The market of all-season tires is very much oversaturated. They are amongst the most versatile and practical treads, and there are very efficient exemplars. Pirelli is amongst the tire-makers that can give you a great performance in all four seasons. In that regard, P4 is one of their latest and most innovative additions.
These tires are designed for sedans, coupes and compact vehicles. You can basically fit it onto your average car and enjoy them all year round for several years. A very good result, undeniably. But don’t forget that P4 is not without flaws. They excelled at making a highly effective all-season tire and neglected other aspects.
How is it made?
In terms of composition, P4 tires are actually pretty basic. The polyester body is reinforced by two belts made of steel and covered in nylon. The steel gives more strength and shape homogeneity. And nylon is actually quite essential, in that it improves comfort and smoothness of the ride.
Partly thanks to that, P4 Plus is (very famously) fuel-economic. Because the ride is smoother and there’s not as much resistance, you don’t need to waste more gas to conquer the same amount of land.
The steel-nylon core in encased into the usual polyester body, and that’s when the composition gets advanced. It is rather basic, too, but the tread is enriched with silica. It’s a fantastic material that gives your tire more flexibility. It also reduces the resistance, but mostly helps with traction over slippery and uneven surfaces.
Essentially, these treads are projected to have a very long tread life. The warranty is at 145,000 km, and it’s supposed to be the minimal amount. Depending on how much you drive, it’s going to last you about 5 years on average. That’s excellent.
The first thing you’ll likely notice is the weird tread pattern. Pirelli does have peculiar designs, but this one is even more intriguing than usual. The tiny central section is contained by two wide circular grooves, and the rest are autonomous blocks and shoulders.
It’s not a whim, though, but a balanced and weighted decision. The central rib is small, but it’s also continuous and heavily grooved. Thanks to it, you can roll forwards with confidence. It gives you great initial traction, although the main troupe is not in the center.
As you can see, the main feature is these claw-like grooves to both sides of the central rib. They move quite freely and can provide a powerful grip regardless of the road conditions. There are also lots of lateral grooves on the shoulders, and that enhances traction even further.
On wet, these broad circular grooves are salvation. They are your main protection against water – these reduce hydroplaning very significantly, and other grooves are there to finish the job.
On snow, the blocks shine the brightest. In fact, there are tons of aggressive-looking blocks that can adapt to the surface thanks to the lack of proper bridges between the blocks. The smaller grooves and the silica components improve the snow performance even more.
They are no match for the true winter treads, but you can’t really complain. The performance is still very good in most situations, barring the very deep snow and pure ice.
However, there is a problem. There are no proper shoulders – it’s all tread. And even though the traction is superb whatever the circumstances might be, the handling could be better. While driving, the control is excellent, but once you need to steer or otherwise change your position, it requires more effort than you might be used to.
They are pretty comfortable, no doubt about that. It is an Italian tread we’re speaking about – you are expected to try and drive fast in them. Well, the ride couldn’t be smoother whether you’re just crawling or driving on a trek. It is flexibly, rather soft and there have been tons of solutions to increase the comfort intentionally.
The noise is not a problem, too. There are simply no components that might cause noise pollution – regardless of the terrain, speed or other factors.
There are obviously problems – the steering and generally responsiveness could be better, for instance. Even so, Pirelli P4 Four Season Plus tires do their job well. They were tasked to give an outstanding year-round performance, and that’s what they do. Even in winter they are pretty awesome.
What’s more, these treads are pretty cheap by the standard of this category. They only cost about ~90 USD (the prices vary, naturally). That might be costlier than an average tire, but consider that you make a long-term investment that’ll span across several years without losing much of its effectiveness.