Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Sizes & review

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The Winter Sottozero 3 is Pirelli’s third generation Sottozero (Italian for below zero) Performance Winter / Snow tire developed for the drivers of premium, high performance vehicles who will face challenging wintertime road conditions as they drive their cars year-round. The Winter Sottozero 3 was developed with the philosophy that winter / snow tires must perform in a variety of unpredictable weather conditions. Designed to provide traction and handling in cool, cold, dry, wet and wintry conditions, Winter Sottozero 3 tires are designed not just as snow tires, but as seasonal tires suitable for the cold weather and freezing road conditions.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3Winter Sottozero 3 tires use an innovative compound with specialized polymers that improve the tread rubber compound’s mechanical, thermal and dynamic properties. The compound is molded into a directional pattern that features an enlarged contact patch comprised of arrow-shaped center blocks and more rounded shoulders to expel water and slush. High-density 3D sipe technology improves braking performance and snow-to-snow traction. The tire’s internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wrapped polyamide that enhances thermal stability and makes the tires less sensitive to road and air temperature changes.

Winter Sottozero 3 winter / snow tires meet the industry’s severe snow service requirements and are branded with the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol.

Install Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 tires in sets of four only.

Due to the traction capabilities of Winter Sottozero 3 tires, Pirelli recommends using them only in sets of four to provide the best handling characteristics and tire performance.


  1. Given the huge number of positive reviews for this tire I was really confident in my purchase. Having driven them now in the snow multiple times in Wisconsin/Milwaukee they don’t compare AT ALL to my previous set of Pirelli Winter Maxx tires. Those things were great in a snowstorm. Truly confidence inspiring. These tires seem geared toward sub 40F performance on dry / frozen road surfaces. With an absolute minuscule amount of snow on the road they slip around like a set of 5+ year old snow tires with 25K miles on them. I honestly don’t understand how reviews work on tirerack. My experience seems to be completely different than everyone else that bought these. I have them on a set of downsized wheels on my 2012 Subaru STI. This car is an absolute beast in the snow and older Pirelli’s were amazing. The new Sorrtazeros, Sorta—-. Driving to work this morning with less than an inch of unplowed snow on the ground I found myself actually considering ordering a different set of tires as if $700 was a drop in the bucket. Really disappointed.

  2. I live in the Twin Cities (MN) area so I drive in heavy snow, -20F and a lot worse, and on glare ice since MN doesn’t believe in plowing or de-icing. This is my third set of Sotozeros on my Mustang GT, 230,000 total miles. My first set of winter tires were Michelins but I wasn’t satisfied and switched to the Pirellis and never looked back. I probably have 75,000 miles on Sotozeros and have never got stuck or lost control, and that includes a lot of highway driving in blizzard conditions. I have a 2020 Shelby GT350 on order and it will ride on Sotozero III’s in the winter. I will drop the wheel width to 9″ for the winter tires so I can run the 245-45 x 19 size. The Mustang GT runs on 255-40 x 19. Crossing slush ridges with 295’s in the front of the GT350 would scare the dickens out of me. If you can, always run narrower tires for dedicated winter use. Oh, and the Sotozeros look very nice!

  3. Great winter tire. Noise is acceptable and snow traction is great. We have had record snow so tires have had a good test. Ice beaming is as good as any winter tire I have ever owned, including Blizzak, Michelin and Pirelli

  4. I put these tires on my rear wheel drive 2004 BMW 330Ci last fall. I live in Michigan. Winter this year has offered some of the most challenging road conditions I have ever experienced in Michigan. I can safely say that the Pirelli Sottozero 3 XL is by far the best winter tire I have ever driven! I just completed a grueling drive in a heavy ice storm. The roads vacillated between slush, ice, snow, and water. The air temperature hovered between 28 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I was able to maintain a safe 70 mph on interstate highways and never once felt like I was about to spin-out. The car’s traction control system never kicked-in. I am completely impressed by the performance of these tires in the worst possible winter driving conditions. Hat’s off to the folks at Pirelli!

  5. I have a set of Sottozero 3’s for two Maserati’s (my 2014 GT and my wife’s 2014 Ghibli). These tires are fantastic. They take no time at all to get a little heat into them and get and stay soft in real subzero temps. I live in Westchester, NY and we range from slushy 32 degree snow to -7F ice and these tires really shine in the winter. The tread wear is very good in my opinion. I put 14k on my GT on these tires and the fronts are still like new and the rears are about half down in tread but plenty left and I drive pretty aggressively in dry conditions. The initial turn-in response is a little softer but that’s to be expected, and particularly as I went down to 18″ rims for the winter wheel set (down from 20″ with PZero OEM). The ride is great and road noise is very low and quiet. Love these tires. I used to have a set of Michelin Pilot Alpin several years ago on a 535i rear drive and these tires are much much better in my opinion.

  6. I will buy these tires again. I drove then for four winters. Very good in snow covered roads. Maybe not as good in snow as the Bridgestone Blizzak LM001 (installed in our other car), but better than them on cold dry roads. Noise level is higher but acceptable.

  7. My first set of winter tires and this was the winter to have them in Wisconsin. If I can get through a record 53″ of snow in one month then I will get through any winter here. The snow plows have had a hard time keeping up so the tires have been tested quite often and they have come through every time. One snowfall came on top of the icy parking lot at work and many cars with all-season tires and FWD were requiring help just to get out of the lot. My A4 drove right out without a problem despite the low clearance and plowing some snow in the process. Sure, the quattro helps, but I now know what having winter tires is all about and I will never go without them again. I previously had an SUV with a front-drive based AWD system and all-season tires and that was no comparison. Now all I have to worry about on the roads is the other drivers… I had thought the winter tread would be louder, but the road noise is surprisingly quiet. They have been comfortable enough. I don’t expect miracles on the roads around here (especially in Winter) and my car also has the lower sport suspension. I have 19″ summer wheels and went down to 17″ for these winter tires to get some extra sidewall height and try to make them a little less harsh on the rough winter roads. I certainly wouldn’t complain about the ride, and the grip on any surface has been fantastic.

  8. I like these tires for driving in typical urban/suburban winter conditions in upstate NY. They drove well in wet, dry, and plowed/salted streets and highways. Performance in snow/ice was far better than all-seasons although not as good as Blizzak or Michelin X-Ice3. However, they were better on dry pavement than those two for driving comfort and noise.My primary issue with these tires is that the sidewalls just don’t seem to be strong enough to withstand our rough roads and potholes that we develop over the winter. Each spring when the mechanics would take them off, a sidewall bubble was noticed in one of them and I would need to replace it. So, I had to take 3 out of the 4 tires out service and replace over 4 years (one got replaced under road hazard warranty, didn’t bother with paperwork etc. for second due to challenging schedule at the time, decided not to use the set again after the third and got Blizzaks instead).So if you are in an area with pothole-free roads, these are good winter tires. But I have had to pull more tires out of this set due to sidewall damage than in my entire lifetime driving, so they just don’t work in our area.

  9. I drove Sottozero 3 all the way down to 3 degrees F, and the temp gets lower than 25, traction gets much better. The worst part is I had 15K miles and ended up having 3 tires having sidewall bulges at the end of the winter, rendering them useless for the next winter, which seems a chronic issue with Pirelli Sottozero 3. Sidewall structure is definitely not being able to keep up with regular road imperfections or road hazards on the highway, not even potholes.Will go with Michelin Alpin PA4 instead. So if you want to have a peace of mind, Sottozero 3 is not recommended at all.

  10. I had read other Subaru owners claiming this tire was nearly as good in snow as real snow tires, and I can now attest to that. This is my sixth Subaru and most of them had snow tires at some point. I 100% agree that these tires do it all. I wouldn’t go charging through a foot of snow up Rt.17 in VT, but these tires will comfortably handle all but the worst east coast winter storms. When Rt.95 isn’t plowed, I own the fast lane with these tires.The wear is super low on these tires. I am impressed with how little the center tread has worn over the past 23,000 miles in 10 months. Wet traction and hydroplaning resistance are great, as you’d expect still having deep tread. In this tall size, the comfort is great as well. I drove extensively in Staten Island and didn’t bother swerving for any potholes or manhole covers or steel plates or crappy asphalt patch jobs or peculiarly placed sewer drains or curbs or the occasional car part because these tires took it all in stride.My only gripe is that they were whisper quiet until I pushed the fronts hard through a series of entrance/exit ramps. They now emit a bit of a howl. I’m about to rotate them and will report back after they settle in.Overall, I’d probably buy these again after checking out the current competitors, which at this pace will be sometime in 2020.

  11. I just replaced my Pirellis before I dare another winter driving season with them. I’m stationed in Germany, and even at “casual” Autobahn speeds (85-100mph, dry roads) these tires did nothing but wander & hunt. Not a very confidence-inspiring ride. On a handful of occasions where I was caught in surprise snow, I may have well had cheap all-season tires. Plenty of slipping and sliding, with full traction control on. Never to the point of losing control, but a lot of white-knuckling. I never had the issue with a previous set of Blizzaks, but unfortunately they were no longer available in the sizes I needed. I’ve switched to Michelin Alpins for this winter, and so far in the first week the high-speed stability issues have gone away (no snow yet to compare).

  12. I was going to go with Blizzaks for their known badassery in the snow, however, I went with the Pirelli Winter Sotto’s for the performance side because I still like to have some spirited cornering in the mountains.These tires slay the snow from trace to about midway up to my grill. It also handles the ice well, but like most tires your traction control will kick on and might get some slippage. I’ve driven on these things cross country (Pa to Ca) and back in both very hot and snowy conditions, and they have never let me down. I’ve driven over 25,000 miles on them and might push for another winter on them, but I’m amazed on how the tread held up. Not that you’re supposed to, but I took these off roading a few times on dirt and small rock crawling, and never expeirenced lost of traction, but I did bang my side skirts a bit. They corner pretty well on dry, warm pavement, but obviously not as good as the stock summer Dunlop’s. The only cons about these tires are that they tend to be on the louder side, especially driving on the highway, but I’ll take that trade off if that means more safety on those snowy mountain roads.

  13. Only tire available for the rs3 – was nervous as I have never bought Pirelli snows before. Always been a Michelin guy buyer for decades.Driven in rain, freezing rain, light snow, snow fall and slush. I must say that I’m impressed and happy with this purchase so far . I can’t comment on treadware yet, but the ride is super smooth on highway and city. Only room for improvement is the tires are louder than I would like. My other cars that have Michelin snows are a touch quieter.I recommend these tires – even though I was forced to only these tires on the Audi. Kudos to Audi and Pirelli for this great combination!

  14. I am using these tires in an AWD vehicle, and I’ve felt more stable in my previous RWD vehicles with Blizzaks and Alpins. Their snow performance is nowhere near the ratings for this tire imply.These will plow with just the slightest steering input in 1-2″ of snow. On a straight uphill, the AWD with these tires is better than RWD with the others. I base that purely on the AWD and not these tires.If you are replacing summer only tires, and don’t see snow, these are fine. But, if you often see snow, I would not recommend them.They are also very bad in fuel economy. With dedicated snows, I’ve always lost about 1 mpg, but with these, I’ve lost about 3 mpg.

  15. I’m really happy so far with the Sottozero 3s. In the few weeks that we’ve had them, we’ve had dry weather, wet weather, snow, and ice, so I’ve gotten to experience them in all conditions, and they’ve been very good to excellent for everything. For dry handling and steering response, they’re not as good as a max performance summer tire, but they’re as good or better than any all season tires that I’ve driven on. They’re outstanding in the wet; I gave them a 10 for that, and comparable in the snow and ice to the Bridgestone WS60s they replaced. I was never particularly happy with the WS60s; their handling and steering response was poor in the dry and their wet performance was mediocre. The WS60s were very good in the snow and ice, but their effectiveness went down after the first half of the tread was gone. They were still okay in the snow and ice, but nothing special. So far, I’d say the Sottozero 3s are very, very close to the WS60s when they were new on snow and ice, and hopefully they won’t suffer the fall off in performance that the WS60s suffered as they wore down.The ride is good, better than the Michelin Pilot SS’s that we use in the summer and they’re fairly quiet, comparable to the SS’s and much quieter than the WS60s were. Steering response is very good, not as good as the SS’s, but surprisingly close, and they don’t want to follow grooves in the road like the SS’s. I don’t have enough miles on them yet to have any idea about treadwear; time will tell.

  16. My name is Anthony I live in Connecticut. Last year I leased a BMW M4 Comp pack. I have a 32 mile commute to work everyday with hills and sharp curves, so i was a little worried about driving it in the snow. I have driven in Blizzards with heavy snow, Ice and slush. The worst storm was a 13 inch snowstorm we had in January 2018, the snow was above the bumper and i still had traction to accelerate, stop and turn. I am seriously amazed at how it turns a low, rear wheel drive sports car into a snowmobile. They even have great traction when the temp is well below zero, make almost no road noise, and in the dry are tight and handle great. This is all with a car that with the OEM wheels and tires will not even leave the parking lot with anything more then a dusting. I highly recommend this tire to anyone with a daily sports car or any daily rear wheel drive vehicle. Thank you pirelli!!

  17. Treadwear is the wild card now, as I only drove about 2000 miles last Winter and switched back to my all season for the Summer. The only problem I had is on ice and I did not expect any better w/o studded tires. This is a great product from a great brand. I never expected to be driving this car every day, but things change and Winter tires help.

  18. These tires are still pretty new to me but I have had the opportunity to drive through two snow/ice storms with them. The combination of this tire and the Mustang’s Ice/Wet Mode have been spectacular. The first time I drove I had a couple of steep intersections that I had to stop at and I was pretty nervous about getting going again. No problem. The two storms were pretty mild and I haven’t had any deep snow yet but on ice and compacted snow I am loving the tires. Perfect for a Mustang that is a daily driver all year long.

  19. I had an early AM airport drive (about 80 miles for me) through 8″ of fresh. All I can say is WOW! Much of the snow was driven on / compacted, but there were sections where it was tough to make out where the road was! My vehicle is front drive with wider low-profile tires, so it’s typically not all that good in snow, but these tires are AMAZING. Truly confidence inspiring. I really pushed them to the max and did not feel like I was getting to the edge. I was running 50mph when most other traffic on the road was crawling. Bad timing on this business trip, as my arrival home met another snow storm and late at night – the only car on the road for most of my 80mi trip home and I drove relatively stress free – somehow sticking to the snow. Thanks Pirelli! I WILL Buy these again!

  20. This tire performed way better than we originally expected. It performs almost as well as our blizzaks in the snow/ice but way out performs them in all other conditions. As for wet and dry performance, it outperforms the slightly worn out Michelin pilot sport as 3 which is on the car during the summer months. We have only have the tire for one winter season so far, so we are unsure how long they will last. No tread life warranty is a bit concerning. When it comes to a sport sedan, I would definitely choose winter performance instead winter only tires, especially in northeast Ohio.

  21. I was very impressed with this tire’s performance in winter conditions. Traction in all weather was great. Unfortunately, snowfall was minimal last year and this year and the tread wear has been severe. Rears are end of life already, and fronts will need replacing by the time this winter is over. With a requirement for a low profile sidewall, I’ll probably be sticking to a snow friendly all season going forward, because price vs. longevity was simply too great.

  22. A good choice for light winter duty on the m240 x drive. I minus sized for higher profile to deal with the terrible roads we have in MA in the winter. Good feel but you know your on a winter package by both feel and sound (noisy). bought performance tire so I could hold on to them until summer when the summer only tires go back on. BBS sx rims look better than OEM on the car.

  23. Bought a set of four (4) Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 tires and a set of 18×8 Gloss Black Painted Sport Edition A8-2 wheels to mount them on, as my winter driving tires here in the Northeast. Both the tires and wheels have performed well over the past two years. Have about 12k of wear on them going into my third winter. These tires work great in the colder temperatures and light snow. I have a 100mi round trip to work on mostly highway roads, and these grip nearly as well as my stock Pirelli P Zero’s do in the summer months. My only two complaints would be the rate of wear and the a slight increase in road noise. At 12k, I would estimate that about 50% of the tread is gone, meaning that I anticipate the need to replace them around 25k. There is a slight increase in road noise at higher highway speeds, but not overwhelming.

  24. I’ve had these tires for 2 years, entering the third winter. Approx 10,000 miles on the tires.Driving in Northeast NJ I don’t see a great deal of snow, but because of the nature of my job I need to be able to get to work regardless of the weather. These tires are great in the snow. Since NJ is not a state that sees constant snowstorms the clean up response to storms is good, but not always immediate. I’ve had to travel on roads that were not plowed adequately and the tires always got me through. More than a few times I’ve driven around all wheel drive vehicles that were stuck in the snow. I would buy them again in a heartbeat!

  25. Very satisfied with these tires. They were mounted earlier this year due to wide variances in temperatures and I didn’t want to get stuck driving on my summer tires for the days which were sub-freezing and raining. As it turned out, we received our first snow the next week.Due to the wide variety of weather this fall I’ve driven them in light snow, sleet, slush, ice, and 60+F dry roads. The tires have performed well in all of those conditions. In the warmer weather on dry roads they feel a little squirmy, but that is to be expected. On dry roads in temps below 40F they feel just like any normal road tire with pretty good grip. They perform very well in bad weather too, cold rain, slush, ice, sleet and light snow I’ve encountered have been non-events. The car was stable with plenty of grip (despite being RWD with a manual transmission) while other vehicles were fighting for traction. The biggest difference I noticed from all seasons I’ve run on other cars as my winter tires is the grip on ice. All seasons would get hard in the cold temps and struggle to find grip on the ice. Not so with these. If driving sanely, there is plenty of grip for getting around safely. I’ll never run all seasons in the winter again.Overall they are quieter than I expected for such an aggressive, directional, tread pattern. They still make noise, but no more so than the runflat performance tires the car currently runs in the summer.

  26. These tires seem to do their job. Handling is good in all conditions; they are a little squirrely in the dry, but not too bad. They are very noisy. While driving on the highway, they emit a pitched hum that isn’t easily drowned out even by loud music. When driving over expansion joints and similar breaks in the road, it sounds like bouncing a basketball. It’s liveable but annoying. Snow traction is very good. I took the car out to a parking lot during an ice and snow storm and I had a tough time getting the car to go sideways. In the snow, braking traction is predictable, and acceleration is awesome. If I had the extra budget, I’d probably stick with Nokian Hakkappallittas but these are good for the price.

  27. Too early to tell how these tires will perform over the long haul but initial impressions are very good. Excellent responsiveness with very good ride comfort. These tires are also very quiet. Hopefully they will stay that way when worn. My experience with them in snow is limited but I like they way they are performing in the wet, slipperiest snow we’ve had this winter. I’m hoping these tires will outperform my last two sets of Michelin Alpin PA4s, which were great tires but became very noisy as they wore. Certainly these Pirellis are priced more attractively then the Michelins. I would say they ride as well as the Michelins with equal responsive ness on dry roads and similar traction in the white stuff.

  28. Excellent winter tire. I had these on my previous vehicle and was very happy. Dry performance is very good for a winter tire, and snow and ice performance is also excellent.They are of course noisy compared to my 21″ performance summer tires. But this is as I expected, but not so intrusively so as to be annoying.

  29. Didn’t put many miles on it yet, however already I have experienced excellent combination of performance and ride comfort. With my “spirited driving” I have observed solid performance under hard acceleration, braking and cornering under cold temperatures below 32 F. Ride comfort has been exceptional as well for my daily commute to work. On the negative side the tire noise is louder than the Michelin X-Ice and Bridgestone Blizzak’s in comparison. Also I cannot comment on the treadwear at this moment due to the low milleage so far. I recommend them for those that are looking to continue their spirited driving and continue getting the most out of the vehicles performance during the winter months .

  30. Not as great in snow ice as other winter tires like michelin Alpin. But better on dry road at handling and with noise/comfort. A bit disappointed in the winter abilities. My ABS brakes engage a lot more with these tires than with others. Not sure I’d buy these again for snow.

  31. TLDR: these things commute nicely and can handle a serious mountain pass blizzard no problem. Definitely made a good choice with these.Bought these for mostly combined city-highway commuting in temperate Portland OR with weekend trips up to Mt. Hood, which can vary from long stretches of hard pack to deep snow to outright ice. Took two trips to the mountain on them so far, one in an outright blizzard. Hit slush and standing water at freeway speeds and they didn’t flinch. Didn’t spin a tire (on front wheel drive no less) all the way up the mountain – 35 miles of continuous winding uphill on mixed hard pack and loose snow. Stop-and-starts in traffic, uphill, in the snow, with only front wheel drive, .etc. Even came to a stop behind a big DOT snowplow with chains, who then got stuck spinning their tires, chains and all. The Sottozeros politely gripped and let me go right around the stuck plow with no drama whatsoever. For more extreme cold/ice environments I’m sure there’s more aggressive snow tires, but I expect this weekend’s trips were probably the extreme of what most weekend warriors ask of snow tires, and these performed perfectly. As for non-snow driving, they don’t seem to have any increase in road noise. I haven’t had any detriment to acceleration traction over the stock tires, which is somewhat of an issue with the Volt’s torque and FWD. Being 16’s instead of the OEM 17’s there’s inevitably more roll and vagueness on turn-in, but nothing that’s going to bother me on the Monday-Friday commute. No sense of unstable looseness or an overly soft carcass.Darned good tire.


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