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Pirelli, BFGoodrich, Goodyear and more all make fantastic tires for performance car applications. But arguably, one brand—and one tire—has emerged as the modern gold standard for go-fast rubber: Michelin. Slapped on every properly potent Porsche for the past two decades as well as all manner of exotic supercar and enthusiast vehicles, it's very hard to go wrong with some of the upper-end Michelin rubber for track days or just a spirited backroad run. The brand’s Pilot Sport 4 tires have been the gold standard for the past few years, but now Michelin is launching the Pilot Sport 5, and it looks to be a pretty serious upgrade.
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We’ve driven our fair share of vehicles on Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4s. These tires represent remarkable engineering and handling capabilities. According to Michelin, the Pilot Sport 5s will be even more impressive once they’re available. In tests done by German certification agency Technischer Überwachungsverein, or TÜV, as well as the German Motor Vehicle Monitoring Association known as DEKRA, the Pilot Sport 5 beat out Bridgestone’s Potenza Sport, Continental’s PremiumContact 6, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, and Pirelli’s P Zero 4 in terms of longevity, wet-weather braking, wet-weather handling, and dry braking on a Volkswagen Golf R Mk. 8.
Of course, that's according to Michelin, so take all that with a grain of salt (at least until we can get our hands on for some testing). But I have little reason to believe these will be a swing and a miss, somehow.
Michelin reports that the company’s Dynamic Response technology, which includes a hybrid aramid-and-nylon-ply belt around the tire’s structure, “guarantees optimum transmission of driving instructions and further increases driving pleasure.” What that means in actual human language is that the tire’s design is optimized for feedback and knowing exactly what your wheels are doing.
As for when you’ll be able to get your hands on a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 5s, they’re already available in Europe. The United States will start getting them on March 1. When they launch, they’ll be available in 50 dimensions to fit all your needs, from 17 to 21 inches. I can’t wait to see how Michelin made the best tire around better.
More from The Drive's Guides & Gear Team on tires
- Check out my 1,200-mile road test of Vredestein's Wintrac Pro winter tires.
- Here are the differences between all-seasons and summer tires.
- Or learn the differences between winter and all-season tires.
- And why not let us show you how to drive in snow properly.
- If you're in the market for winter tires or winter tires for your SUV, we've got you covered there too.
- And if you live in a sunnier place, here's our guide to the best all-season tires on the market.