Home / Features / New Michelin Energy XM2+ Tyres Tested

 

The new range of Michelin Energy XM2+ tyres have been introduced in India and Michelin have decided to go about their programme a little differently.

Michelin Energy XM2+

Tyres are among the most critical aspects of performance being the only contact the car has with the road or surface. Today, it isn’t only about grip, there are several factors involved including fuel efficiency, rolling resistance, road noise, cornering performance, and sidewall flex affecting handling. Tyre design and construction keeps on evolving and, thus, every new iteration brings a whole lot more to the table.

Now, as mentioned earlier, with the Michelin Energy XM2+, the company has decided to do things a little differently this time round. There wasn’t just an email with an image and description of the tyre, but we were invited to the WABCO Proving Grounds in Chennai to actually have a go on the new rubber!

This is primarily because the French major calls the Michelin Energy XM2+ the “forever new” tyre. The promise behind that adage is substantial. Michelin claim the tyre will perform like new even when the tread depth reaches the tyre-wear indicator – the very aspect we would be putting to the test. They claim the new Michelin Energy XM2+ will not just last longer – for up to 1.25 lakh kilometres – but also consistently offer short and quick braking performance, even in the wet. In the company’s private tests, the Michelin Energy XM2+ performed the 100 km/h to zero test admirably, with the worn tyre stopping in just about the same distance – within a metre – of the new tyre’s performance figures. However, when compared to the competitor tyre, the new Energy XM2 managed a distance 2.4 metres shorter on the new tyres and an even more significant 3.3 metres shorter on worn tyres.

Michelin Energy XM2+

With tyres, the equation is a bit of a trade off. When inflated to the correct tyre pressure, new tyres will provide better rolling resistance and fuel efficiency, but slightly lower grip levels. On the other hand, used or worn (or scrubbed, if you’re a Formula 1 fan) tyres, will provide better grip because their tractive surface is better. Traction is key, especially, when the road surface changes or if there’s water on the road. Too much water and the tyre and its pressure can only travel up to a certain speed before it can’t displace the water fast enough and a layer can build that breaks traction, or “aquaplanes”, leading to partial or even a complete loss of control or directional stability.

Michelin Energy XM2+ Brake Test

Brake Test

The new Michelin Energy XM2+ tyres make some bold claims and we had to verify them ourselves. The WABCO Proving Ground was the ideal location: closed circuit conditions, good tractive surface, and a number of sprinklers, not to mention a little rain adding more than a little water to the already wet surface. We would have two rounds in each, the competitor tyre and the Michelin Energy XM2+, both of which were worn examples brought down to the tyre-wear indicator. Both sets were shod on similar cars, the Maruti Suzuki Swift diesel, a popular hatchback, in identical sizes – 185/70 R14.

The reference points were marked by cones. We would start at one end of the straight, get up to 100 km/h, pass the warning cones and then brake at the cone marker. The stopping point was marked by a set of four cones to provide a reference for the optimum distance. The competitor tyres stopped just after the marker cones. Normal braking procedure, yes, but I did feel that the distance could be a bit better. Mental notes made. Next up, the new – well, old and scrubbed – XM2+ tyres.

Getting up to 100 km/h, the spray from the sprinklers approaching, I slammed my right foot hard on the brake pedal. The Michelin Energy XM2+ tyres did make a significant difference, with the nose of the car just at the first set of marker cones, over three metres – almost an entire car-length – shorter, by comparison. There was also a lesser amlount of slip evident under braking, which, doubtless, helps in achieving the shorter stopping distance.

Michelin Energy XM2+

Lap of the Circuit

The WABCO Proving Ground, apart from having a series of courses, also has a long around the facility. This includes a long straight, a series of sharp bends and even a prolonged right-hand corner, almost like a parabolica before getting on to the main straight again.

The Michelin Energy XM2+ tyres – new ones for this round – offered good grip and commendably low levels of road noise. Thanks to silica construction with what Michelin call “Alternate Bridge Technology” minimizes shuffling in the tread block resulting in lower wear, while the compound formulation itself results in lower wear as well as better braking performance.

Michelin Energy XM2+

The Michelin Energy XM2+ will be available in as many as 30 sizes for wheel rim diameters ranging from 12 to 16 inches – the majority of the subcompact, compact, premium hatchbacks, sub-four-metre sedans and compact SUVs, MUVs, and sedans. In India, the range starts from Rs 5,090 at authorized Michelin dealers across the country.

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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