Yes, it is absolutely true: the 2020 Chevy Corvette tires are Michelin All-Season Pilot Sport 4. Yes, those are all-weather tires. Now please, stop looking at me like the judge from My Cousin Vinny, even though I know you want to drawl out, “Sir, are you on drugs?” For the record, I am stone-cold sober as I write this. I haven’t even had my first Friday night beer. The calendar does not say April 1. I am not writing for The Lemon, Mad Magazine, or any other satirical publication. It is all true: the pre-eminent American muscle car, the 2020 Corvette Stingray, has all-weather tires. As the 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 Stingrays roll off the line at the Bowling Green Assembly plant, the technicians will be fitting them with all-weather tires. Just like your aunt’s mini-van, your cousin’s compact, and your coworker’s SUV. And you know what? It works!
A New Design for a New Decade
Chevrolet has rolled out a whole new design for its flagship Corvette Stingray, ringing in the new decade with a mid-engine sports car that is ready to meet and exceed the challenges ahead. That is another new design: the 2020 Corvette Stingray moves from a front-engine vehicle to one with a mid-engine design, just like pricier exotic sports cars like those made by Ferrari and Lamborghini. General Motors President Mark Reuss explained, “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout.” In addition, this is the first Corvette Stingray without a manual transmission option.
Probably the most radical decision was to make all-weather tires standard on the 2020 Corvette Stingray. This left many observers thinking that the folks who design the Corvette had truly lost their minds. A performance sports car with all-weather tires? Drivers who can’t accept having all-weather tires on their Stingray have the option for summer-only performance tires, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, if they buy the Z51 package for an additional $5,000. But this begs the question, why standard all-season tires on a speed machine like the Stingray?
These new Michelin all-weather tires actually pull more lateral grip, a full 1.00 g, than the 2019 Corvette C6 could handle on summer-only tires while on a skidpad. This is certainly better than the top-of-the-line all-weather tires, like Hankook Kinergy GT tires, which top out at 0.93 g on a skidpad. However, that is still less than the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S could pull on the Z51 package, an estimated 1.03 to 1.05 g. But, you won’t be driving your Z51 after summer turns to fall. So then why an all-weather tire on a mid-engine sports car?
The answer lies in giving you, the driver, the ability to cruise in your all-new 2020 Corvette Stingray in spring and autumn, as well as summer. This is no longer a summer-only sports car! Tadge Juechter, the executive chief engineer of Corvette, points out, “More customers than ever are saying that they’d really like to drive three seasons on the same tires.”
Imagine. In the past, you were able to enjoy your Stingray from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But as soon as the season changed, you had to put it away with your white shoes, since you can’t wear white after Labor Day, and you’d be foolhardy to take your prized performance sports car out to view Fall Foliage season. But those days are no more. Imagine cruising with your date up to Vermont to catch the change of season or driving out to the Ohio Valley to go apple picking. You’ll be the coolest looking pair out on the roads in your 2020 Corvette Stingray, and you’ll have your all-weather Michelin All-Season Pilot Sport 4 tires to thank. Not just that, but you’ll be the first out on the roads when winter turns to spring. While all your friends are still getting their Ferraris, Maseratis, and Porsche 911s out of the garage, you’ll be cruising around, starting the season early.
How is this Possible?
Michelin and Corvette spent over five years working together to come up with an all-weather tire that would provide the ability to drive your Stingray in three seasons without compromising the performance you’d expect from a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car. Lee Willard, the lead development engineer for Michelin’s Pilot Sport All Season 4, explains: “This tire doesn’t make the compromises that a summer tire will make when the temperature drops below 40 or 50 degrees, especially if it’s wet. It really behaves like a summer tire in balance and progressiveness at the limit, yet it offers two to three times the grip of a Michelin summer tire in the snow.”
The key may be in the thread pattern of the All-Season Pilot Sport 4, which emulates the pattern seen on the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tire featured on the Z51, but with a deeper cut to provide greater traction on wet surfaces. This is not surprising, since the Pilot Sport 4S got top marks for dry lap time, dry braking, wet lap time, and wet braking. If the Pilot Sport All Season 4 wears as well as the Pilot Sport 4S, then you won’t need to change them on your new 2020 Corvette Stingray as often as other performance tires.
Michelin’s previous top-of-the-line all-season performance tire, the Pilot Sport AS 3+, had some top marks as well. It had the shortest braking, wet or dry, of the leading competitive all-season ultra-high performance tires, and even outperformed the Continental ExtremeContact DW, one of the leading performance summer tires. The new All-Season Pilot Sport 4 from Michelin should be able to take this all-weather tire to the next level.
How Does it Perform?
Now that you have picked yourself up off the floor and accepted the fact that Chevrolet is putting all-weather tires on its 2020 Corvette Stingray, you are probably wondering how the new sports car performs on these tires. So far, the reviewers have been impressed. Very, very impressed. Matt DeLorenzo and Karl Brauer, reviewing for Kelley Blue Book as part of the Car of the Year awards test drives, found the Corvette “neutral and linear in response.” Jeff S. Bartlett, writing for Consumer Reports, was equally impressed. “The current Corvette is very impressive. It is a high-tech sports car, with quick reflexes, sure-footed ability to take sharp corners, and prodigious power.”
Motor Trends’ Scott Evans pointed out that, “Breaking 1.00 average lateral g on the skidpad is an accomplishment” for a car with all-season tires. Clearly, there was no compromise in performance by putting all-weather tires on the 2020 Corvette Stingray. The performance is there, and you will be able to get more out of it since now your car won’t be stowed away with the beach towels, blankets, and umbrellas as autumn approaches.
2020 Chevy Corvette Tires: Giving You All You Want, All Year Long
Chevrolet seems to have made the right choice in putting Michelin All-Season Pilot Sport 4 tires on the Stingray. You will still get the amazing pickup and performance you expect when you buy a Corvette Stingray. Now, you will also be able to drive your sports car all year round, even if you call your home Cincinnati, Chicago, or South Bend, and not Malibu or South Beach. The Michelin all-weather 2020 Chevy Corvette tires will give you this without compromising what you want and need from a mid-engine performance sports car.