Tyre review: Michelin Energy XM2+
Recently, Michelin India took us to the WABCO proving grounds near Chennai to spend some time driving cars fitted with their new Energy XM2+ range of tyres. We drove a diesel Maruti Suzuki Swift fitted with these tyres, alongside one fitted with a Bridgestone B290 for reference.
Two tests were conducted, and uniquely, both took place on tyres that had seen a reasonable amount of wear, specifically around 1.5mm of the tread was left on. The first run was a wet braking test to justify Michelin's claim that the new tyres can cut braking distance by up to 3.3m in wet conditions. For this, the cars were driven at a steady 100kmph in fifth gear and then full braking was applied from a set marker just before the wet patch. The Energy XM2+ was quite impressive in this test, consistently stopping in less distance as compared to the Bridgestones.
The extra grip was also noticeable from behind the wheel. The Swift seemed to remain more stable, with the car continuing to track straight under these panic stop situations. This was a noticeable difference when seen alongside the OEM tyres that Maruti uses in its cars, where sometimes the rear tyres seem to lose grip under such heavy stops. These attributes made the whole exercise confidence-inspiring, a sensation compounded by the fact that the better grip also didn't allow the ABS to become too intrusive. The intervention was more progressive with the Michelins and quite predictable.
The second test was a dash around the WABCO test track. Here too the Energy XM2+ tyres were quite impressive. There seemed to be an added layer of predictability to the Swift's already competent handling. This also showed itself in the few corners that we put it through, including a long parabola. Here the Michelins helped the car stay true through turns at medium to high speeds, adding more surety to steering inputs. Even on the long right-handed parabola, where the car's front was heavily loaded up, the vertical and lateral movement you would expect around such sections was well-controlled. Further, the new rubber formulation these tyres use to improve grip also seems to strike a good balance between ride quality and longevity. There was none of that slightly harsh, wooden feeling that you tend to expect from value-oriented tyres such as these. Michelin claims that the Energy XM2+ will last 29 per cent longer than its competitors.
Michelin claims to have specifically worked on improving grip with this update to the Energy, and this is quite visible in the short time that we spent driving on these tyres. Specific attention has been paid to tread patterns and compounds. Having said that, we hope these tyres show similarly good performance in the real world. Our roads are quite different from the smooth, grippy tarmac at the Wabco track. The Energy XM2+ will available in tyre sizes 12 to 16-inch in 30 variations. This means they will fit on everything from the Alto to the Creta. Michelin is also trying to get on board as an OEM supplier but come January 2020, these will only be available in the aftermarket.
Prices for the Michelin Energy XM2+ range of tyres start at Rs 5,090. This is about 10 per cent more than rivals but we think this is a justifiable premium. These tyres seem to be one of the nicer ones in this price bracket, with a good balance of performance and efficiency. And given the claims of better safety, we think these tyres definitely deserve a look the next time you're looking for a new set for your car.
Starts Rs 4.99 Lakhs