Picture a tire that effortlessly tackles the twists and (left) turns of a racetrack, while still ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride during your daily commute, no matter the conditions. The new Pirelli P Zero AS Plus 3 goes beyond any regular ol’ replacement tire, the Pirelli team says; it’s an ultra high-performance tire for drivers who demand their tire maintains exceptional performance for its lifespan.
“Every single day, we try to think about something new, something that is able to give our customers, dealers and consumers something different than they are used to,” said Claudio Zanardo, president and CEO of Pirelli Tire North America.
To debut its new P Zero AS Plus 3, Pirelli hosted a ride-and-drive event at the historic Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The purr of high-performance engines hummed and the pedal was indeed put to the metal as I put the new UHP all-season tires to the test on various tracks, testing the tire’s high-performance characteristics.
The Pirelli P Zero AS Plus 3 proved its ability to handle various challenges, whether reaching speeds well over 100 MPH around the Speedway or maneuvering through tight turns on a street track. I also tested out Pirelli’s Scorpion AS Plus 3 tire, navigating highways and side roads through the Valley of Fire State Park.
Ian Coke, the company’s chief technical officer, said the primary objective when designing the P Zero AS Plus 3 was to ensure consistent performance throughout the life of the tire. To do this, the tire’s tread pattern features interlocking 3D sipes and deep grooves, which help it maintain performance even as it wears. The tire also retains nearly 99% of its efficiency even when it reaches half of its tread life.
“This tire is basically a complete upgrade and a new generation of our previous P Zero UHP product,” Coke explained. “Though the P Zero All-Season Plus has been around for a while, technology has changed, so we changed with it.”
Coke said the compound used in the P Zero AS Plus 3 includes liquid polymers that lowered the compound’s glass transition point, the temperature at which the tire’s rubber compound shifts from rigid to flexible, enabling it to function effectively in cold temperatures and wet conditions. Pirelli said the tire offers better wet-braking without compromising snow performance, exhibiting a 10% improvement over the last generation. In snow, the tire showed a 20% improvement in stopping distance compared to the Pirelli P Zero AS Plus, its predecessor.
According to Coke, Pirelli also focused on making this generation’s P Zero AS tire sustainable and safe. Through computer modeling and simulation, he said Pirelli was able to optimize the tire’s tread pattern and its interaction with the road, specifically targeting its pressure points.
“This optimization results in improved energy dissipation as the tire moves along the surface,” Coke said. “Through this process, we achieve an optimized footprint, leading to more even and efficient wear of the tread pattern. Despite the tire’s performance remaining the same throughout its life, this optimized wear reduces abrasion, resulting in fewer particulates [on roads].”
The P Zero AS Plus 3 comes with a 50,000-mile warranty, 31 size options, a low level of rolling resistance to reduce fuel consumption and reduced noise for enhanced comfort, Pirelli said.
Andre Oosthuizen, chief marketing officer, said in designing the next-generation all-season UHP tire, Pirelli wanted to make a tire that fit the wants and needs of high-end vehicle drivers, a target group for Pirelli. The company comes OE on prestige brands like McLaren, Porsche, Maserati and more, but it is also focused on premium brands like Mercedes Benz, BMW and Jaguar.
“[Pirelli tires are] for people with discerning taste who know what they want from their product and are demanding in terms of components,” he said, nodding to the P Zero AS Plus 3’s design and performance. “So where does that put us? Our strategy is to be an undisputed leader in the prestige high-end vehicle segment but stretch our relevance across a spectrum of [vehicle] brands.”
Zanardo echoed that message, highlighting the company’s goal of designing purpose-built tires that incorporate a range of innovative ideas and technologies.
“There are three ‘P’s we focus on at Pirelli: passion, product and people. We want to develop products for the US consumer that are different from anyone else,” Zanardo said, referring to the P Zero AS Plus 3. “What does it mean for us to be a premium leader in the tire industry? It means that we always have a premium-minded attitude. So trying to innovate for us means working strongly with OEMs and high-value car makers. That drives the innovation, that drives the new cars and products to the market.”