The act of drifting a car has many different factors. In the attempt to drift, the driver must intentionally oversteer while the car loses traction. The driver must maintain control to successfully drive the car through the entirety of a corner.
Drifting cars has its origins in Japan thanks to Keiichi Tsuchiya, who started this style of driving during touring car championships. Keiichi Tsuchiya is also known as the “Drift King”. Drifting is now considered both a sport and a hobby.
Drifting is not something you can just do in any car. There are various attributes that make some cars better for drifting than others.
Cars that are best for drifting are usually light or moderate weight and are equipped with rear-wheel-drive. Another quality that is important is a manual transmission- the handbrake and clutch are not crucial but very useful when drifting. It is also best to have a 50/50 weight distribution. Weight distribution is important in a drifter because if there is too much weight in the front, the car becomes nose heavy resulting in understeering. On the contrary, too much weight in the rear and your oversteering will become out of control.
In order to drift successfully you must start with the right car. In this article we will go over the best cars to drive while drifting as well as how much you can expect to spend on your drift missile.
What to Keep in Mind
Though there are quite a few cars that qualify as being the best for drifting- there are a few factors to keep in mind when browsing through them.
Some cars that are used for drifting require a lot of modifications. This important to keep in mind because if willing, some cars do need a few tweaks to rank among the best. If you do not want to spend the time and money on modifying you drift missile, it is best to stick to a car that already has the preferred set up.
How much you are willing to spend is also important to keep in mind. Some cars such as the Nissan 350Z and the BMW E36 are more affordable and need less modification. A drifter such as a BMW M5 will end up costing you a good chunk of change.
Lastly, it is important to keep in mind location. If you are using your drifter often you may need to replace parts due to wear and tear. For example, you may struggle to obtain certain parts for your drifter if you purchase a foreign car. Therefore, you should keep the location of the manufacturer in mind.
Best Cars For Drifting
A Nissan 350Z is a great choice if you are looking to check off all of the boxes for the perfect car to drift in. After being released in 2003, the Nissan 350Z quickly made it’s way up on the list of “go to” cars in the drifting scene. Not only is the car known for its reliable power plant and chassis- it is also known for its sleek and stylish body that doesn’t break the bank!
A Nissan 350Z is a great option if you would like to do minimal modifications upon drifting. The stock transmission, wheel differential, and axle set up of the 350Z are typical modifications that are required on other vehicles. This being said, the Nissan 350Z stock is already built for success.
The manual transmission of the Nissan 350Z is worry free and these cars truly slide well on their own, without having to make too many tweaks. A few minor adjustments to the suspension and your Nissan 350Z will be coasting through drifts.
The average price of a used Nissan 350Z is around $8,000. This is a great price point for a car that is often described as extremely reliable.
There are many factors that make the Nissan S13 one of the best cars to use for drifting. It is basically ready to drift right away. Though there are many factors, the simplicity and pricing stand out to be the best attributes.
The Nissan S13 is very simple but there are many swap options available. This being said, if it is desired, it is easy to take the car to the next level.
The unibody design helps the S13 be lightweight and agile. Though it is not a 50/50 weight distribution, it does come close at 55/45. Weight distribution is important in a drifter because if there is too much weight in the front, the car becomes nose heavy resulting in understeering. On the contrary, too much weight in the rear and your oversteering will become out of control.
The price point of a Nissan S13 is a factor that truly stands out. S13’s can be found, used, for low prices such as $2,000. Not only is the car itself affordable but so are the aftermarket parts for upgrades.
The 240SX is another great Nissan choice when looking for a car that simply meets all of the drifting requirements. This car is extremely lightweight and low to the ground. It also is rear-wheel drive and exists more often with manual transmissions as opposed to automatic. The impeccable suspension and brakes of the Nissan 240SX will aid greatly to your drifting experience.
The Nissan 240SX appeals to most drifters due to all of the available performance modifications. This car has just about every performance modification available known to man. Therefore, if you can find a 240SX that has not been previously swapped you are able to modify it to fit all of your personal drifting needs.
The Nissan 240SX has always been prevalent in the drifting scene. Therefore, they are pretty accessible. The range of what you will come across does vary. You may be able to find a 240 SX for dirt cheap because of the extensive wear and tear. You also may come across the perfect 240SX for you but rest assured, it will be followed by a hefty price.
NISSAN SKYLINE R33 GTS-T
The power, the brakes, and the suspension are some of the many great factors of the Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T. This particular model was built between 1993 and 1998. Only a few minor tweaks are needed in order for it to drift through corners with absolute ease.
The Nissan packs plenty of power but there is potential for more if that is what you are looking for. Though the Skyline does not show any issues drifting as is, some adjustments can always be made in order to enhance your drifting experience.
Weight reduction is one of the minor tweaks that is suggested that upon drifting. One of the most common ways to lose some weight of a car is to swap out some of the interior parts for lighter versions. You can also remove back seats and passenger seats completely.
Price points vary drastically for this particular Nissan model.
The BMW E36 is automatically capable of being a great drifter for beginners due to the body’s base frame. With a perfect 50/50 weight distribution the chassis will be very predictable when sliding into a drift. This can be very helpful in order for the driver to maintain control while entering and exiting the drift.
It is suggested, when using a BMW E36 for drifting, that the owner welds the differential. A welded differential will keep both of the back wheels spinning at the same time throughout a drift. Welding the differential will help to glide through your drift due to the inner wheel skipping across the ground to keep up with the outer wheel.
What stands out most about the BMW E36 is the cost and the fact that they are quite accessible. They are relatively inexpensive and have great aftermarket support. When looking to purchase a BMW E36 you can be relieved to know that you may be able to find one, used, for south of $5,000.
It is a no surprise that the BMW M5 is amongst one of the best cars for drifting. Many promotional commercials for the BMW M5 even feature clips of the car drifting.
The BMW M5 has been used to break multiple Guiness World Records. In 2018 driving a BMW M5, Johan Schwartz set a new a record by drifting eight hours straight for a total of 232.5 miles.
This car has been said to make drifting easy. This can be credited to it’s factors such as 50/50 weight distribution, torque, and overall power. The BMW M5 has all wheel drive designed for traction in all conditions. With the push of a button, full power goes directly to the rear axle.
The BMW M5 is definitely one of the more luxurious options but there is no doubt that it deserves the recognition as one of the best. For a current model of the BMW M5 you are looking at a starting price of $102,000.
FORD MUSTANG FOX BODY
The Ford Mustang Fox Body has gained recognition as the standard choice when it comes to American drift cars. Fox Body Mustangs are accessible, lightweight, and easy to modify. This fun and affordable car can be the perfect beginner’s drift missile.
In order for your Fox Body Mustang to be the perfect drifter it will need a few modifications. Some of these modifications include stiffening the chassis, increasing horse power and changing the differential.
Mustangs are rear-wheel drive and typically have manual transmissions. If a mustang does not have a manual transmission, automatic to manual swap is an option.
Though there are a few modifications that are needed on Fox Body Mustangs, they are known for being inexpensive and well-supported by the aftermarket industry.
Price points vary on Fox Body Mustangs. The cost varies depending on if you are buying stock, used with modifications, or used without modifications. For a used Fox Body Mustang you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000.
The Toyota AE86 has taken the place of a true drift classic. This car is known for being lightweight and very tossable. If executed correctly, with total commitment to speed you can achieve the perfect slide.
The Toyota AE86 was one of cars that initially made drifting a recognized maneuver. The Toyota AE86 gained recognition due to Keiichi Tsuchiya, a Japanese racer also known as the “Drift King”. Keiichi Tsuchiya effectively used a Toyota AE86 to help make the sport of drifting so popular.
The Toyota AE86 is a great choice when you would like to acquire a greater skill level of drifting. The AE86 is with no doubt lightweight, but it also has a short wheelbase and a solid rear axle in the back. These qualities of the stock AE86 can make the handling of the car while drifting a bit difficult. It is important for the driver to have a good sense for weight transfer as well as experience in the act of drifting.
You can expect to spend well over $15,000 on one of these classics. Though the Toyota AE86 is amongst some of the older models used for drifting they have not lost their value. A Toyota AE86 will not be the most affordable option but it also not the priciest. The boosted price is mainly due to its reputation in motorsports.
MAZDA RX7 FC
The RX7 FC is light and powerful and has been used by many drifters. Unfortunately, regardless of the car’s popularity They discontinued the RX-7 because of low sales. The last year of sales in America was 1995.
Because the Mazda RX7 FC was discontinued it is not particularly easy to get your hands on one. Also, because these cars not easily accessible, they are also not the best drifter on a budget.
This small and quaint two-seater is not only a bargain, but it is also one of the best options when it comes to the all-around drifting experience. The Miata is the ultimate choice when looking to test the limits of what you are capable of while drifting.
Though the Mazda Miata is not the most powerful drifter or the easiest car to handle- it truly does not disappoint when sliding around corners.
You can find a used Mazda Miata for an average of $8,000. Newer models start at around $22,000 but rarely exceed $33,000, truly making the Mazda Miata one of the best bargain drifters.
MERCEDES C63 AMG
There’s no doubt that the Mercedes C63 AMG is great for drifting. The Mercedes C63 has been quite literally engineered for performance. The engineering does not fail to deliver on maneuverability, making it a great option to slide around corners.
It is suggested to upgrade the suspension upon drifting. This is suggested in order to add some additional lightness to the car.
The exterior of the Mercedes C63 AMG is also very stylish. There are three variations including the cabriolet model, the sedan, or the coupe. The coupe being your best option for drifting.
The only trouble comes down to the expense. The Mercedes C63 AMG is not the most expensive drifter but it also does not come cheap. You can expect to see price points for a newer model starting at $41,000.
The act of drifting a car has many different factors. In the attempt to drift, the driver must intentionally oversteer while the car loses traction. The driver must maintain control to successfully drive the car through the entirety of a corner. Drifting isn’t something you can just do in any car. In order to drift successfully you must start with the right car, and knowing what type of car requires being educated on the topic.
As shown in this article, there are many cars that can be described as the best for drifting. It mainly comes down to what you are personally looking for in a drift missile.
It is important to keep in mind the amount of work you want to put into your drifter. Some cars that are best for drifting can require a lot of work and modifications. On the contrary, some cars are stock ready to glide around a corner.
How much you are willing to spend is also an important aspect to keep in mind. Cars such as a BMW E36 or a Nissan 350Z are better for those who are you are on a budget. A Mercedes C63 AMG or a BMW M5 are options for those who have a bit of wiggle room in their financial situation.
Above all, it is important to be properly educated on the drifter of your choice.