The Amazing Long Life of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2

Sustained performance after many years of hard use, the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 is a testament to the quality of premium tires.

Some tires are treated kindly, others not so much. My well-used Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires pictured here fall into the latter category. But I accept only partial responsibility.

You see, they’ve spent four adventurous seasons mounted on a 414 horsepower, tail-happy E90 BMW M3. The E90/E92 M3, with its high-revving V8 and seductive 8400 rpm redline, goads susceptible driving enthusiast into unfriendly tire behavior. If you have any adrenaline running through your veins, resistance is futile.

There were other factors that worked against long life too, like the Midwest’s schizophrenic temperature swings and tire pressure fluctuations, which weren’t always addressed in a timely fashion. (Hey, tire guys get lazy sometimes too. See Tire Pressure and Temperature for more info.) Also, during two bitterly cold winters proper tire storage protocol wasn’t possible.

Then there was the time I inadvertently bludgeoned one of the rear tire sidewalls against a curb. And then I did the same thing in the precise same spot about a month later for good measure. It’s a long story, but the curb shouldn’t have been there. The PS2s took the impacts like the Michelin Man deflects marbles. Also, the rim protection feature worked a treat.

Despite the odds and poor treatment, these PS2s managed to accumulate about 30,000 miles, far exceeding the mileage expectation set by Michelin’s 20,000 mile limited treadwear warranty, and also surpassing any fair mileage expectation of an ultra-high performance tire used as intended.

Over time my PS2s never faltered. Even with the minimum tread wear bars, wet road traction remained predictable and strong. Michelin’s “Safe When New. Safe When Worn.” engineering concept at work.

The “Exhilaration” driving experience that Michelin associates with the PS2 tends to build as the tread wears, and the tire gets closer and closer to a “racing slick” characteristic. The tires take on a sharpness and feel that isn’t necessarily there when new. Sometimes deciding when to pull the plug on a set of well-used performance tires isn’t particularly easy for this reason. You’ve put in all of that “diligent” effort to shave the tread – maybe there’s life left for just a few more spirited drives.

Downsides of living with a set of abused performance tires over 30,000 miles? Road noise becomes more amplified as the miles accrue, but not to a disconcerting extent, in my experience with the PS2.

The sustained tire performance over many years of hard use with the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 is a testament to the quality of premium tires. The upfront investment brings a long-term return in the form of mileage, safety, and satisfactory performance.

Alas, after another recent test of tire adhesion limitations (for scientific purposes), the rear tires have definitely had it. With fall closing in, a set of ultra-high performance all season tires will be victimized next.

In the market for an ultra-high performance summer tire? Michelin’s current options are just plain mega. With the PS2 now generations old, direct your attention toward the Pilot Super Sport and Pilot Sport 4 S, the latest and greatest from Michelin’s crack performance tire engineering squad.

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