Today you join me in the height of summer in the Anthemountas valley near Thessaloniki, Greece for this hot & dry weather, Michelin Pilot Sport 5 review. In the test I’ll look at the performance of the tyres on a tight mountain pass, fast flowing country roads and roads with a variety of surfaces.
To judge the tyres I’m going to look at eight aspects, from the perspective of someone who wants a high-performance summer tyre which is decent in the wet, a tyre that is comfortable to use every day and a tyre that will not be used on track.
The eight aspects I’m going to look at are
- Ride Comfort
- Braking grip
- Acceleration traction
- Turn-in response & feel
- Cornering grip
- General impressions
Hopefully, at the end of the test, you’ll have a good picture of the performance of the Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tyres in hot, dry conditions.
Before I get into the Pilot Sport 5 review it’s probably helpful if I can give you some information about the car the tyres are fitted to.
The tyres are fitted to an MK1 Octavia RS making around 300bhp, straight from a suspension refresh & alignment and fitted with H&R springs and 18 inch wheels. The tyre size is a 225/40-18, ZR speed rating.
The VW MK4 platform is not known it’s sharp front end and lift off oversteer so I’ll have that in mind when I’m judging the tyres operation.
Looking at ride comfort first. slow, medium and high speeds
In word great. Definetely not the smoothest tyre. Not a magic carpet ride. But these are a sport biased tyre and this is the feel they give. They round of the edges of even the harshest holes while at the same time giving all the information I need to judge the amount of grip.
I think Michelin have nailed the balance between sport and comfort.
To quote Martin Brundle. Braking grip is “mighty”. Big forces and tyres feel like they are really keying into the road surface. Very confidence inspiring.
For a front wheel drive car making this much power, I think the traction is impressive. Great forward motion even in the lower gears. Traction control troubled only slightly in first, second and third. Again, for a FWD car I’d say the grip they give is fine.
Turn-in Response & Feel
Not a sharp feel on turn-in. I would not use the word darty to describe the speed or willingness of the car to turn-in at any speed and I think this has a lot to do with the work Michelin has done to give the tyres such good ride quality. In my thinking, a tyre that pick up every little bump is going to have more incisive turn-in.
Does this mean the turn-in of the Pilot Sport 5s is bad?
No. They give plenty of confidence, I don’t have that nagging doubt in my mind about if they are going to grip and get to the apex. The grip is there, the car turns in with authority it’s just the feel is not sharp. There is a slight delay in the steering loading up (were talking fractions of a second).
The Pilot Sport 5s don’t give the same feedback as a good track tyre but what they give up in this area they get back in day-to-day enjoyment by rounding of harsh road surfaces. In short, I think Michelin has nailed the compromise. A comfortable tyre and at the same time a confidence inspiring tyre with authoritative turn-in
This test is being done on the road. Realistically, there is only so hard I am willing to push. I want to keep things at 80% max so there is some room to recover the unexpected. With that being said cornering grip, in my opinion, is more than enough for the public highway. Road conditions and other roads users/hazards are going to be the limiting factor to cross country pace, not the Pilot Sport 5 tyres. To put it another way, the cornering grip from the Pilot Sport 5s is more than enough for the road.
Honestly, this is not something I’ve thought a tyre could alter. But seeing as Tyre Reviews include it in at least some of their tests I’ll say a few words.
Versus the Eagle F1s that were on the car previously, I don’t notice any change in the balance of the chassis with the Pilot Sport 5s. The balance was neutral before and it is neutral with the PS5s.
But maybe I will try an alleged oversteer balance tyre in future and see what effect it has, if any.
Something that is on EU tyre labels but I didn’t measure it. What I can say is that I didn’t notice the tyres being excessively noisy. For sure they are not hush quiet like an EcoContact6 but I would call the EcoContact 6 tyres unusually quiet. And on the other end of the scale they are nowhere near as noisy as some trackday rubber. I would call the sound levels from the tyre “what I would expect” from a tyre ie normal.
Pilot Sport 5 Review – General Impressions
If Michelin designed the Pilot Sport 5 tyres to have high grip limits in summer while having a comforting ride, long life and being a nice fulsome tyre to use, I think they have nailed it.
These tyres have no downsides (except perhaps the price but only doing a comparison with cheaper competitors will I know that).
They are not noisy at all, they don’t follow cambers and they should last longer than other tyres in the segment.
All-in-all, they are an excellent high performance, daily-driver, tyre.
Subscribe to the Drive Tune YouTube channel to see more reviews with the Pilot Sport 5 tyres in different conditions.