With the same size (225/40 R18), weight (same car), and other similar factors, both of them are compared thoroughly below in terms of their road grip, rolling resistance, wet handling, and comfort.
And it was was very close with both asymmetric tires having amazing sipe and tread technologies combined with their overall rigid side shoulders, which allow top-notch performances on both.
Michelin needs no introduction, and with their Pilot Sport 4 tires, they really stood out of the crowd. And what helped them here was the design. The tire has a new form of rubber called functional elastomer that makes its curvature much sharper and shortens the braking distance.
One of the first things that you will notice about this tire, apart from the compound which has a sticky feel to it, is the deep sipes that run through the whole tire and provide outstanding durability and wet support.
On the other side we have a great German company, Continental, with their flagship PremiumContact 6. The tire is simply great. The comfort it provides combined with the performance is simply outstanding. One might call it’s parent Contact 5.
And with 10 percent less noise overall and 15 to 20 percent less rolling resistance, PremiumContact 6 has the best of both world or best genes if you will (of all its previous models).
Side Note: Now you can compare newer models of tires as well: Michelin Pilot Sport 5 vs Continental SportContact 7.
Comparing Michelin Pilot Sport 4 & Continental Premium Contact 6
Michelin Pilot Sport 4
Both tires made of Aramid (a synthetic fiber) have a very different tread pattern.
The treadwear on the Michelin pilot sport 4 is quite unique. The tire forms and deforms on each side as you load and unload it, so the contact patch actually becomes smaller on one side and larger on the other, depending on which way you are turning. The center rib has minimal sipes on it and goes all the way around the tire, which makes it really durable.
This tire has some deep grooves, but it hardly has any sipes; however, it does have these tread blocks with oval-shaped grooves on the shoulders that almost look like lightning bolts at some angles.
All of this is designed to perfectly match this tire to the car that it is on and to make sure that you get the fastest lap times out of a street tire that you can possibly get while making it safe for everyday use.
(See the difference bw Michelin Pilot 4 and 4S)
On the other hand. With more avg. tread depth, the Continental Premium Contact 6 tires offer good tread wear resistance.
These tires are also very durable, as they have a polymer compound which is resistant to abrasion. Furthermore, it has a supple tread pattern, which makes it capable of enduring all kinds of roads, bumpy and straight, and continuing to perform well.
This is an excellent quality to have in a summer tire, as it has to endure high temperatures.
With this version of tires, Continental has improved from both its predecessors, the Conti Sport Contact 5 and the Conti Premium Contact 5 within a 15% improvement in mileage.
Tread technology is a huge factor when it comes to the overall performance of the tire.
You see a very different sipe design on both tires, with deep cuts on PremiumContact 6 and oval-shaped cuts on outer shoulders.
Instead of tread blocks, there are just sipes on the central part of the tire, with pilot 4 having a zig-zag-shaped groove for better-wet handling.
Also notice that there are only 3 grooves on PremiumContact 6 where there are 4 on Pilot 4.
The inner side of both tires is again different with Michelin Pilot 4 having a cleaner look with fewer sipes (again oval-shaped and thick) and PremiumContact 6 with more number of spies, although less deeper than Pilot 4 where they seem more aggressive.
Dry and Wet Traction Comparison:
The traction is further divided into 2 parts, the grip of the tire which is measured by braking distances on both wet and dry conditions, and the handling, again on both wet and dry.
Speaking of overall grip of tires, the dry and wet grip is better on Michelin Pilot 4 when compared.
In a dry grip test, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 went from 100kph to 0kph in 33.3 meters, where PremiumContact 6 covered 34.2 meters. Similarly, the wet braking distance on Pilot 4 was also 1 meter shorter.
This has to do with the more contact the tire has with the road. You can also see fewer blocks overall on Michelin, even though they still have sipes next to each groove, this means the tire has more surface area in contact with the road.
Speaking of handling…
Michelin Pilot took 94 seconds (average) on wet laps where PremiumContact 6 took 95.3 seconds.
And no tire can beat the wet handling performance of the Pilot 4. But coming to dry handling, the Continental PC 6 was slightly better. With a very small difference.
So why was the Continental PremiumContact 6 better at dry handling still? Well if you notice the tread pattern, it really makes sense. Check the overall pattern on its shoulders on the right most side. The area here has a deeper sipe cuts that allow better grip on corners.
They even left out a groove and made the shoulder more aggressive looking.
Basically, when it comes to wet conditions there is water between the tire and the surface. But on dry asphalt there is just air. And under high speeds that air compresses more quickly and need some space to pass through,
Continental amazing sipe design allows air to pass through more efficiently keeping the overall grip better on corners.
Furthermore, heat also comes into play as more distance is traveled. Where heat causes the tire compound to soften a little bit which makes it loose grip slightly on corners. Looking at both tires Continental was able to manage heat well.
But again the wet handling performance on Pilot 4 is epic. As you start getting up to the limit the Michelin turns quite sharply, as opposed to some of its competitors which allow you to steer the car on the throttle by sliding a bit more. Even though you don’t get the option of throttle steering with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4, you get a lot more traction in the dry which makes for safer driving.
The outer shoulder of the tire is much stiffer than the inner shoulder and the grooves get deeper on the inner side and narrower on the outside; this gives it the ability to get rid of the majority of water while giving you a decent amount of corner support.
For the dry handling on Michelin Pilot 4, If we look at the makeup of this tire, it uses two compounds, aramid and nylon to make sure that the tire actually changes its shape when it goes around a corner. As a tire goes around a corner, we have what we call a contact patch; this is essentially the footprint of the tire on the road. The build of this tire helps keep the contact patch the same even if it does change its shape a little bit.
In simpler terms, you can go on a straight strip of road with a nice and straight contact patch and as the car goes into corners and the body rolls, the contact patch changes shape so that it gives you the same area but it’s just a different shape. This reduces the tire’s deflections and resists extra heat generation which makes it a low rolling resistance tire.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 is also good at rounding off the bumps and crashes, like low-speed potholes, plus it is much quieter on most surfaces. It makes the car slower and lighter to steer which makes for great handling because the steering force builds up in a linear manner.
Side Note: In terms of wet grip of the tire, nothing beats the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3.
The Michelin pilot sport 4 is engineered well to resist hydroplaning. The wide surface area makes sure that the tire has a wider contact patch which plays a big role in resisting hydroplaning. Plus, the deep grooves do a great job at getting rid of the water from under the tire.
Also, the wet handling times were better on the Michelin Pilot 4. With its nylon and aramid sticky feel rubber, which allow the tire to maintain its grip even in extremely wet areas, the tire’s shoulders have small oval-shaped sipes in them that make it easier and more efficient to get rid of water and keep it from accumulating between the tire and the road’s surface.
So it should be doing better on hydroplaning when compared right?
But that is not the case.
In tests, the float speed was higher on PremiumContact 6 by almost 1 km/h.Although the difference is small. It still matters a lot.
It was very fascinating to see. Maybe its the wider grooves on the Continental, although less (3 here where there are 4 on Pilot 4) or Maybe it the sipe technology this tire is using.
Anyways, you cant really tell what’s going on until you actually put them on the road. And PremiumContact is better on both straight and curved aquaplaning. Thats the fact.
Lets talk Noise and Comfort
If you’re looking for a comfortable and safe tire for your car, Michelin pilot sport 4 is just the right fit for you. It rounds off the bumps and potholes noticeably better than any of its competitors; ensuring the highest level of comfort at all times. It has a refined design that allows you to enjoy a smooth ride even on slightly bumpy surfaces.
72 dBs calculated noise for Pilot 4 compared to Continental PremiumContact 6’s 73.5 on average makes Michelin Pilot 4 quite on the paper.
Above that what really sets this tire apart is its balance between being a comfortable and fun tire. It gives you the opportunity to give your ride a bit of whirling if need be while being perfectly safe. As far as the noise is concerned, you won’t notice too much of a difference from an everyday use tire.
However, the tire still could have been more quite. It’s really deep grooves contribute a lot in louder noise.
The noise levels of the Continental Premium Contact 6 tires are on the hazardous side. Generally, UUHP tires have noise levels are high and that of UHP tires of low. Being a UHP tire with performance comparable to that of UUHP tires, high noise level is acceptable. The noise level, however, surpasses even that of UUHP tires by 1 to 2 decibels.
In terms of numbers, the external noise of the Contact 6 tires in decibels is 73.5 dB. If a quiet and peaceful ride is a priority for you, these tires could possibly be an issue for you sometimes. But the good thing is that they are working on it. With this tire 10 percent less noise compared to its previous models.
Side Note: No other tire was able to beat the Pirelli P Zero pz4 when it comes to overall average road noise.
Price and Rolling Resistance
Rolling resistance is one tire factor that can affect a vehicle’s fuel consumption. The lower the rolling resistance, the less fuel is required, and fewer carbon emissions are generated.
Less fuel means less money spent overall.
Speaking of money. Michelin Pilot 4 is more expensive as of now when compared but the slightly lower rolling resistance would cost less fuel when comapred.
Now the question is…which tire is worth the money?
For Michelin Pilot 4 the rolling resistanceis averaged around 8.5 kg t where Continental PremiumContact 6 experiences a rolling resistance of 8.8 kg/t.
Both being the UHP tire, with a primary focus on performance were already expected to have high rolling resistance.
And both tires have an acceptable figure. The slight difference would still not make up for the expensive and pricy Pilot 4 tire.
Budget Pick Option: Nokian Powerproof.
So, the verdict?
Well Michelin checks out in all boxes. It has good grip on both wet and dry. It has better handling times on dry asphalt. It is less noisy and more comfortable.
But Continental PremiumContact 6 is cheaper. Has better dry handling times where its nowhere close on wet handling times when compared.
It also did better on Aquaplaning.
And its also worth noting that in other areas where Pilot beats this tire (except for wet handling), the difference is not too aggressive.
In short, the decision is yours to make. Both tires are equally worth the money, when you compare everything.