By Samuel Ee
THE new Michelin Pilot Sport 3 (PS3) has arrived and it promises to have better performance as well as greener credentials.
The Pilot Sport 3 is the latest high-performance tyre from the French giant and it replaces the well-respected but ageing Pilot Sport 2.
In its time, the Pilot Sport 2 was the benchmark tyre for Porsche, and the world speed record holder with the Bugatti Veyron, where it clocked over 400 kmh on a closed circuit in 2006.
For more ordinary enthusiasts, it was a sports tyre known for its superior grip.
With the PS3, however, Michelin has managed to further enhance that superiority.
On a wet road, the PS3 holds better with improved stopping distance. According to tests by Germany's TÜV SÜD last year using size 245/40 ZR 18 Y tyres, the PS3 stops three metres shorter than its predecessor.
It also holds the road better when cornering, with the added precision favouring steering feel.
As a result, turn-in is sharper and the overall driving experience feels more enjoyable, especially on a powerful front-wheel-drive car where putting down the power can sometimes impact the steering feedback.
Going fast on a slightly damp road, the PS3 inspires immense confidence.
Where a lesser tyre would strain to neatly clip the apex of a corner, even squeal slightly amid mild understeer, the mighty Michelin holds the line. It sticks like superglue.
The best possible grip on wet roads is ensured by a unique rubber formula, the Sport Power Compound.
It works together with the Anti Surf System, which is a specially shaped shoulder that evacuates large volumes of water.
Along with a Michelin invention called the Programmed Distortion Tyre architecture system, it increases steering precision as well as tread life.
By combining these technologies, the PS3's on-road prowess is married with environmental features that allow this sports model to stand out in its category.
Its Long Lasting Elastomer is stretched to the limit, yet never breaks. This maintains the rubber compound's integrity and improves tyre longevity.
At the same time, the silica incorporated into the rubber limits the heat build-up caused by the deformation of the wheel under load during each rotation.
With less heat, fuel consumption is also reduced, and consequently, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
Another eco-friendly factor is the lightweight nature of the PS3.
The construction method and materials used make an 18-inch PS3 lighter by as much as 2kg versus a less expensive Japanese sport tyre.
In total, Michelin says the PS3 increases mileage by 10 per cent compared with its predecessor.
But a tyre's environmental credentials mean little if it isn't comfortable or quiet.
Like other Michelin road tyres, the PS3 is rather comfortable for a high-performance model.
Together with its high levels of grip, there are few 'green' tyres that can claim to be as fun to drive.
Sizes range from 15 to 18 inches. For more info, contact authorised distributor Chin Seng Hin Pte Ltd. 6861-6106
This article was first published in The Business Times.