while driving a
(245/35 R18 W) on
a combination of roads
This review has been prompted since putting the PSSs back on the car from running a set of winter tyres. Coming back to these after running a set of Continental WinterContact TS 850P (over a mild winter) has clarified my initial impressions. To properly understand the scores I have given the Michelins, I need to give some background to the car they are fitted to and its dynamic traits. The M-lite cars suffer on bumpy, broken UK roads in a similar way to their full M Division bigger brothers. Overly stiff springs, no LSD and 370ft-lbs delivered from 1500rpm taxes rear traction at the very best of times. The suspension is designed for smooth German autobahns when fully loaded. So this car (on standard suspension) is particularly sensitive to the correct tyre match and the pressure they are set to.
On a warm (15deg+) dry day, these tyres are magical. Immense grip, fast steering reactions and great stability. I love them on these days. On 'most' northern UK days i.e. cooler and damp, these tyres seem to stiffen up with the net effect of giving traction problems, having noisy tread-block movement on full lock and a fidgety unsettled ride that lowers confidence because I feel the car is skimming the surface of the road. Interestingly with full heavy rain, they seem to find more traction than just damp conditions, so maybe the tread design clears water better than the rubber compound seems to deal with lower temperatures?
In contrast, the Conti winter tyres lost all the dynamic sporty benefits of the PSS (they are winter tyres after all) but replaced them with a far better ride and greater confidence in wet/cold weather. They are winter tyres!
Back to the Michelins. Set to 34psi all-round and with the temperature hovering around 10degrees, all the negatives have come to the fore again. On the first day of fitting them back on the car, the steering precision, stability and dynamic behaviour where amplified directly after removing the softer Contis. The car felt dynamically amazing.....However since then I have adjusted back to how they behave on a daily basis.
My conclusion is this; On the right car in a warmer climate, these are fantastic. If you do track days in warmer climates - amazing. I think they work well in a narrow window provided they suit the dynamics and power delivery of the car. In the UK on an M140i, I find them disappointing on more days than I love them. So the scores I have given them actually reflect the car/tyre match and not necessarily the tyres on their own. For what I want my car to behave like, I'll probably try a set of Goodyear Asymmetric 5s next. Hopefully these will give most of the plus points of both the Michelins and the Contis combined. I also need to set aside some funds for a suspension upgrade.