Tires are arguably the simplest, most effective method to help your BMW perform better on the street or track. As we all know, tires are the only part of a vehicle that physically touch the road while driving (hopefully). Acceleration, braking, handling, steering, and comfort are all determined by your cars tires. For this reason, I will always run max performance summer tires on my 2007 BMW 335i and Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport tire delivers in every conceivable way.
BMW Hankook and Bridgestone Tire Experiences
Before purchasing a 2007 335i, I drove a 2008 BMW 535i that was initially equipped with the OEM Bridgestone run-flat tires, which were complete and utter garbage to say the least. The tires were unpredictable in all manners; turn-in felt good at first, but without warning they always found a way to break loose through fast corners. Once the Bridgestone run-flat tires broke loose it was tough for them to gather traction for a few moments until the car finally slowed down a bit. Furthermore, the ride quality of the stiff Bridgestone tires did not make for pleasant cruising. I quickly changed the run-flat tires out, and opted for Michelin Pilot Super Sports. I realize comparing the performance of a run-flat tire to Michelin Pilot Super Sports is not necessarily a fair comparison; although the Bridgestone tires were still considered a max performance summer tire.
Similarly, when I purchased my 2007 335i the car came equipped with an alternative max performance summer tire, Hankook’s Ventus V12 evo2 tires. Coming from Michelin Pilot Super Sports on the 535i I was not impressed with Hankook Ventus evo2’s. However, I should note that it remained a drastic improvement over the Bridgestone run-flats. The Hankook evo2’s were much more predictable during cornering, and offered sufficient grip while accelerating and braking. The ride comfort was mediocre all-together, but likely above average for a max performance summer tire.
My above-mentioned experiences with the Hankook and Bridgestone tires are not meant to be exhaustive reviews, rather I want to highlight the crucial importance of high performance tires. The latter two tires are classified as “Max Performance Summer Tires”, which is the highest rating for a dry/wet street tire. Compared to other available street tires when it comes to performance, anything within this category is simply the top of the line, the best of the best. Even when examining these high-performance tires there is more to be desired. More performance to be had. Enter Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport tire.
BMW 335i Michelin Pilot Super Sport (PSS) Review
I sat here for quite some time trying to figure out a way to introduce Pilot Super Sports and struggled with thinking through how to explain what makes the Michelin’s as good as they truly are. The performance data is there and the real-world results are there, but there is so much more to the Michelin PSS. It’s a feeling that is easier experienced behind the wheel than it is described. Michelin PSS’ deliver an unrivaled feeling of confidence behind the wheel; normally, I would be inclined to say it is over-confidence, but the tires don’t allow for that.
Turn-in to high speed corners is impressive. The tires respond immediately, bite into the corner with great force, and seemingly beg for more. Obediently, you dig into the throttle and the car continues shoot directly where you are steering. As you near speeds that are, by all facets of your imagination, impossible for such a corner, the Michelin PSS’ start screeching lightly yet the tires remain un-phased as they keep the car firmly planted and dead on track. Accordingly, you push the car harder and dig further into the throttle around the corner. Michelin’s PSS tires begin screeching louder, and this time they break ever so slightly loose causing the car to enter a minor understeer that is easily corrected. It is a brief, subtle reminder - you are not behind the wheel of an F1 car on a prepped race track, but rather you are still driving a 2007 335i on public roads. To summarize, the PSS tires break loose progressively and provide great steering wheel feedback. Unlike the Michelin PSS, the Bridgestone and Hankook tires had a very fine line between being in control and all hell breaking loose. There is no fine line with the Michelin’s – it is progressive. They allow you to confidently push the car and tires to the limit, and when you pass the limit the Pilot Super Sports are very forgiving.
Turn-in, stability, cornering, and handling are without a doubt some of the strongest points about the Michelin PSS; that is not to say this tire falls short in the other categories including acceleration, braking, and comfort. Acceleration is as good as it can get in my 335i. Depending on the road conditions my Michelin Pilot Super Sports do occasionally lose traction from a dig (full throttle from a dead stop). This is to be expected in a modded 335i that lacks a limited slip differential, and only has 255 tires in the rear. I should mention – even when the Michelin PSS tires do lose traction during acceleration they manage to keep the car well planted, pointed straight, and haul the car quickly through 1st gear. Wheel spin is a non-issue outside of 1st gear, except for the occasional minor chirp during the 1-2nd and 2-3rd shifts. Braking is also phenomenal in my 335i with the PSS tires. Once again, the tires find a way to seemingly dig into the road with incredible force and bring the car to a halt quickly. Wet traction is yet another area where the tire delivers staggering performance; I would be willing to bet the Super Sport tire delivers more grip on wet roads than a vast majority of tires can gather up on bone-dry roads.
I did not want to describe the facts of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires in too much depth; as mentioned, the real-world performance data is out there. The following link to TireRack ranks and reviews max performance summer tires (click on Michelin PSS for further details): Michelin Pilot Super Sports on Tire Rack. Super Sports have proven their worth on paper and in the real world, however, most importantly they deliver an unrivaled, inexplicable experience behind the wheel. The Michelin PSS tire was initially released in 2011 and has remained the king of the streets since that time. Although, Michelin’s newly developed Pilot Sport 4S tires might be here to dethrone the long-reigning Pilot Super Sports.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
In 2017, Michelin introduced a new tire to the “Max Performance Summer Tires” category – the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. Their new tire is intended to replace the PSS’, and Michelin will begin phasing out production and availability of the Pilot Super Sports. For quite some time, the Pilot Sport 4S’ were not available for 17” or 18” wheels, but are now available for my 2007 335i with 255/35ZR18 in the rear and 225/40ZR18 up front. I have not had the opportunity to test the PS4 tires yet, however, I am in need of new rear tires once I swap my summer tires back onto the car. I can say with certainty I will be replacing my Michelin Pilot Super Sports with Michelin’s all new Pilot Sport 4S. Look for a review on the Michelin PS4S once I install the new tires and have the opportunity to test them out a little bit.
Best 335i Tires Summary
Although I have not tested every max performance summer tire available I can say with confidence – the Michelin Pilot Super Sports were probably the best performance street tire available. Michelin’s PSS tire did everything in warm weather with ease. Acceleration, braking, cornering, and stability were all at the top of their respective class in both wet and dry conditions. The Super Sports also deliver an unrivaled experience behind the wheel; they provide incredible steering wheel feedback and instill a feeling of safety and confidence I have not felt with any other tires that I’ve used. Based on current testing and reviews, it appears the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S are the new king of the streets. More information to come once I have the opportunity to test their new tire. In the mean-time, for those looking for a tire to maximize their BMW’s performance, it is impossible to go wrong with either Michelin’s Pilot Super Sports or Pilot Sport 4S.