely having to change our steering position or squeeze tight to choke out extra grip.

The same seamless performance was retained as we drove into chip seal roads. Sport 4S’s high-strength steel belts and Variable Patch technology adapted well to the extra-hot asphalt and gravel stone, paving the car straight towards 60 MPH in seconds without stutters. Asymmetric patterns with low-void shoulder made braking and deceleration grip just as uneventful, pulling gently yet decisively at counter-turns and lane changes; no pronounced hiccups or panics were observed as with other tires. 

Hence, you can navigate most heavy-traffic lanes with ease, and even maneuver gracefully through the gaps between two different flows without much of an issue.

On much rougher terrains than regular streets (like cobblestone paths or brick roads), we also spotted very little traction change – except for a few harmless over-reactions (slightly too-tight grip) during curves. 

And when moving to highways beyond 80 MPH, Pilot Sport 4S found its footing right away and embraced spirited leans confidently, while still leaving us extra margin to fall back on any time unexpected roadblocks intruded.

All in all, you can trust Pilot Sport 4S to grip the terrain with excellent boldness most of the time, regardless of car model and driving techniques. Plus, given how our five-member team experienced no heavy drags or stalls under the contact patch, you will likely tow trailers of 300 to 400 lbs just fine.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S dry test
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S dry test

Corner Stability: 9.3/10

Pilot Sport 4S led the competition in corner stability thanks to the aggressive yet very flexible on-center ribs and computer-modeled patch. 

Gradual curves were an obvious given with smooth, clean cuts, rarely startling us out of the track with abrupt hiccups or unexpected jostles; guaranteed consistent inputs, you can maintain unwavering strikes at 40 to 55 MPH from corner entries to exits without changing positions.

Our back-to-back alternations between braking and downshifting before corners also resulted in little to no drama. Pilot Sport 4S took much less time to adjust itself than some competitors (say, Continental ExtremeContact) and handled whiplashing flicks with impressive internal strength. 

Hence, during favorable, moderate traffic flow with few passing vehicles, you can even attempt powerslides and controlled oversteer that lands nicely within the line; no actual danger will be at play.

A few more complex cornering techniques were involved in the latter half of the ride, and again, Pilot Sport 4S held its ground excellently. Cases in point are when our car cut through the apex; Pilot Sport 4S had no issue walking the fine line near the apex and retained excellent speed mid-corners. Slingshot effects carried just as delightful, as the ribs grew surprisingly stronger despite our entry speed sacrifice and passed through corner exits gracefully.

At times, the weight transfers before cornering were a bit muted; fortunately, that is likely the only drawback you need to pay attention to. 

Steering Response: 9.3/10

On straight lines, Sport 4S delivered very pronounced and responsive steering, staying accurately punctual to the initial inputs without much of our effort. 

Occasional sharp U-turns or countersteering did not require as much force as some competitors, either; hence, even with extreme dynamic handling, you can still relax your hand positions and avoid overworking the wrists.

However, consecutive curves or steep ascents over long periods (more than 30 minutes) did result in more muted feedback at higher speeds. The issue could be handled with powerful, unwavering handbrake turns, but you should still err on the safer side by keeping an eye on the road until the danger zone is over.

2. Wet Performance: 8.6/10

Wet Traction: 8.7/10

The tire carried lots of its dry confidence into damp weather, and did not startle out of track when cold water seeped through. Interlocking grooves and water channels aside, Sport 4S also benefited from the very sturdy inboard shoulders, which ensured our car did not trip over itself during speed changes or reversing. 

As a result, we could handle wide-radius paths with relatively the same driving speeds as on dry terrains (40 to 55 MPH, sometimes 60) and knew our way around predictable stutter.

Nevertheless, if you are not experienced, deep water beyond 5 inches is still rather ominous. Slippage occurred in shorter intervals here, and still lingered for a few more seconds even after we had already passed that road section. Drive slowly (preferably below 40 MPH) and avoid extreme corners if possible. 

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S wet test
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S wet test

Hydroplaning Resistance: 8.6/10

Hydroplaning is the last thing you need to worry about with Sport 4S. Except for some rare occurrences with deep, saturated patches (beyond 6 inches) and tight corners with pooled stagnant water, Sport 4S mostly kept its water evacuation in check. The thin coatings of cold water around the contact points were pronounced but not enough to falter the tire, hence our non-dramatic endeavors at regular driving rates.

Still, long hours of driving under the rain seemed like a major reason behind the groove’s slightly burnout performance. And when our car entered a flooded highway (about 4 inches) under a downpour, the tire could not displace water as fast, trapping the water under it. So you’d better wait until the rain eases off.

3. Comfort: 8.6/10

Ride Quality: 8.7/10

Our car trampled through road cracks with a great cushioned feel and suffered from little to no transparent jostles or throwback. Its subtle handlings admittedly lost some of their edges when we moved to rougher terrains, but not enough to compromise your major comfort during long hours of driving – unless the tread has significantly deteriorated.

Tire Noise: 8.5/10

The higher the speed, the noisier Pilot Sport 4S became. But the good news is that, as long as the driving speed was below 55 MPH, we could actually tune out these noises 20 to 25 minutes into our rides. Plus, on well-built roads with few asphalt inconsistencies, you will also likely experience very little road noise.

4. Treadwear and Durability: 8/10

Despite the strong steel belts and nylon reinforcements, Sport 4S was not exactly vulnerable to roadside damage – presumably because of the slightly softer sidewall parts. The 30,000-mile warranty is also pretty unimpressive compared to competitors, so you should look out for signals of treadwear in the first year or two. 

Pilot Sport 4S Pros & Cons


Exceptional dry performance (the best of the list)

Satisfying grip in wet conditions

Great riding comfort


Road noise control could have been better

Underwhelming tread life (though still better than most)

Pilot Sport 4S Competitors & Alternatives

Bridgestone Potenza Sport, Continental ExtremeContact Sport, and Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) are still lagging behind the powerful Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – though they do have some of their own perks.

  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S was a superstar on dry tracks of all terrains and textures. Nevertheless, the wet grip was admittedly not always at its peak.
  • Bridgestone Potenza shone through the noises with extremely responsive steering and athletic lateral grips. However, once pushed to its very limit, the tire started to lose its refinement.
  • Continental ExtremContact led the group with adventurous yet safe leans on highways, even in the wet. Nevertheless, its cornering stability did waver from time to time. 
  • Pirelli PZ4 balanced riding comfort and wet traction better than most, though we would love to see a quicker steering response otherwise. 


In our Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tire review, except for its wet performance – which is slightly behind one or two competitors – it is a champion in every other rated metric. Hence, you can trust the tire to deliver excellent stability on all snowless/iceless on-road terrains without sacrificing major riding comfort.

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Robert Herrera

President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels

Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.

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