The French company has produced a model of specific tires for high-performance cars that has few equals on the market. Impeccable on snow, surprising on asphalt: we tried it

    Adriano Bestetti


    February 07

    If you think that fitting snow tires automatically equals an inevitable loss of performance, you’ve probably never heard of the Michelin Pilot Alpin 5. The French company has in fact developed these winter tires thinking of owners of high-powered cars and with the precise intent to always ensure maximum performance, without necessarily sacrificing them on the altar of grip on particularly slippery surfaces. The result is an ultra-performing tyre, able to guarantee extremely precise driving on snow and to stand out even on dry roads.

    very high performance winter tyres

    Michelin’s Pilot Alpin 5 are above all winter tires with character premium, specific for high-performance cars of the upper class. Their aim is to keep driving pleasure as intact as possible, offering great control and braking efficiency on snow and wet surfaces together with great energy efficiency and excellent durability. In the Michelin Alpin range, dedicated to those who often have to deal with particularly severe winter conditions, the Pilot Alpin 5 are Clermont-Ferrand’s proposal for sedans, station wagon and SUVs of high lineage, with different sizes ranging from 16″ to 22″. They are positioned between the Alpin 6 for small and medium-sized cars, with sizes from 15″ to 20″, and the very sturdy Agilis Alpin for commercial vehicles. They are all marked M+S, “Mud and Snow”even if their common vocation is that of purely winter coverings.

    a well thought out design

    The articulated symmetrical tread pattern of the Pilot Alpin 5 has been designed to face the most difficult conditions at low temperatures. It promises excellent drainage through the generous transversal grooves, great resistance to the phenomenon ofaquaplaning thanks to the accurate central ribbing and the best grip on the wettest surfaces. All this translates into greater safety and confidence for the rider in the most slippery conditions. On snow, traction is transferred to the sharp edges of the many knobs while containing noise. Also noteworthy is the already seen drawing Premium Touch on the sides, which gives the tires a particular velvety effect to be projected externally, thus enhancing the aesthetic impact of the car itself.

    Specific compound for low temperatures

    A fundamental role in the performance of the Pilot Alpin 5 on slippery terrain is obviously also played by the sophisticated latest generation compound, which is particularly soft also thanks to the integration of a new functional polymer. This compound does not harden at low temperatures and minimizes energy dispersion, thus reducing rolling resistance with beneficial effects also in terms of consumption. The Pilot Alpin 5 also take advantage of special three-dimensional sipes designed specifically to stiffen the rubber in order to maintain stability and precision even at rather high speeds. Michelin has in fact created these tires to fit very powerful cars and guarantee them maximum performance and grip, even on the track, with temperatures close to 0°C.

    tested under harsh conditions

    The Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 have received various awards for their efficiency and versatility, establishing themselves among the best winter tires on the road also for the particular attention dedicated to the performance side. Not all manufacturers have such a product in their range, preferring instead to focus on winter tires focused on mere grip. In order to test the vaunted qualities of these tyres, we mounted them on a BMW 340 XD and faced various situations of poor grip to test their reputation. On the snow, the performance of the Pilot Alpin 5 was good, in line with what one would expect from a good winter tyre, but what distinguishes these tires from the majority of the offers currently on the road must be sought more in cold and wet conditions. And they didn’t disappoint.

    dynamic behavior

    Wet grip and comfort are beyond reproach, also because the block and carcass are softer than their summer siblings, but what really amazes about this tire is its grip on dry or wet asphalt, especially in fast corners where the classic Winter tires with high knobs usually suffer from major deformation problems. This phenomenon tends to manifest itself particularly in the middle of the corner and when exiting, in high gears, triggering an inevitable understeer which tends to widen the trajectory. But with the Pilot Alpin 5 there is practically no trace of it. Another aspect that denotes nature high performance of this rubber is the amazing level of grip in insertion with low temperatures, between 5 and -5°C. The grip in these conditions is simply exceptional, demonstrating the fact that Michelin wanted to create a winter tire with a special focus on supercars.

    ideal for rear wheel drive

    The last observation concerns consistency and stability, which benefit from the optimal grip to be appreciated above all in insertion but they are particularly appreciable on rear-wheel drive cars, such as the BMW used for the test. In general, when the rear receives torque and power but has no weight, on a car of this type the lowering of grip it tends to generate unwanted and dangerous movements of the rear end. Slippery surfaces and low temperatures only amplify the problem. In this perspective, theextra grip provided by the Pilot Alpin 5 in cold, damp and wet conditions helps to give more feeling to the driver in straightening out any critical situations, less frequent than in cars with other types of traction.

    Michelin Pilot Alpine 5 | Sizes

    205/60R16 96H XL
    215/65R16 102H XL
    205/55R17 91H MO
    215/65R17 99H MO
    225/50R17 98H XL ZP
    225/50R17 98H XL MO
    225/60R17 99H AO
    235/45R17 97V XL
    235/55R17 103H XL
    235/55R17 103VXL
    245/45R17 99H XL MO
    245/45R17 99V XL
    245/55R17 102V
    205/40R18 86V XL
    215/40R18 89VXL
    215/50R18 92V
    215/55R18 99VXL
    225/40R18 92V XL
    225/40R18 92W XL
    225/45R18 95H XL MO
    225/45R18 95V XL MO1
    225/45R18 95V XL
    225/50R18 99V XL
    225/55R18 102V XL AO
    225/55R18 102V XL
    235/40R18 95V XL MO1
    235/40R18 95V XL
    235/40R18 95W XL
    235/45R18 98V XL
    235/45R18 98V XL MO1
    235/50R18 101H XL
    235/50R18 101VXL
    245/35R18 92V XL
    245/40R18 97V XL
    245/40R18 97V XL MO1
    245/40R18 97W XL
    245/45R18 100V XL
    255/40R18 99V XL
    255/45R18 103V XL
    275/40R18 103VXL
    225/35R19 88W XL
    225/40R19 93W XL
    225/45R19 96V XL
    235/35R19 91W XL
    235/40R19 96W XL
    235/45R19 95V ZP
    235/45R19 99V XL
    235/50R19 103H XL AO
    245/35R19 93W XL
    245/40R19 98V XL MO
    245/40R19 98V XL
    245/45R19 102V XL AO
    245/45R19 102V XL
    245/45R19 102V XL ZP
    255/30R19 91W XL
    255/35R19 96V XL
    255/35R19 96V XL MO1
    255/40R19 100H XL MO1
    255/40R19 100V XL
    265/30R19 93W XL
    265/35R19 98W XL
    265/40R19 102V XL ★
    265/40R19 102V XL MO1
    275/35R19 100V XL MO
    275/35R19 100V XL ★
    275/35R19 100W XL
    275/40R19 105V XL MO1
    275/40R19 105W XL
    285/40R19 107V XL
    215/45R20 95V XL
    235/40R20 96V XL
    245/35R20 95V XL NA0
    245/35R20 95V XL NA5
    245/40R20 99W XL
    255/30R20 92W XL
    255/35R20 97W XL
    255/40R20 101V XL MO1
    255/40R20 101W XL AO
    255/40R20 101W XL
    265/35R20 99W XL
    265/35R20 102V XL
    265/40R20 104W XL MO1
    265/40R20 104W XL MO1 AA
    275/35R20 102W XL
    285/30R20 99V XL ★
    285/30R20 99W XL
    295/35R20 105W XL MO1
    295/35R20 105W XL MO1 AA
    245/35R21 96W XL
    245/40R21 100V XL
    255/35R21 98W XL
    255/40R21 102V XL MO1
    265/35R21 101V XL
    275/35R21 103VXL
    285/35R21 108V XL MO1
    295/30R21 102V XL NA0
    305/30R21 104V XL NA5
    305/30R21 104V XL
    315/30R21 105V XL
    285/30R22 101W XL