Published on July 9th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Michelin XM2 Ride and Drive Experience, Pattaya, Thailand
When Michelin launched the XM1 some 7 years ago, their engineers were out to produce a tire for the mass market but with the qualities of a tire designed for the mass middle market. It was a success at launch and found a lot of satisfied owners. Its ability to consume more kilometers over the competition allowed its slightly higher asking price to be ignored by owners. With success comes unhappy competitors and so the market found the competitors launching competing tires with lower pricing and so as the years folded, the Michelin XM1 found less aftermarket replacement business. This prompted Michelin engineers two years ago to improve on the XM1. Their push for a wet weather safe, longer lasting and more fuel efficient tire brought us to sunny Pattaya in Thailand to test the Michelin XM2. The successor to the XM1.
Michelin has several manufacturing plants in South East Asia. The Thailand factory produces this new XM2 and so it was fitting to do the extensive testing of the XM2 on Thai roads. The region shares most of the Thai road surface and so it was decide that TUV Rheinland Thailand will be the governing body to evaluate the wear test of the Michelin XM2 tires.
Using 5 (five) Toyota Vios cars of similar age and mileage, the cars were fitted with Michelin XM1, XM2 tires as well as tires from the nearest competitors. The suspension systems and brakes of all the Vios test cars were replaced from the start and test started with the cars being driven by 5 appointed professional drivers in a convoy who rotated cars as they drove.
They traveled across various types of tarmac around Thailand and after every few days all tires were checked by the officials from TUV Rheinland Thailand and rotated. After some 45 days and 51,000 kilometers the tests showed the previous Michelin XM1 was still leading the nearest competitors and Michelins all new XM2 was the leading tire and ahead of the competitors by a clear 20%. This shows how much further the XM2 will go for the average driver and how much savings can be made from the XM2 tires. The XM2 tire also carries a full silica compound which returns a good 20% savings in fuel over the average drive.
You can see this with the Green ‘X’ mark on the tire sidewall which is Michelin’s trademark for their eco-friendly tire lineup. So what qualities lie with the XM2 tyre;
The Alternating Bridging Technology used in the Energy XM2 reinforces the rigidity of tread blocks resulting in the tread block moving less freely while reducing the rate of tyre wear.
Reduced fuel consumption is achieved as the full silica used in the rubber compound reduces friction between the rubber particles generating less heat. With less heat generated, less energy is lost, not only reducing fuel consumption but increasing the tyre’s flexibility thereby improving road holding.
The Micro Adaptive Compound and Optimum Void Grooves of the Michelin Energy XM2 guarantee user safety by reducing risk of hydroplaning an drivers losing control of their vehicle.
A total of 22 sizes in the Energy XM2 range will be available in Malaysia to fit rim sizes from 14 inches to 16 inches to cater for widths of 175 to 215.
The tyres are prizes from RM 217 for the 14 inch to RM 488 for the 16 inch range.
During our test drive we noticed how much quieter the Michelin XM2 tire was over the competing tires. Slalom handling was also good with less ‘screech’ and road noise. On the wet eweather test we found the XM2 returning more steering feedback and was easier to control around the wet tarmac. We have seen the pricing of the XM2 to be similar to the immediate competitors and only a few brands cost less but don’t have the longevity of the Michelin X2 tires.