Pirelli P Zero PZ4 and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 are both max-performance summer tires that are made to provide extra responsiveness, cornering, and braking capabilities during warm weather. PZ4 due to its lower void ratio allows greater contact on-road, leading to better dry and wet grip and steering control whereas Sport 4 has a higher void ratio comparatively, which helps to avoid hydroplaning and allow good grip and handling in all conditions, still, it performs lower than its counterpart.
In comparison, PZ4 is a much better tire performance-wise, but may wear quickly due to its higher contact patch, leading to higher rolling resistance, providing lower mileage. (Compared to Sport 4)
Comparing Michelin Pilot Sport 4 with Pirelli PZ4
PZ4 has an asymmetrical tread design with 4 circumferential grooves and a lower void ratio, resulting in a greater contact patch with the road. The greater contact patch enables the tire to grip the roads effectively and its optimized shoulder design boosts its handling, therefore, enhancing its overall traction on the road in dry conditions. It performs well on wet roads as well due to the decent contact area and numerous sipes, but in hydroplaning conditions, lacks due to its narrow grooves, despite having plenty of sipes. It has higher rolling resistance due to higher contact with the road, causing more treadwear, therefore, it is also not expected to provide higher mileage.
Sport 4 also features an asymmetrical design with a slightly higher void ratio, decreasing the contact patch of the tire. The lower contact area along with unoptimized shoulder design leads to a marginally lesser capable tire on-road in terms of dry grip and handling. On wet surfaces, it lacks traction due to lower contact patch and fewer sipes, however, its hydroplaning resistance is extreme due to wider grooves. It has lower rolling resistance since there is lesser contact with the road which allows greater mileage and durability. This happens because lower treadwear occurs as a result of lower contact patch causing lower rolling resistance. It is noisier due to its wider grooves, making the journey uncomfortable comparatively.
Road Grip Comparison
The grip on the road is directly proportional to the contact patch between the tire’s tread and the road since PZ4 has greater contact, therefore, it performs better. The dry grip of the tire is determined by its barking distance on a dry road, the better the tire’s grip, the sooner it will stop. Therefore, the distance a tire travel before coming to a full stop is its braking distance. In the case of PZ4, the dry braking distance is 115.15 feet which is way better than the rest of the tires of the same category.
During wet gripping, the tire sipes are also involved in the equation, in addition to the contact patch. The wet braking distance of PZ4 is 153.2 feet, it is the distance a tire travel before stopping in wet conditions. This tire is most efficient in wet gripping and certainly is the most preferred choice.
Sports 4 has lower contact with the ground which directly compromises its grip both on dry and wet roads. It has a dry braking distance of 119.4 feet which is not quite far from that of its competitor. So, we can conclude that both provide good dry on-road grip but PZ4 is slightly better due to its lower dry braking distance. There are no decent sipes available on the tread of the Sport 4 tire which along with a lower contact patch hinders its wet grip on the road. With a wet braking distance of 167 feet, it loses to its competitor in regards to wet gripping.
Handling Comparison of the tires
Shoulders come into play when comparing the handling of the tires. The shoulders which offer a close and compact design like in the case of PZ4 provide more grip due to a higher contact patch while steering the tire. This allows more handling stability and lowers the amount of speed which gets decreased because of steering. It offers a 62 mph average dry handling speed which is impressive compared to other tires. While handling on wet roads, the sipes on shoulders help to keep the grip maintained, the 54.74 mph wet handling average speed of PZ4 puts it ahead of its counterpart.
Sport 4 tire has a wide-open shoulder design which decreases the grip since it allows lower contact with the ground which decreases its wet handling average speed to 61.5 mph slightly lower than the other tire. Thus, allow good but marginally lesser dry handling on-road than PZ4. Its wet handling speed average is 53 mph which is significantly lower than its competitor due to the lack of sipping on its shoulders.
Comparison of Hydroplaning Resistance
Hydroplaning refers to a condition where the tires are not in contact with the road due to the presence of a considerable amount of water between them, causing the tires to float. The tire with wider grooves can easily pass the water to maintain the grip with the road. Unfortunately, in the case of PZ4, the grooves are narrow which only allows a float speed of 55 mph.
Whereas, in the case of Sport 4, the grooves are wide and deep which provides greater volume to pass water compared to its counterpart, resulting in a much better tire on flooded roads with a float speed of 57.22 mph, making it a superior tire in this condition.
Comparison of Rolling Resistance
Rolling resistance is defined as the force needed to keep the tire rolling. The higher contact patch of PZ4 connects more with the ground and causes greater friction. The higher the contact patch, the greater will be the friction which in turn increases the amount of force needed to overcome that friction. Therefore, it has a rolling resistance of 8.74 Kg t, much higher than the other tire.
Sport 4 has lower rolling resistance of 8.3 Kg t due to its slightly lower contact patch which will mean lesser tread will connect with the ground, decreasing its friction, hence, requiring a lower amount of force to keep the tire moving.
Comfort and Noise Comparison
PZ4 has an external noise level of 72.9 dB which is produced by air particles getting stuck inside its grooves and striking its walls back and forth. The subjective driving comfort of the tire is slightly lower. Since it has narrow grooves which are not able to perform well over potholes or damaged parts of roads due to their inability to absorb jerks.
On other hand, the Sport 4 tire has a noise level of 72.1dB which is slightly lower than the other tire. Comfort wise, this tire is a little better than PZ4 due to its comparatively wider grooves, providing a smoother ride even over bumpy roads.
Durability and Treadwear Differences
PZ4 has special silica and carbon black tread compound used to form its tread, resulting in softer tires comparatively. It may perform very well on-road in terms of grip and handling, but the tire will soon wear out because of its softer tread and higher rolling resistance caused by a higher contact patch. This decreases the tire’s Durability and allows much lower mileage to be obtained by this tire.
Sports 4, however, is made up of hybrid aramid and nylon belt which increases the built quality of the tire, increasing its treadwear resistance. The tire has marginally harder tread rubber which decreases the grip and handling of the tire but in turn, does allow it to be used for a higher number of miles. This is due to lower rolling resistance caused by lower contact patch, leading to higher durability and stronger tire.
Sport 4 tire is generally a higher priced tire compared to its counterpart simply due to its better built, higher mileage, and good wet and dry traction along with the comfortable on-road drive capability. PZ4 is a much better performing tire compared to Sport 4 in terms of both dry and wet traction but at a cost of quick treadwear. You may have to change your tires sooner than expected which is a luxury only few can afford.
- Both the tires are max performance summer tires.
- The Dry grip of PZ4 is better than Sport 4.
- Numerous sipes along with a greater contact patch help PZ4 in securing supremacy in wet grip comparison as well.
- Closed shoulder design allows PZ4 to ensure a great position in dry handling competition.
- PZ4 is also considered best for wet handling due to highly optimized sipes integrated within its shoulders.
- No tire can compete with Sports 4 in hydroplaning performance due to its sophisticated wider grooves.
- Sport 4 has higher durability due to its stronger built, increasing the tire’s treadwear resistance, allowing greater mileage than PZ4.
- PZ4 is a cheaper tire mainly due to its lower mileages, even though it outperforms the Sport 4 in each performance category.