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      10-21-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
Transfer
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Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4: An ongoing review

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.

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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.


Last edited by Transfer; 01-05-2013 at 05:12 PM.
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      10-21-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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Yours are asymetrical. I just bought the directional ones for my M5. This PA4 is engineered with Porsche 911 in mind, I guess Michelin did spent lots of time, effort and testing ensuring if it's good enough for the 911, it must be good enough for the M's & AMG's.
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      10-22-2012, 01:10 AM   #3
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Good call, those are the three best winter tires for our cars.

PA4s -best traction on dry and wet winter roads (average for snow and ice)
LM60-best traction on snow and ice (average for dry and wet roads)
3Ds- rank very high on dry/wet/snow/ice but not the best in any category.

I had the same issue and it boiled down to this: If you live downtown and never leave the city (streets are always plowed), stick to the PA4s. If you live in a suburb, and occasionally have long drives in the winter (to go skiing for example) buy the 3Ds. If you live in a really rural area and take trips weekly, LM60s will be your best bet.

I ended up with the 3Ds. The dunlop 4Ds should be available this winter as well.

Let us know how they are, and post what previous winter tires you've used for comparison.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
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.
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      10-22-2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for posting this. I have not gotten the chance to try out the new PA4. Michelin has had a great track record lately with their new tires: PS2 -> PSS was a big upgrade, and they did a great job with a couple other new releases that don't really come in M3 sizes.

Keep us posted on how these do when the snow starts flying.
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      10-22-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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For reference, here's what i've used:
Yokohama W.drive - Terrible winter tire. Just not good at all.
Pirelli Sottozero 240 Serie II - Impressive all around but lacked a little in snow/ice grip. Overall I liked them.
Continental DWS - Awful steering response and turn-in but good grip in most conditions.
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      10-23-2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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How is the stability and ride smoothness of these tires on the highway at 75 mph plus? I have had issues with winter tires being very squirmy and slight rough ride at higher speeds but that's because I did not use Michelin winter tires like the Alpine Pa4. Any flat spotting in the mornings when car is sat overnight and you are going to work, etc?
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      10-24-2012, 09:19 PM   #7
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Well unfortunately I screwed up and didn't see that the wheels are 74.1 centerbore so I get steering vibration above 65mph but I have hub centric rings on the way to fix that and then I can comment more. Driving to work and back this week and wet traction does seem much better than PSS (duh). Also, when the tires break loose on a corner, it seems smoother, more progressive, and more controllable than the already smooth PSS. It's certainly a softer rear end but there's more sidewall, more squishy tread, and 30mm less width.
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      10-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #8
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That happens to some of us. I had ordered 4 nice rims last year for my BMW 5 and they ended up being out of round and I was getting vibration throughout the car even with centering rings and proper road force balancing. I sent the rims back to **********s and they refunded me. I hate vibration and treat it as my enemy. This is why I am very careful to choose the high quality rims and to get good brand tires.
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      10-26-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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My brother has been running on the blizaak lm60 on his E46 M3 without any issues. Had no issues climbing up hills to get home when we had snow last year. Interested in seeing how the PA4's hold up.


Little early for snow tires no?
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      10-26-2012, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pak317 View Post
My brother has been running on the blizaak lm60 on his E46 M3 without any issues. Had no issues climbing up hills to get home when we had snow last year. Interested in seeing how the PA4's hold up.

Little early for snow tires no?
I'd say so on average. Mid to late-November is the period of increased likelihood of snow events usually.
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      10-27-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
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It's not about snow but it is about rain and 45F which is what we have now until end of April. PSS are not good in the wet below 50F. Why do people always think winter tires are only for snow??

I just finished swapping in my hub centric rings and thank goodness, it corrected my wheel vibration on the freeway. I took a little drive and stability at up to 100mph feels great although I think I can tell that I'm missing some width. The tires will squirm a little when making quick lane changes at WOT in the wet but its very controllable. Wet traction is better than PSS and slightly better than Sottozeros. When they break free in the wet it's very progressive and smooth. You notice the rear sliding, but its ridiculously easy to control without traction control robbing the fun (MDM mode). In the wet I have much much more confidence to let the rear be lively and loose than with my summer setup. It's probably noteworthy to mention this is my first RWD vehicle but I do feel confident driving aggressively in it. My other most recent car was a WRX, which didn't lose traction hardly ever, but when it did, it was understeer.

So far I'm really liking the tires and I really dig the wheels now that I fixed the vibration. I'm going to get some spacers for the rear though. ET20 with 245s leaves a lot of open fender in the rear.

Last edited by Transfer; 10-27-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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      11-03-2012, 04:07 AM   #12
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Thanks for posting. I am debating getting the PA4 for this winter and there are very little reviews out there.

I have 3 bald + 1 almost new PA3 on my winter wheels (due to a puncture). My dilema: get 3 PA3s or 4 PA4s? So in my case upgrading to PA4s would be a non-negligeable price difference. If the performance is that much better, I am willing to do the move. So I welcome all info on the PA4 .
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      11-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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12mm Macht Schnell spacers installed on the rear. Much better stance now although 15 or 18mm would have cleared and have been more agressive. I'm happy with the stance and it sits 2-5mm more out than the fronts. I did some aggressive driving on empty wet country roads today and wowee are these tires super controllable. I was able to drift in lane with excellent throttle oversteer control. I also took it up to 120 on open freeway and it was a walk in the park. Very confidence inspiring and I am loving these tires for wet use.
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      11-05-2012, 06:12 AM   #14
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if I may add to your thread ....

I have mine (PA4 directional) installed today and they are very quiet and gives very comfortable ride (when compared to 20" PSS).

I will update my feedback later ...

Last edited by bobblehead; 11-05-2012 at 06:24 PM.
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      11-05-2012, 12:30 PM   #15
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I'm looking at the PA4s as well for my E90, but am pretty unfamiliar with what I need for winter wheel and tire sizes. Sounds like 245/40/18 is the way to go for a square winter set.

I've seen a few wheels that I like from **********s, but have never ordered from them before. I spoke to someone there and he recommended the Sportline CS.16: 18x9.5 ET22 and said spacers wouldn't be necessary with that wheel size. Will 245/40/18 tires work? Would I need a larger size tire for that size wheel (255/45/18, for example)?

Did you take your new wheels to Discount Tire for the mounting/balancing, TPMS, etc?

I've used Discount Tire many times and been very happy with their service and pricing. Just curious if you they'll do everything in addition to selling you the PA4s.

Thanks.
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      11-06-2012, 11:37 AM   #16
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^PM'd.
I did have Discount mount the tires to the wheels, but I did not have TPMS installed so they won't mount them to the car (legal reasons). I had them stuff the wheels/tires in my E90 and I installed at home. 2 weeks later I did it again for the hub rings, and then 1 week later did the rears again for the spacers. I am DONE pulling these wheels off for a while.
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      11-09-2012, 03:00 PM   #17
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Update on dry, cold traction: My tires are broken in now and at 30-40F and dry pavement the grip is just tenacious and responsive. I thought the sottozeros were good in the dry for a winter tire but the PA4s are leaps and bounds better. They dig from a launch, corner hard, and turn in is quick. I almost feel like I'm on my summer PSS (warm weather), which is a huge surprise.
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      11-09-2012, 08:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
if I may add to your thread ....

I have mine (PA4 directional) installed today and they are very quiet and gives very comfortable ride (when compared to 20" PSS).

I will update my feedback later ...
I ordered PA4 directional in 235/40r19 for my f30 too. How they respond on the road?
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      11-10-2012, 07:04 AM   #19
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I am in Toronto. So far I have not seen any snow & ice yet, as I have just driven about 1 week now (400km) and I really like the tires on dry road. I have yet driven these on the highway but for local roads, they are very comfortable to drive on and the steering response is very good (for winter tires).



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I ordered PA4 directional in 235/40r19 for my f30 too. How they respond on the road?
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      11-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #20
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I just found this thread _after_ I ordered my new winter tire set. Fortunately, everyone else concluded the same as me - the PA4s seem to be the way to go. I ordered 245/40/18s for the front and 245/45/18s for the rear, as that would have been closer (by percentage) to the current tire height; after talking with the folks at TireRack this morning, they suggested I also go with a square setup.

Tires to be delivered tomorrow - we generally don't have too much bad weather in St. Louis, but it does get cold and the PSS require too much white-knuckle driving in the winter. I'll look forward to everyone's updates - mine are forthcoming as well!
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      11-19-2012, 10:55 AM   #21
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Where are you guys seeing the PA4 with Directional tread patterns? When i spoke to TR they said it only comes in asymmetrical?

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      11-19-2012, 11:31 AM   #22
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All depends on the size ... most comes in asymmetrical (as shown on this thread) but my size ordered comes in only directional.


http://www.michelinman.com/tire-sele...4/tire-details


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Where are you guys seeing the PA4 with Directional tread patterns? When i spoke to TR they said it only comes in asymmetrical?

Alan
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