Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Michelin Pilot Sport (PS2) 225/40/18 92Y XL (Extra Load) tyre review

Michelin Pilot Sport (PS2) 225/40/18 92Y XL (Extra Load)

(also can be found here)

We all need tyres, and often we underestimate just how important these 4 small patches are.
I have ran these for 13k miles and Im just about to replace like for like , so I reckon a review was in order.

Considerations for tyres are varied but generally follow these lines :

1. Cost
2. Grip levels wet/dry (which translates to stopping distance and safety!)
3. Availability
4. Brand name 'status'
5. Tread Wear Rate
6. Noise levels
7. Alloy lip protection
8. Speed rating
9. Quality
10. Progressive breakaway

These are all differently 'weighted' by all of us, for me I'm not a rich man, but for me grip (especially wet) ,breakway progression, quality and wear rate are my primary considerations. For each and every person on here I'm sure its different.

I will not discuss 'remoulds' here , but suffice to say I would hope no one on this forum is running them on a GTI, they are wholly inadequate for the car, probably don't have a sufficient speed rating and verge on the downright dangerous.......

Volkswagen fitted various makes of OE tyres to GTI's.

My car (Edition 30) came from the factory fitted with 4 Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2's in 225/40/18 size.
Whilst not a 'bad tyre' the car suffered what I consider to be inappropriate levels of understeer.....

Due to certain circumstances the front tyres were damaged at 12k miles (even though they were barely worn at that mileage!), and replaced with Pilot Sport PS2's
At the same time the car was remapped to ~300bhp and the WALKit fitted.
The steering 'feel' , turn in and stability was transformed. I could attack corners with much more confidence.

These Pilot Sport PS2's have now lasted 13k miles (car now at 25k miles) and are now at the legal limit and are due to be replaced.

The rear original OE supplied exaltos are barely 50% worn after 25k miles !!

After much deliberation and discussion on the forum I narrowed it down to 2 choices

1. Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 (a known quantity)
2. Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric (unknown for the GTI but won reviews and I have had VERY good experiences with GSD3 pattern F1's on previous cars)

In the end I bought option 1 which I'll explain why in the summary......

Heres some useful data (they are all links...)

Golf GTI tyres reviewed
Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 data
Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric data
2009 Test : Pirelli PZero wins !
Benchmark EVO tyre test 2007

Actual tyre specification (from >> here << ) Michelin® Pilot® Sport PS2™ Tire Size: 225/40ZR18/XL (MSPN: 93617) Service Description 92Y Model Number (MSPN) 93617 Tire Size 225/40ZR18/XL Type of Tire Ultra-High Performance Sport Rim Width Range 7.5" - 9" Section Width on Measuring Rim Width 9.2" on 8" Aspect Ratio 40 Overall Diameter 25.1" Tread Depth 9.5/32" Tire Revolutions per Mile 829 at 45mph Speed Ratings Y Load Index 92 Maximum Load 1389lbs.@50 psi Treadwear Grade 220 Traction Grade AA Temperature Grade A heres a pic of new vs on the treadwear indicators (my car 2 weeks ago)


This time I have chosen to use a mobile fitting service called Event Tyres
Order the tyres online , select a date , they then phone you back (very quickly) and confirm the time/date etc.
No money is required until they are fitted.
So far the experience has been top notch.
Just make sure you order the CORRECT tyres

(you dont want MO type , you do want XL rating)

I got a £10 voucher code from as well.

(Of note I also referenced which are generally cheapest at £128 each)

From event tyres it was £290 for 2 incl fitting (- £10) voucher = £280
Not the cheapest but suits me.

(Costco also do tyre deals which is definitely worth checking as they are much cheaper... eh SteveP )


Fitted today , phone call at 8.30 am to say it would be around 11am
Adam arrived 11:15
Very friendly top notch service. Huge van and air jack , viola all done (balanced weights stick on and only on inside ) in 20 minutes! alloys confirmed prior to work so no disputes after . No marks made at all.
Absolutely faultless.
Event come highly recommended based on this experience.

funnily enough the TPS warning came on after a few miles because the rolling radius has changed so much.
The new tyre tread depth is huge.

Other options to consider

Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric
Pirelli PZero
Yokohama parada 2
Continental Sport Contact

Read the reviews , check the forums (for the exact tyre size you plan to fit) and decide yourself

Plus Points

hot weather : good strong grip , nice feel , progressive breakaway, easily recoverable, nice turn in feedback. no impression of weak sidewalls at all
cold weather : as above + good stability , never once aquaplaned.

100% tread : no 'bedding in' phase required , great from mile 0
50% tread : still performing great, no change in wet or dry from 100% tread

10% tread (legal limit) : amazing for a nearly bald tyre! still manage to shift some water, in general driving seem normal, however once the (lower) limit is reached the progression is swift into terminal understeer. To be fair I have taken these tyres way past the point of tread depth where I would normally change. But they perform so well.

limited road noise, probably got slightly worse once past 75% worn (25% remaining)

on the track : not tested so I cant comment in this scenario. Reckon they should perform well as long as they dont overheat and tyre pressures are kept stable
up the drag strip : rubbish driver on a cold day = poor results lol, not the tyres fault

Minus Points
The biggest minus by far with these is the COST , at least 10% (often more) expensive than Goodyears.
not a big rim protector either


I chose these again because based on the mileage (13k) , the fact theres no scrubbing in mileage (500 miles for the F1's) , no massive reduction in performance at the legal tread depth (that F1's do tend to have) , these factors balance out the increased cost.
I just couldnt risk putting Goodyears on. Maybe next time I will, but for now nope...

As with all tyres , check and experiment with your tyre pressures , it can and does make a huge difference

As a rough guesstimate the tyres have worn 8mm (9.5mm - 1.5mm) in 13,000 miles = 0.6 mm per 1,000 miles wear rate
At a cost of £145 , they have cost just over 1p per mile (per tyre)

Exaltos are a good compromise if cost/wear rate comes above outright grip as a priority.

Choose you tyres carefully but check out the reviews and see how much the stopping distances vary between tyres!
They may just save your live one day , where a few extra horsepower from that air filter etc wont. dont scrimp

In summary I highly recommend these for the Golf GTI

[Edit October 2010 :
The second front pair have now worn down and have been replaced for the MOT today.
This time around the front PS2's have done 19,000 miles , an incredible mileage beating the last sets mileage (13,000 miles) by a significant margin. I can only surmise that a less peaky remap (APR stg1 newer version file) + knackered engine mounts + a slowing ageing driver have contributed to a 50% improvement in mileage. (dont forget I also did a wet Oulton park in Dec 2009!)
These tyres are nothing short of superb wet and dry, and once again have proved consistent performance right up to the legal limit (1.6mm)
I did get a bulge in one tyre towards the end from a large pothole, but Im not sure any tyre would have withstood the impact so well.
A truly superb tyre that works well, if not a little pricey (and get more expensive by the minute!)

the story does however end there, as I have now decided to try something new, 4 new PS3's were fitted as the PS2/Exalto combos replacements.
review of PS3's to follow in a different thread


95 GTS said...

so I'm confused, you went with option 2 but didn't take the risk on the Goodyears? So you got the option 1???? hehe

JohnO said...

was it not clear ;-)
amended to suit mr pedantic....

95 GTS said...

just making sure you know I read your posts :-))

Trish Stratus said...

thats why I like michelin.