There’s a new ultra high performance tyre for SUVs in town, and it’s the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV. Completing the Pilot Sport range in Malaysia, it is the French tyre maker’s first dedicated on-road offering for premium sports SUVs, touted to offer superior durability, braking and handling performance and ride comfort.

As with the rest of the new Pilot Sport lineup, the SUV variant sports an asymmetric tread pattern, but here this asymmetry also extends to the grooves. This results in tread blocks that more rigid and hence better suited to the increased vehicle weight, improving durability.

Equipped with a high-density double casing ply, the tyre is also more capable of shrugging off road shock damage, which can occur when going over potholes, for example. All in all, Michelin claims it can travel up to 13,000 km further than competing rollers, as it proved in a durability test last year.

Of course, the Pilot Sport 4 SUV has also been designed with performance in mind, and to that end the new compound incorporates functional elastomers and thin silica to improve wet weather handling and braking. There’s also a hybrid belt made of aramid and nylon, said to provide better steering response and precision.

Michelin says the Pilot Sport 4 SUV was placed first in a wet handling test conducted by TÜV SÜD, in which an SUV equipped with the tyre managed to lap a 1,050 metre track up to 5.06 seconds quicker than with its rivals. It also triumphed in a braking test, hauling the same SUV to a stop some 2.7 metres shorter than other tyres in the dry and up to 4.9 metres shorter in the wet. The advantage was extended when the tyres were worn, to a considerable 8.5 metres.

Externally, the tyre sports the velvet-like sidewall finish first introduced on the Pilot Sport Cup 2, along with a deeper black look for a sportier aesthetic. It has also been optimised to improve ride comfort and minimise road noise, according to Michelin.

The new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV is now available at all Tyreplus and authorised Michelin dealers nationwide, offered in 39 sizes that measure between 17 and 23 inches in diameter. It is priced from RM700.