In fact, the Alpin A4 from Michelin was so good that it didn’t need an update. Since its introduction in 2010, the rubber from France has received numerous top marks in tests. And yet, in May 2014, Michelin brought the successor to the very important inch size of the compact class. More precisely, the mass-produced tire, called Michelin Alpin 5, is delivered from 15 to 17 inches. We were already able to test how good the new symmetrical V-like profile with lamellar cut really is on a frozen lake in Finland – and that is to say, the tire has grip!
A winter tire that is used in Europe from October to April rarely sees real winter. At the same time, the tire must also work on snow and ice, although snow-covered roads are only an issue for a few days, especially in Germany. The main tasks are in the wet area, just as dry (cleared) roads should not be neglected.
The running surface is subject to three core tasks: the gear wheel effect, the claw effect, and the contact surface effect. Thanks to its directional tread, which also has tread blocks with a high negative proportion, the tire presses itself into the snow like a gear wheel, and it also copes well with aquaplaning. The number of slats has increased by 16% compared to the Alpin A4, and the profile pattern has also increased by 12%. In general, the lamellas grip the snow like claws and thus generate traction and, above all, propulsion.
The contact area is never negligible, because the tire can only build up grip if it has as much contact as possible with the ground. In order to make this area as large as possible, the Michelin engineers have “developed specially designed profile patterns with a special orientation so that the lamellas in the profile block block themselves. Effect: The tread block remains stable despite its sipe cuts. ”Ergo, a vehicle with this tire can still be precisely controlled even when the steering is turned.
Is it generally worth buying a new winter tire? Definitely! In an internal comparison alone, the new Alpin 5 is five percent more likely to slow down to zero (wet road) than its predecessor. On a snowy road, where every centimeter is profit, according to TÜV Süd it is 3%.
But how are these facts and figures reflected on the street? Unfortunately, we cannot make any statements about the road at this point, because the Alpin 5 was only tested in the environment that it will rarely see in Germany: ice and snow. Mind you, more ice than snow! Tucked up on a harmless 1.6 TSI Golf VII, it promised to be a lengthy trip out onto the lake, which in February had a 60 centimeter thick layer of ice. But far from it, so much grip on the front axle has not shown a front scratch for a long time. Here the word “scratch” got a whole new meaning. Because lap after lap the ice became even more treacherous, but the speeds more quickly than slower.
With increasing confidence in the new tire, the journey on the tightly staked course became easier and more fun. Out of bends into the next narrow ones, speeds of up to 50 km / h were no problem, and knocking on the vehicle in front was also easy without the knife between your teeth. On the straight it went on quite briskly and the class leader allowed himself to be slowed down without further ado. Only the “little helpers” didn’t really help, but unfortunately limited the tire’s capabilities a bit. The “laborious” thing that would have gone even more and faster did not allow the ASR to be switched off … because it always meant to intervene.
Text: Fabian Meßner