Many of us have researched, debated, and wasted countless hours trying to figure out the exact winter tire for our individual driving circumstances in the colder months. The Michelin PA4 is a new winter tire that brings up many questions with few reviews to provide answers. I decided to give this new tire a try, and I'll be posting up my thoughts over the next few months.
I decided on a conservative winter package with 18x8 et20 wheels (BMW OEM specs) and a 245/40/18 square setup but couldn't decide between Dunlop 3D, Bridgestone LM60, or Michelin PA4. The PA3 was was not being considered due to many less than stellar snow reviews and it is being replaced by the PA4 which supposedly improves on snow traction. I wanted a tire that would primarily excel in 40F wet weather but can handle 2-6" of snow and get me up my moderately steep hill to my house. My career requires me to get in no matter what the weather but we also have an X1 with snows for the worst days.
So I went with the PA4. It's a great looking tire, should hit all the marks, and is reasonably priced. Initial impressions are very good although I need time to break them in and get aggressive on them.
What I like so far: For starters, the sidewall is square and straight. Many winter tires and all-seasons have a rounded sidewall that will bulge when sizing wheels to try to get a little bit of rim protection. These are a wide tire for an 8" wide wheel and they do not bulge. Next, ride comfort seems excellent. Right away I noticed that those expansion joints and holes in the road are not as sharp as with my 19" Pilot Super Sports, but steering response is preserved to very near that of the summer tires. I don't appreciate much of a turn-in difference in early driving.
That's all for now, but I'll update with further reviews on hydroplaning, aggressive cold wet, cold dry, ice, and snow traction as winter arrives to the Pacific Northwest.
Suspension: Stock ZCP
Wheels: F10 M5 18x8 ET20 low pressure cast replicas by Eurosport, purchased from M o d bargains.com.
Tires: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 245/40/18 purchased at local Discount Tire for $248 each before rebates.