Michelin_hero by [email protected] I was lucky enough to get one of the first drives on the new Pilot Sport AS3+ through the foothills of Red Rocks Canyon as well as some (all too short) track time at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch about an hour away from Las Vegas NV. We had brand new Audi S4, BMW M4 and Lexus IS350 F Sport at our disposal, using the Audi and Lexus for braking and autocross duties while using the BMW for a spirited “lead-follow” with the instructors on the track. Here’s how things broke down; Canyon Final by [email protected] While our drive out of the city was uneventful, we did get a good measure of the tire as we picked up speed and hit the highway towards Red Rocks. The AS3+ performed as expected, providing a smooth ride with the right amount of feedback through the steering wheel. Road noise was not pronounced, as we would expect from an Ultra High Performance tire. Public roads were not the place to be pushing the tires hard, but through the twisty canyon sections we could tell that the new tire had not given up any of the old tires’ crisp handling characteristics. Bear in mind that one of the primary reasons the AS3 got its “plus” was to make it handle better in snow, and while Mother Nature did not have any in store for us in Nevada a small group of Tire Rack techs spent some time in Steamboat Springs (CO) and had plenty of nice things to say about the tire’s light snow capability (see this link). So far, so good ! Spring Mtn by [email protected] As mid day approached, we pulled in to expansive grounds of Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch where the cars were prepped for some handling exercises and track time as we had lunch. While half the cars kept their AS3+ tires, the others were set up with either Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 or Pirelli PZero Nero AS Plus tires to get the best snapshot as where the new tire stood against the competition. The previous Pilot Sport AS3 was a category leader for dry and wet handling, rivaling some of the better “summer only” tires we had tested and while some of us were expecting the new AS3+ to “dial back” these attributes in an effort to gain snow capability we found the new tire did not miss a beat. Stopping by [email protected] Our braking demos called for getting the powerful Audi S4 up over 60 mph and then jumping on the brakes for a full on ABS engaging (two foot in my case) stop to measure stopping distances across all three tires in the dry. Over the course of nearly 40 panic stops, the AS3+ held its own and while the differences were minimal the new Michelin ended up with a small victory when we crunched the numbers. Cones by [email protected] More telling was the autocross sessions, were we ducked and weaved through a challenging course that had several 90 degree turns, a nice slalom and one tight 180 degree turn. Unlike our test track at home, the middle this of the course had both wet section that we transitioned through. It was here that the AS3+ was able to shine, as I could barely perceive any change in handling from the wet to the dry sections while both the DWS06 and PZero Nero AS Plus struggled to maintain their composure. I have had track time with the both the (older) Conti and Pirelli at our home track in Indiana and felt that did well in both wet and dry, but the new AS3+ was just that much better to the point that I felt the Michelin was almost in a league of its own ! To be clear, we weren’t documenting any track times but I can tell you the Michelins sure felt faster ! Bmw Final by [email protected] As the sun was going down, we were lucky enough to jump in new BMW M4 and spend a little time on the track. While I was no match for the instructors in their Corvette Z06 monsters with Pilot Super Sport (not Pilot Sport Cup) tires, I was able to keep up to the point that I completely forgot I was on All Season tires ! While I don't advocate using the AS3+ on a regular basis on the track, its really cool to know that you could (sparingly) if you wanted to. All in all, I can’t help but be impressed with the new Pilot Sport AS+ tire. Michelin has proven (once again) that you can have your cake and eat it too; you can have a great tire in the wet and the dry for “spirited” driving during the warm Summer months as well as have a capable tire when the snowflakes fly. Be sure to check back to this post and watch for the results of our full on comparison test (from Indiana) later this year ! Forgot to mention; at this time we will have access to the Pilot Sport AS3+ in 245/45R19 only. No 21" fitments are planned to be produced in 2016.