Michelin Alpin A4 ADAC 2012 winter tyre test winner here are the basics,
Sizes available: 14″, 15″, 16″ 17″
Speed ratings:T (118mph), H (136mph) & V (149mph)
Suitable for: A wide range of sizes for smaller family cars, hot hatches and up to medium sized saloons
The Alpin A4 is clearly a good winter tyre, upon being launched in 2010 it has topped 3 independent tyre tests and has a string of further recommendations. For Michelin this success was thoroughly needed as its product portfolio prior to the A4 release was rather poor when it came to winter tyres. The Alpin A3 was rather dated and had been overtaken in terms of performance when compared to many other tyres out in the market. The Alpin A4 was released at the same time as the Goodyear Ultragrip 8 and the Continental TS830. All of these products seemed to rotate around the top 3 positions of the winter tyre tests and were clearly very well matched.
The A4 was described in the following ways by the testers:
‘A very balanced tyre scoring very well in all safety related tests. Top marks for wear and on wet surfaces’ – ADAC test winner
‘Best on-road feel and consistently good in the tests gives the Michelin Alpin A4 a strong second’ – EVO recommendation
‘Good handling and excellent braking performance on wet roads, good handling characteristics on dry roads, low rolling resistance’ – AMS winter tyre test
Michelin are the most recognised tyre manufacturer in the world and certainly have enough funds to put towards product development to ensure that this is a very safe winter tyre. As with most Michelin tyres you would also expect good longevity, however I don’t have that much experience with the A4 so I can’t really qualify this. However I do have a bit of an issue when it comes to Michelin, could they just be a bit too big for their own boots? Because they are the most well-known they really believe that they are the best in the business and their pricing reflects this. With all Michelin tyres there is no doubt that you are paying a premium for the brand! Continental launched the TS850 which it’s fair to say is a better tyre than the A4, but the Michelin tyre is the most expensive. I just couldn’t justify paying a premium for Michelin winter tyres.
In conclusion I have no doubt that their winter credentials cannot be disputed, safety and longevity will be good, but would I pay a premium for the Michelin man? Probably not!