Product launches are typically a hotel conference room affair, but thankfully for the launch of its latest Energy XM2+ tyres, Michelin set up a small dynamic evaluation exercise too.
The XM2+ is basically a step up from the earlier XM2 tyre range and is priced from Rs 5,090. They are available in wheel rim sizes ranging from 12 to 16 inches, with around 30 sizes with different widths and aspect ratios on offer.
Michelin claims a longer tyre life and says that the XM2+ will run about 29 percent longer than its competition. The company says this is down to its ‘Alternate Bridge Technology’, which basically prevents the tread blocks from shuffling, delaying wear.
The rubber is now a full silica-based compound which lowers rolling resistance and offers better grip in the wet. The new tyres also have wider grooves to help with water dispersion.
In terms of on-road performance, as mentioned, Michelin did conduct a small demo at the WABCO test track in Chennai. A straight tarmac strip with sprinklers emulated wet-road conditions to an extent and we sampled a set of new and used XM2+ tyres wrapped around two new Maruti Swifts.
To highlight its performance being stable over its lifespan, a panic brake test was conducted, by accelerating to 100kph and slamming the brake pedal completely, as you would in an emergency situation. Interestingly, there was barely any difference in the braking distance between the used and new Michelins.
Also on hand were a few rival manufacturers, and the XM2+ did fare better. It, however, must be said that this wasn’t a complete evaluation but a test set up by Michelin. In any case, the performance was good, even in the small subjective evaluation around the track and a slalom course where the tyres did offer good levels of grip.