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michelin all season tire test
A Tire for All Seasons  
Michelin AS3+ All Season Radials

There are several factor's that late model Corvette enthusiasts look for when choosing a tires. The main factor centers around what the owner intends to do with his toy.  These include street performance, track performance or like most, an occasional cruise on a sunny dry afternoon.

The Corvette is a performance orientated vehicle. The C7 is loaded with performance tech that rivals a fighter jet. The base and performance models can sprint to sixty mph in under four seconds, have neck breaking stopping ability and take curves like a formula racing car. The cars engine and suspension technology is however limited by one main ingredient, its ability to transmit all that wonderful power to the ground.

The only part of the Corvette that makes contact with the road is its tires.  A few inches of rubber on each corner is the only connection your car has with the World.     To that end most Corvette owners are very aware of the limitations of current tire technology. Those limitations manifest themselves in a constant struggle between performance and drive ability. On the one hand Corvette drivers want a tire that can safety transmit gobs of torque to the pavement and on the other hand they expect the tire to behave in a civil manner for more mundane chores like taking a drive down a country road or heaven forbid a long trip on an interstate.

Michelin has long been considered the benchmark for high performance tire technology. The Euro super car set has always depended on Michelin to deliver maximum performance from their exotics.  The C7 and soon to be released C8 have as of late achieved super car status.  Americas only sports car deserves a set of rubber that can rival its European rivals.

This takes us back to the question of exactly what do Corvette owners want to do with their cars and just what do they expect from a performance tire. The C7 Corvette was designed for a wide variety of chores, Engine output varies form around 455 hp on base models, 650 hp for the Z06 to over 750 hp for the top dog ZR1. A very special set of tires is required to transmit that sort of power to the ground.  Rear wheel technology has in fact reached a point of diminishing returns.

michelin all season tire test

There are only two factory options available to late model Corvettes in terms of tires. The factory supplies a set of Michelin Super Sport ZP run flat tires for everyday driving or with a Z07 option a set of Pilot Cup racing slicks. Both of these tires deliver stellar performance on warm, dry pavement.  The sticky compound holds onto the road magnificently and enables the Corvette to generate space shuttle like G forces. The drawback to this racing tire technology is extremely short tread life and a propensity to behave badly on wet pavement. The manufacturer has designated the SS tire for"summer use only". Hey what about Corvettes that don't live in Florida? Many a Northern Corvette owner has been caught by an unpredicted snow event. Michelin to the rescue.

Realizing that the current tires supplied on late model Corvettes fall short of real world environments Michelin developed an alternative to the weather related restriction of the warm weather Super Sport tire. That alternative is the Pilot AS/3 + ZP. The AS stands for all season.  This means that the tire has been designed to handle all types of weather conditions including lite snow while maintaining its high performance characteristics on dry pavement.
michelin all season tire test
Our readers are constantly asking us to recommend an alternative to the sticky summer only OEM Super Sports. The Michelin A/S3 + ZP run flat all season tires have been gaining in popularity especially among the non racing crowd. We contacted Michelin and they were gracious enough to supply us with a set of AS tires to test on our C7 Z06.

The C7 Z06's enormous 650 lb ft. of torque presents a very unique challenge. Our Z is unmerciful in its constant attempt to boil the rear tires on every shift of its seven speed manual transmission.  The stock SS tires can barely keep up with the cars demands in dry conditions. Wet conditions present another level of uncertainty with the Super Sports. We were very interested to see how the Sport A/S's would react in real world dry and wet conditions. We would have loved to test them in snowy conditions but snow is hard to come by in South Florida. Testing parameters included off the line and rolling traction, road noise, braking, comfort , ride quality and street handling characteristics. 

After mounting and balancing our Z06's new shoes were ready for some hard driving.  We deferred the track testing in favor of and all out street assault.  To be honest our after thought testing leads us to believe that the A/S3+ tires can indeed be used for an occasional track day.

After mounting we put about 50 miles of average speed street and highway mile on the tires to break them in. Our first test was to compare the off the line traction of the A/S3's with the previously installed Super Sports. To put it mildly we were blown away with the grip of these so called all season tires. You would expect a significant loss of traction with a harder thread compound. Well guess again the A/S3's bite very hard and managed a very respectable 0 to 60mph time of 3.1 seconds on our first attempt. The best we ever managed with the Super Sports was an up in smoke 3.2 seconds.

It seems that the Engineers at Michelin really did their homework on the new compound and thread design of the A/S3's. The Pilot Sport A/S 3+ features a performance-oriented tread pattern and proven internal construction matched with Michelin's new Helio+ tread compound for a claimed 28% improvement in wet traction. The manufacturer's goal for the new Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is best-in-class handling and braking in dry and wet conditions. Well we can vouch for those claims. Traction for these tires is indeed world class. 

Our Z's propensity to go sideways on every up or down shift was completely reigned in.  Most noticeable is the new lack of drama on a full throttle 'Banzai" fourth to second down shift. The old Super Sports would occasionally send the rear of our Z into a very freighting tail spin.  The AS3's managed to firmly put most of the cars 650 lb ft of torque firmly to the ground with a minimum of tire spin. 

After the acceleration runs were completed we tested the A/S'3's braking ability. Again the all season tires impressed us with some back to back 60-0 mph braking distances averaging 105 feet. As mentioned earlier we did not take the new combo to the track.  We differed the handing tests to some very twisty well paved back roads. Going into turns the AS3's gripped the road with no apparent loss of traction. the C7's M7 is blessed with auto rev matching that makes a transitioning down shift into sharp curves an easy chore. The new tires ate up every curve we threw at them. Yes contrary to popular belief you can use these tires for an occasional track day if you are so inclined.

The next test criteria is rather subjective and involves road noise and road feed back at highway speeds. The ultra wide tires that are fitted to a C7 Corvette were never noted for their lack of road noise at high speeds. We expected the deeper thread and harder compound of the A/S3"s to exacerbate noise at every speed. Again we we surprised that we could not detect any measurable difference in the noise or negative road feed back when compared with the Super Sports. We actually feel that the ride quality of the A/S3's is much better than that of the standard Super Sports.
A very major plus with the A/S'3s is the elimination of cold tire skipping that the Super Sports are infamous for. Another plus is Michelin's claim of a 30,000 mile thread life for the A/S3's. The Super Sports usually loose their hair at around 12,000 miles.

To sum it up the A/S3's offer the following benefits over the standard Super Sports:
- Superior off the line traction
- longer thread life
- A smooth quiet ride
- A wider operating range
- No cold tire skipping
- Extreme grip and handling in both dry and wet conditions
- Can be used on and off the track
-Excellent braking characteristics
- Lower price

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