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    New Michelin winter tire - Part 1 (dry cold)

    Having worn out/gotten tired of the Nokian RSi winters I have used for 3 seasons, I have tried a brand new Michelin winter tire for my STi - the Alpin Sport PA3 just released in 2008.  Pics attached so you can see for yourself, but it has a very performance-tire look with asymmetric construction, solid centre rib, and full winter sipes.  It is marketed as a winter tire for sporting cars, so I will try it to see if it preserves more of my dry-season fun without sacrificing too much winter grip.  

    Part 1 is my dry cold impressions (part 2 must wait for real snow....) - driving the past week at -2 to -10C on dry roads.  So far:   Relatively quiet up to 140 km/h - it chatters a bit but does not howl like the Nokians did;  slight increase in bounciness of ride perhaps due to spring rates of the tire itself, but key impression is amazing responsiveness in transient changes - almost like a performance tire but with a touch of softness added.  Much stiffer sidewalls than the Nokians - which to be fair is not marketed as a sporting winter tire.  So - so far a very fun and excellent handling tire for a full M+S - next test is to see how much full snow and -25C grip I may have traded off for this responsiveness... to be continued.  


    --

    Present: 2005 STi,  2002 M Coupe

    Future: 2009 Cayman S - pending;  2010? Audi RS5 ??



    Re: New Michelin winter tire - Part 1 & 2

    OK, Part 2 now that winter has been here for a month, so some observations further to my initial notes about dry road performance. 

    Bottom line:  I am very impressed with these Michelin Alpin Sport PA3 tires.  Full winter conditions on snow and ice (-34C this morning Smiley ) have shown that the PA3's have excellent straight line braking and acceleration ability, slightly better than the Nokians which was a surprise.   Steady-state cornering grip is very good, with main difference being that when grip is lost, it goes more quickly (but with AWD this means into a 4-wheel drift); and once drifting, the car is much more responsive to steering inputs - takes some getting used to this response.  In comparison, the Nokians with much softer sidewalls, tended to scrub at all times, making cornering and drifting somewhat lazy... you needed larger steering inputs to invoke a drift, and the car was not that responsive once sliding.  Final note is that the PA3's do not like too much speed into a sharp corner - they will understeer and keep sliding a bit longer before regaining grip, compared with the Nokians that would scrub off some initial understeer.  The PA3's seem to respond to a smoother driving style overall but reward with tremendously confident braking and acceleration, and what is by far the sharpest handling I have ever had with a full winter tire.   Hope this helps some who are procrastinating about buying winters for this year!   Smiley


    --

    Present: 2005 STi,  2002 M Coupe

    Future: 2009 Cayman S - pending;  2010? Audi RS5 ??


     
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