The Michelin Pilot Super Sport (PSS) is probably one of the most well regarded tires in the aftermarket/tuning community right now, with tons of happy customers (fanboys?) eagerly recommending them to others. OEMs like Porsche, and even Koneigsegg (above) equip them as the OEM tire of choice, and the online reviews are overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had two sets of these tires and can understand why – they’re a great, no compromises tire that does everything exceptionally well; however, I’m not as quick to recommend these as a default tire choice to anyone and everyone that asks. While they are indeed a great tire, they’re also extremely expensive running anywhere from $250-300 per tire in 235/35/19, setting you back well over a grand installed. Is this tire worth almost 3X more than what an off-brand tire like the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 costs, or nearly 2X what an ultra high performance tire from Toyo, Sumitomo or Continental makes? I’m all about performance, but paying 200% more for a 20% improvement in performance is where I start to question the value. Check out some recent prices I found below on Tire Rack & Discount Tire direct of the Michelin PSS versus other summer/ultra high performance tires in the same size and you’ll start to see what I mean:
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If you’re very performance oriented and have the means, the answer is that yes, it’s probably worth it to invest the money. If you don’t track your car, they’ll last you several years and are a critical component for handling, braking, ride comfort, and more. If you shop around a bunch, you can probably find them a bit cheaper – here they are on Amazon of all places for $242 with free shipping, which is much cheaper than Tire Rack. But if you’re more budget conscious, drive a ton of miles, or maybe aren’t that concerned with performance (i.e. more of a stance/car show scene person), then I’m really not so sure these tires will be worth it for you…we’re talking a $700 increase in price over Nankangs (a tire I thought was actually pretty good), or even $400-500 more than a similar offering from Toyo that is quite respectable in its own right. I can think of a lot of things I could do with $500 to improve handling, performance, or other areas I enjoy with the car. Likewise if you’re like me and go through 1-2 sets of wheels a year, then spending a ton of money on a set of tires you probably won’t keep to the end of their life isn’t worth it – used tires don’t hold resale, no matter how good they are.
So price aside, I must say the tire is otherwise great. It is VERY quiet and rides comfortably, making it an awesome tire for a daily driver…and when pushed in performance driving, it is very compliant and predictable. I am surprised how hard it is to get the tires to break loose, how long I have to push them to get them to squeal or feel “greasy” on the track. I can’t really find a single negative thing to say about the tire aside from price, and I think Michelin really knocked it out of the park with this. Quality deserves a higher price, so I can’t even ding Michelin on their pricing here…but my belief is that that most car owners, even hardcore enthusiasts, don’t always need the “best” if their driving and preferences don’t really warrant it.
Will I buy Michelin PSS tires again? Now that I have a separate set of track wheels & tires, I don’t think I need such a high end set of street tires. I’ll pay 50% less and get something 90% as good, such as the Continentals…or if I just plan to have a wheel setup for “show” then I’d maybe even pick up a set of the Nankangs again, or buy some used tires like I did for my S5 Rotor Wheels knowing I wouldn’t keep them for long. If I find the PSS on sale, or get rid of my track wheels and just run one of set of wheels for everything, then yes I would definitely get them again. My point isn’t to say “don’t buy Michelins” but instead think through your use case/applications and make sure that paying 2-3X more for a tire is actually a good value proposition for you – sometimes it will be, sometimes it won’t.
What do you think? Would love your thoughts below…