Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 vs 5

Both the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and the Alpin PA 5 are the examples of tire engineering brilliance, as each tire come with a distinct prowess to conquer all types of weather conditions. Yes, you can say, that new is not always better, well, not at least here. Let me show you why is that.

Winter Tire
The Pilot Alpin series is certified by top sports cars’ manufacturers like the BMW.

Key Takeaway

  • Tread Longevity: The Alpin PA5 excels due to its lighter structure, which extends its lifespan.
  • Ice Performance: The PA5 outperforms with its unique biters, snow vices, and aggressive siping.
  • Wet Grip: The PA5 leads in wet handling due to superior water expulsion capabilities.
  • Hydroplaning: The Michelin PA4 excels by effectively dispersing water through wider grooves.
  • Snow Performance: The PA4 outperforms with its broader grooves and asymmetric tread pattern.
  • Dry Traction: The PA5 leads due to its streamlined design and interlocking central lugs.
  • Handling: The PA5 excels due to its compact shoulder blocks and lighter structure.
  • Tread Noise: The PA5 has a quieter ride because of its crowded tread design.
  • On-Road Vibration: The PA4 provides superior comfort by absorbing road vibrations.

Review Michelin PA4 in detail: https://snowytires.com/michelin-pilot-alpin-pa4-review/

Tread Longevity

When it comes to the longevity of the tire’s tread, an important performance aspect influenced by rolling resistance.

And so here, both tires demonstrate similar effectiveness, showing up with almost similar rolling resistance values.

But yes, you can say, there are other factors as well, and those were also considered here.

The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5 gains an advantage in terms of weight. Its lighter structure exerts less pressure on the lugs as the tire rolls, thus extending its lifespan.

Although the tread life is still comparable to its counterpart, the other tire has the advantage of having larger tread depth. As a result, it takes a longer time for this tire to reach the legal limit of 2/32″ tread depth.

Winner: Both!

Wet Perfromance

Wet traction is primarily influenced by two components: the tread design and the rubber compound.

And these factors showcase the tire’s ability to clear water away effectively, which BTW, is done from the sipes and grooves.

The grooves play a significant role in water clearing, providing resistance to hydroplaning. And on the other hand, the sipes contribute to wet grip by clearing water off at a micro level.

They basically essentially function by drawing water particles into their slits, (acting as a water vacuum cleaner if you will).

Let’s examine these dimensions in more detail.

Wet Grip

While both tires feature ample siping and flexible tread rubber, the Michelin X Ice gains an edge in terms of wet handling. However, when it comes to wet directional grip, both tires perform equally well.

The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5’s superiority in wet handling can be attributed to its superior water expulsion capabilities from the shoulders.

This is due to the presence of curving sipes (that work at all angles), and saw-toothed edges on all curving directional blocks.

These design elements ensure a relatively more effective grip during cornering, reducing overall slippage.

Conversely, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 with its less aggressive siping, results in somewhat underwhelming handling performance during testing.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5.


Hydroplaning, a condition where water prevents the tread from making proper contact with the road, poses a significant safety concern.

In this aspect, the PA4 outperforms its bigger brother, by effectively dispersing water in all directions through its wider grooves.

The tire’s offers two very big longitudinal channels, along with curving laterally oriented one pathways too. And these give out slightly greater float speed values then PA5.

(Float speed is the direct measure of hydroplaning BTW, it tells you about, how fast a tire can roll over standing water, without floating).

Talking about PA5, the tire with more closed-up lugs can’t offer as much water dispersion, though due to it’s streamlined longitudinally design, its straight aqua test results are almost similar to its counterpart.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4.

Ice Performance

In icy conditions, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5 clearly outshines its competitor.

Through the utilization of advanced design features, such as unique biters scattered across the tread and enhanced with snow vices, this tire delivers slightly better overall traction in icy conditions.

Moreover, you also get a more aggressive siping here and in-groove notches, on its relatively more compacted up tread design.

On the other side, the PA4 with its asymmetric, open desing falls short here.

First off, the tire does not feature as aggressive of the overall siping. Then the tire blocks are joined up with each, disallowing them to have decent mobility.

And yes, the wider biters hinder their efficiency on compacted ice where narrower, aggressive siping is required.

Though this tire gets to offer superior experience on heavier vehicles like on SUVs.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5.

Snow Performance

When it comes to snow-covered terrains, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 outperforms nearly all other (similar budget), winter tires, including its counterpart.

This superiority is attributed to the tire’s broader grooves, and asymmetric tread pattern, which enhance its ability to make greater snow-to-snow contact.

The tire’s biters/in-groove notches, basically pick up the snow particles and trap them in, allowing for this type of contact, and its crucial for traction, as snow sticks better on snow than on rubber.

Moreover, the tire is also narrower (on average), and with this, it exerts more pressure on the ground, increasing snow grabbing efficacy.

On the other hand, the relatively closed pattern of the PA5 struggles to accumulate as much snow, hampering its traction.

This tire isn’t as aggressive, and its in-groove notches aren’t that effective either.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4.

Comfort Levels

The degree of comfort provided by a tire largely depends on its noise generation and its capability to dampen vibrations.

These characteristics are primarily governed by the tire’s construction.

Let’s examine each of these elements.

Tread Noise

Tread noise is produced when air particles collide with the tread walls of the tire. And if there are wider grooves in the tread design, there would more room for air particles, and they would strike with greater force, increasing overall, what they call, in-groove noise.

Having said that, the PA5 is taking the lead here, with its more crowded up design, where grooves to rubber ratio is relatively lower.

And on top of that, you get a directional design, where the air particles have a more streamlined flow, (so they don’t strike around as much, reducing overall noise production).

The PA4, on the other hand, doesn’t have both of these features, so it’s more voided structure is nosier, even though the tire offers a very decent pitch sequencing technology.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5.

On-Road Vibration

Now, even though the PA5 is quieter on roads, I still rate both tire equal in overall comfort performance.

This is because the PA4 excels in mitigating road vibrations, providing superior impact comfort.

The very same lug mobility/flexibility which limits the tire handling, helps it here, basically.

They mold to soak/suck up the vibrations coming from the surface, allowing for a smoother overall ride experience.

In other words, the tire’s rubber is more absorbent of the road imperfections.

And yes, the greater tread depth is also a plus here, which provide a thicker buffer layer between the tire and any road irregularities.

Winner: Michelin PA4.

Dry Traction

Dry traction, a vital performance measure for any tire, depends on the extent of rubber in contact with the road surface. In this domain, two key factors come into play: directional grip and lateral traction.

Let’s discuss them separately.

Directional Grip

The efficiency of directional grip primarily depends on the tread’s central region. This is because, while cruising on straight highways, the majority of the tire’s load is concentrated in this area.

And the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5 excels in this aspect due to its more streamlined design, combined with interlocking central lugs, which maximize contact with the road.

This type of structure, enables shorter braking distances compared to its counterpart.

Conversely, the Michelin PA4 falls short here, due to its wider grooves and less streamlined structure, resulting in braking distances that are 5 feet longer.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5.


The quality of overall handling is significantly influenced by the tire’s shoulder design and overall weight. This is because, during turns, the weight load shifts towards the edges of the tread, basically, due to inertia.

And here the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5 once again emerges better, thanks to basically two primary factors.

Firstly, its more compact shoulder blocks enhance rubber-to-road contact, improving handling.

And secondly, the tire’s lighter structure, combined with a shallower tread depth, reduces lug movement or block bending during cornering, providing more balanced understeering and oversteering capabilities.

The PA4 again lacks here with its asymmetric, less streamlined design, and yes, with wider grooves, which causes more lug movement, diminishing steering feedback.

Winner: Michelin Pilot Alpin PA5.

So What’s The Verdict?

Well, both are high-end winter tires with distinct strengths in various areas. But overall the newer tire is leading in more performance sections.

The PA5 stands out for its exceptional tread longevity, as its lighter structure reduces pressure on the lugs, resulting in an extended lifespan. And it excels in wet (roads), due to its unique biters which also help in icy conditions.

Though on fluffy snow, the PA4 stands out, with its asymmetric, more aggressive tread strcture. Though this very same design comes in the way of allowing this tire to have a better handling performance on dry tar.

Moreover, in terms of tread and fuel economy, Michelin Alpin PA5 again takes the lead. And same is the case with on-road noise reduction performance.

Though that part comes in comfort, and PA4, offers a less bumpier overall ride, so its rated better in the vibration absorption section.