The Explorer ST puts them to better use, too.
The 2020 Ford Explorer ST is the most powerful model yet, with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 tuned to produce 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. 20-inch wheels come standard, but Ford will also offer an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack, which add 21-inch wheels, bigger brakes, larger vented rotors, red brake calipers, and better brake pads.
Regardless of which wheel you pick, Ford will also offer a summer tire package as a standalone option. If you opt for the summer rubber, the wheels will be wrapped in Michelin Latitude Sport 3 high-performance tires. While on the launch event for the new Explorer, Car and Driver noticed something interesting about those tires.
The sidewall of these tires reads, "Michelin Latitude Sport 3 MO." The 'MO' part is pretty interesting because it stands for "Mercedes Original." This means the Explorer ST wears tires that were developed by Michelin for Mercedes-AMG, specifically the GLE 43 Coupe.
When asked why the new Explorer uses a Mercedes-specific tire, Ford Performance chief engineer Ed Krenz admitted that his team added the summer tire option late in the development cycle and didn't have time to get a bespoke tire. Krenz said the engineering team felt that a grippier tire would improve precision and steering feel over the standard Pirelli all-seasons and wanted to explore (no pun intended) their options.
When Ford reached out to Michelin for tires, the GLE's were the only ones that fit the Explorer ST's 275/45R-21 size needs. The GLE also comes with 21-inch wheels but can be fitted with 22-inch wheels (pictured above). Unlike the GLE, the Explorer ST uses a square setup with 275 size tries on all four wheels. The GLE uses 275 tires in the front but installs much wider 315-size rubber at the rear. This helps the GLE have better stability and give it a more aggressive stance, but it's a pain for owners since they can not rotate their tires. We think Ford made the right move with a square setup. This is an SUV after all, not a sports car.
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