Michelin chosen as sole M6 fitment
When the latest generation BMW M6 is released in summer 2012, the German manufacturer’s largest M-badged coupé and convertible will be supplied exclusively with Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport tyres. Michelin has not specified which dimensions are covered by the supply agreement, however BMW has selected 265/40 ZR19 102Y for the front wheels and 295/35 ZR19 104Y on the rear as standard equipment on the M6, with 265/35 ZR20 99Y as a front axle option and 295/30 ZR20 101Y as an option for the rear.
Before final fitment approval was given for the Pilot Super Sport – a tyre Michelin claims is the world’s fastest street tyre on the racetrack – nearly 1,200 prototype tyres and 1,000 pre-series tyres were produced, measured and tested in what the manufacturer calls “extreme conditions.” The tyres were tested at a range of venues, including the Nordschleife circuit at Germany’s Nürburgring to Michelin’s own test tracks at its Ladoux technology centre in France. These road trials, says the tyre maker, are critically important to both BMW M and Michelin, as a reflection of their shared commitment to high performance.
A combination of three technologies
In announcing the M6 supply deal, Michelin comments that the Pilot Super Sport utilises a “unique combination” of tree technologies – a Twaron-reinforced belt, Bi-Compound tread band and Variable Contact Patch 2.0.
The Twaron belt is a high-density fibre primarily used in aeronautics and protective military gear, whose key feature is its high traction resistance. Strong and light at the same time, Twaron is five times more resistant than steel at equivalent weight. Thanks to its variable tension, the belt tightens the tread more than the shoulders, so that centrifugal force is more effectively overcome and pressure is more evenly distributed.
Originally developed for racing tyres, Bi-Compound technology uses different rubber compounds on the left and right sides of the tread. On the outside, an elastomer ensures exceptional endurance in tight cornering, while on the inside, a different elastomer combines with a special tread design to enable the tyre, on wet pavement, to break through the water’s surface and adhere to even the slightest irregularities in the road.
The innovative feature of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 is that it changes shape depending on actual driving conditions, thereby guaranteeing total vehicle control. In this way, even as the patch’s shape changes when cornering, the amount of rubber in contact with the road remains the same.
The combination of these three technologies, says Michelin, delivers an “exciting drive that meets BMW M’s standards, particularly in terms of precision steering, sportiness and safety, on both street and track.” Furthermore, Michelin reports that the Pilot Super Sport offers superior mileage.
In addition to exclusive supply for the M6, Michelin supplies 100 per cent of the tyres fitted to the BMW M5 as well as all 100 per cent of 18-inch fitments and 30 per cent of 19-inch fitments on the M3.