TiresAfter searching around for tires for my SE for a long time, I finally chose the SP Sport 8000. I was very pleased with their ride, wear, and noise levels. My mechanic hates them, though. According to him, Dunlop has a reputation for not being able to build a round tire. He had one customer (a neighbor of mine) complain of vibration that wouldn't go away no matter how many times they balanced his tires. After switching them from Dunlop to Michelins, the problems went away.
Lotus is using the Michelin Pilot SX on the Esprit V8. Unfortunately, they weren't available in the size I needed for the front set on the SE. Otherwise, these would've been my first choice.
My S4s had the factory Goodyear Eagle GS-A. I was very pleased with these as well. I used them on the racetrack at Road Atlanta and, although I wasn't driving very fast, I could tell they have quite a bit of grip. Unfortunately, Goodyear has stopped making these tires, so replacement options in the factory sizes are going to be further limited.
My new S4s custom wheels are wearing the Michelin Pilot SX as on the V8, but in larger sizes. I have 235/35ZR18 front and 295/35ZR18 rear. I haven't been on the racetrack with this wheel/tire combo, but for street use, I am very impressed with this combination. Tire technology has improved so much in the past few years that, even with such low profiles, ride comfort is still acceptable.
I haven't heard much about Pirelli tires except that they tend to wear out very quickly. However, they are notorious for tremendous grip. Because of this, Lotus has chosen the Pirelli P-Zero for it's most extreme Esprit to date, the Sport350. the standard V8 rear tire size of 285/35ZR18 is not available in the Pirelli P-Zero, so like in my car, they too use the 295/35ZR18 size instead.
Note: Since first writing this I have put 20K miles on the Pilot SX Tires. This includes two trips to Atlanta and about twenty laps on the Road Atlanta track. I have been very happy with the performance of the Michelins. Their grip is outstanding and the ride on the street is smooth and quiet. However, due to the great amount of negative camber on the Esprit suspension setup, the racetrack ate the tread of my SX rear tires down to the cords. This is part of the price you pay for the superior handling of the Esprit. Still, 20K miles is not bad at all for a racecar.
Only two models of tires are available in the sizes for my custom wheels, the Michelins, and the Pirelli P-Zero. Since I was happy with the way the Michelins handled and how long they lasted, I decided to buy a new set. However, in the past year or two, Michelin has replaced this model with their new Pilot Sport. The Sport has a more aggressive and unidirectional tread pattern than the SX. It's intended to increase its performance in the wet. I just put these on recently. I'll update on my impressions once I put a few miles on them.