Pirelli P Zero vs Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

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Choosing between two or three models can be tough. Imagine you’re on the hunt for a high-performance summer tire for your sporty sedan or coupe. This search might bring you to two top contenders: the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and the Pirelli P Zero. Both are standout tires, but it’s tricky to figure out which one tops the other. You’re stuck in a bind.

To help clear up this confusion, today’s comparison will dive into both models. I’ll break down their pros and cons and strive to pinpoint which tire might be the better pick for you.

Pirelli P Zero

Let’s clear up a common mistake about the P Zero tire first. Although the original model exists, I took the P Zero PZ4 for a spin. This version is an upgrade from its predecessor.

Pirelli plays a big role in Formula 1, supplying tires. This involvement means that some of the high-tech goodies from the race track make their way into tires for everyday driving. The P Zero PZ4’s rubber mix includes silica and carbon black. This blend allows Pirelli to tweak the tire slightly to meet the specific needs of car makers.

For the versions not already on a car when you buy it, the P Zero PZ4 boasts an asymmetric tread pattern. This design includes wider shoulder blocks to boost how the tire handles. At the heart of the tire, central ribs ensure it stays steady and straight on the road.

Even summer tires need to handle wet roads well, and Pirelli’s P Zero PZ4 does just that. The silica in the mix keeps the tire softer on damp surfaces, while the circumferential grooves play a crucial role in moving water away from the tire. Plus, micro sipes across the tread help the tire grip the road tightly, ensuring top-notch traction and grip.

Inside, the P Zero PZ4 is pretty solid, with twin steel belts reinforced by nylon and a Kevlar ZeroDegree cap ply. This build means the tire keeps its shape, even when you take corners at speed.

Pirelli also developed a special tech named PNCS, short for Pirelli Noise Cancelling System. It’s a type of foam that eats up noise, making for a quieter ride. However, it’s worth noting that not every size of the P Zero PZ4 comes with this feature.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

The French brand is famous for crafting top-notch tires, and its Pilot Sport series is a brilliant example. The Pilot Sport 4S, a notch above its predecessor, the 4, introduces significant enhancements across various terrains.

Michelin, mirroring Pirelli’s strategy, pulled insights from its racing tech, particularly the Le Mans tires. They crafted the Pilot Sport 4S using a dual-material mix, blending in silica for better grip whether it’s dry or wet compared to its older sibling. This required dividing the tire into two distinct sections.

The outer part boasts this hybrid mix, focusing on grip and stopping power on dry surfaces. Meanwhile, the middle portion uses silica-rich rubber, boosting control on wet roads. For handling heavy rain, its circumferential grooves are a game changer, pushing water away efficiently and preventing hydroplaning.

Inside, the Pilot Sport 4S is reinforced with twin steel belts wrapped in a mix of Aramid and nylon. This combo keeps the tire light yet incredibly tough, ensuring minimal sidewall flex.

Michelin also tackles noise reduction with their Michelin Acoustic Technology, similar to Pirelli’s method. This involves strategically placing foam within the tire to soak up road noise. However, like Pirelli, not every tire features this noise-quelling tech.

Performance Comparison

Let’s dive into how these tires stack up under various conditions, now that we’ve set the stage.

How do they perform in dry conditions?

Both tires are built to excel in dry conditions, and they absolutely do. The French and Italian models stand out as top contenders in the realm of high-performance summer tires.

Although both excel, there are slight differences that might not be evident on the road. In scenarios like these, the Pilot Sport 4S and the P Zero PZ4 offer superb grip and traction. This means no slipping during acceleration or issues with understeer or oversteer in turns.

When pushed to the limits on roads, both tires show impressive performance, with the Michelin being slightly more adhesive. It’s not that you can’t drift with either, but the Pilot Sport 4S seems to require a bit more effort to do so.

The story is similar on the racetrack, where both tires shine. However, there’s an interesting point to note. Before pushing them to their limits, both need to warm up, which is expected. Once at the ideal temperature, the Pilot Sport 4S shows remarkable consistency in performance. If you’re timing your laps, you’ll notice little variation. The P Zero PZ4, while also delivering solid performance, doesn’t feel as steady, though its design allows you to maximize its potential.

Regarding grip and traction, minor differences exist between the two, but nothing significant, as both perform exceptionally in dry conditions.

As for braking distances, what more can be said? Both are outstanding, with very short stopping distances. The Pilot Sport 4S and the P Zero PZ4 are nearly on par, with the Michelin having a slight edge.

How They Perform on Wet Roads

The P Zero PZ4 and Pilot Sport 4S excel in both dry and wet conditions, a notch above their extreme performance summer tire counterparts. They stand out as top performers in their category when faced with wet pavements.

Kicking off with the braking tests, the Michelin tire emerges as the leader, stopping in a shorter distance than the P Zero PZ4 — possibly the best in its class. The Pirelli isn’t far behind, though, with braking distances just a tad longer than those of the Pilot Sport 4S.

When it comes to driving on wet roads, worry not. Both tires offer impressive grip and traction. Even on winding roads in the rain, they don’t fall short. You’ll feel secure and in control.

However, when you take them to the track, the differences in wet performance become noticeable. Here, the P Zero PZ4 from Italy slightly edges out its competition. Both tires maintain excellent stability, thanks to their rubber compounds and tread designs working in harmony to keep a firm grip. Yet, the Pirelli tire manages to cling on a bit tighter. The distinctions might be small, but they’re significant enough to mention.

In aquaplaning scenarios, the results vary. On straight roads, Michelin holds its ground at higher speeds than Pirelli. However, in corners, the P Zero PZ4 excels in water evacuation, staying more stable and grounded.

Are they good at handling?

Max performance tires, like the Pilot Sport 4S and P Zero PZ4, excel in giving you top-notch handling. Each tire shines in its unique way, even though they have some small differences.

The Pilot Sport 4S stands out for its incredible handling. It responds instantly to your commands, allowing you to steer your car with pinpoint accuracy without feeling too sensitive. Plus, it keeps you in the loop, giving you all the details on how each corner of your car is performing.

The P Zero PZ4 is just as responsive. It reacts immediately when you turn the steering wheel and feels stable and secure. However, it starts off feeling a bit less connected than the Pilot Sport 4S until you get moving. As you dial in more steering, it becomes more communicative, offering more feedback the more you turn.

While the Pilot Sport 4S has a slight edge in handling, the P Zero PZ4 deserves applause for how it behaves in mid-corner, showing off its lively character.

How well-refined are the tires for normal driving?

When it comes to these tires, they’re not the coziest on the block. Don’t expect them to match the comfort of touring tires.

Both types of tires do a decent job for everyday driving, yet they don’t offer the same feel. The Pirelli P Zero PZ4 stands out a bit more for daily drives. Its sidewalls are sturdy in turns but still manage to smooth out some bumps. Noise-wise, it’s generally quiet, though hitting a big pothole might make a louder noise.

Michelin is close behind in terms of comfort and quietness. It might feel a tad firmer than the P Zero PZ4, but it’s definitely not the roughest ride out there. As for noise, Michelin and Pirelli are pretty much on par.

Do any of them offer a warranty?

When comparing these two tires, the standout feature is the warranty coverage. It’s common for tires in this segment to lack a treadwear warranty, given that performance tires are frequently pushed to their extremes. Hence, manufacturers typically refrain from offering warranties.

However, Michelin breaks the mold with its Pilot Sport 4S, which includes a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty. This is in stark contrast to the P Zero PZ4, which does not come with any treadwear warranty at all. This difference might influence your decision significantly.

Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Pros and Cons


  • More wallet-friendly
  • Optimized for everyday use
  • Enhanced resistance to water in turns


  • Grip and traction not as strong at the edge
  • Less precise feedback when steering straight

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Pros and Cons


  • Outstanding performance on dry surfaces
  • Quick stops in the wet
  • Warranty covers 30,000 miles of treadwear


  • A tougher ride
  • Higher price tag

Which is the Better Tire for Me?

Choosing the right tire can be a real head-scratcher, even for me. If you noticed how much I leaned on words like “slightly” and “a bit,” you get how neck-and-neck these options are. Still, I’ve gotta make the call.

If top-notch performance is what you’re aiming for, the Pilot Sport 4S stands out as the ultimate pick. It’s the cream of the crop for those chasing the best.

On the flip side, if your wallet’s feeling the pinch and city driving is your main gig, the P Zero PZ4 shines as a stellar, more budget-friendly option.

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Lucas Liam

Hi, I'm Liam, the enthusiast behind Off Road Genius. With more than 10 years of conquering diverse terrains, my experience with Jeeps extends beyond the ordinary. I've mastered the intricate details of these off-road champions, pushing their capabilities to the limit. Through this platform, I share my profound knowledge and lessons learned from countless miles on the trail. I'm here to inspire, educate, and guide you through the thrilling world of Jeeps. So, buckle up for this adventure-filled ride!

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