Wet Weather Winner : Michelin Energy XM2+
Sepang, Malaysia – Tyres are important, but most drivers aren’t looking for rubber that helps them shave seconds off their lap times. Instead, they want a reliable set of tyres that can perform when they need it the most, namely when braking and in wet weather.
It is precisely these drivers that Michelin is targeting with its new Energy XM2+. Michelin claims its new rubber outperforms the competition in key metrics such as braking distance and wet weather handling, with the XM2+ retaining its performance level even when worn.
We were invited to sample the Energy XM2+ in a closed circuit on the outskirts of the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The tests included hard braking to a standstill from 80km/h on a wet surface and a short gymkhana to demonstrate its dynamic abilities.
The Honda City was used as a demo vehicle, a clear indication of the segment the Energy XM2+ is targeted squarely at. On a wet braking test, the Energy XM2+ stopped an average of 1.5m shorter than the two competitor tyres Michelin had brought along for comparison, proving its superiority against its rivals.
But just to hammer home the point, Michelin repeated the test on a set of specially worn-down tyres (down to the tread wear indicator) for each brand. While we don’t recommend driving on tyres this worn, Michelin’s intention was to prove that even with the Energy XM2+ worn down to its bare minimum, it could still provide adequate stopping ability. The City that wore the used Michelins pulled up just 0.4m further than the car fitted with a brand new set, an impressive feat to say the least.
Michelin tells us it managed to achieve this with a new full silica rubber compound, which improves grip, while its strengthened bonding helps reduce wear rates by up to 25 per cent, thus allowing the tyre to last longer.
The result is a tyre that not only provides outstanding grip and braking ability in both dry and wet conditions, but also one that offers greater longevity, without worrying about significant performance loss as the tyre wears down. As far as fuss- and worry-free tyres go for the budget-conscious buyer, the Michelin Energy XM2+ should prove to be a perfect match.