10 Best Drift Cars of All Time
These powerful cars for drifting turn heads.
Published November 30, 2018
Drifting is a sport that’s taking the nation by storm. It doesn’t surprise any of us considering it has exceptional entertainment value; more so than any other motorsport around. What could be better than seeing powerful cars tilting sideways as they roll down the track at breakneck speeds? Of course, driving one of the best drift cars could be more thrilling than just being a spectator.
Not all of us are equipped to handle the sport of drifting, so it’s best to watch. Of course, with the right drift car, we would have a better shot. Finding an exceptional drift car requires certain characteristics. It should have:
- rear wheel drive
- decent chassis balance
- a limited slip differential
- engine tunability
- great style doesn’t hurt either
Without further ado, we’ve ranked the top ten drift cars of all time for your enjoyment. Fair warning – these cars will make you want to get out there and enjoy the sport for yourself.
1. Mercedes C63 AMG
There’s no doubt that any AMG makes one of the best cars for motorsports. The trouble comes down to the expense. This luxury model is going to drain your bank account in a hurry. The sad part is that you’ll need to get rid of everything luxurious just to get it ready for the track.
Still, there’s no denying that this drift car is worth every expense once you see it run. Even if you were to run this in stock form, the 6.2-liter V8 engine makes its tires shake with fear. Start with a suspension upgrade to add some additional lightness and you’ll truly see the AMG shine.
2. Pontiac GTO/Chevy Lumina SS
If you want to stick to a closer budget but still achieve a superior drift, this might be the best vehicle for you. Just make sure you find a manual gearbox variant. The V8 offers the torque you want and the longer wheelbase gives you the additional space to chuck it around while holding in.
This American beauty is a perfect example of what big power looks like on a tight budget. Not only is it versatile, but also fun enough to run in any motorsport competition.
3. BMW M3
The BMW M3 with its rear wheel system and more than 280 horsepower has everything you need for fun on the track. These cars come standard with a limited slip differential, so that’s less money you have to spend on upgrades.
Of course, the leather and other luxury amenities mean nothing when it comes to drifting. What is important is that you have roll cages, big brakes, and bucket seats. These work together to create full-on drifting specifications that are sure to impress.
Because you won’t need to tune the rear much, you’ll have some leftover money to spend on the crucial aspects instead.
4. Toyota Corolla AE86
You might have trouble finding one of these Toyota’s, but it’s well worth the effort. If you can find a TRD, you’ll be in even better shape. This car reminds us of Keiichi Tsuchiya, who was a father of the sport.
Of course, it will require serious tuning to create the ultimate drift machine. It does come with a naturally aspirated 4A-GE which wins over anyone that drives it. While they aren’t the fastest cars out there, the 1.6-liter engine does put out 130 horsepower. Yes, that’s not the quickest you’ll find, but few cars handle quite as this one does.
That’s what makes it the best drift car for beginners. Once you get used to driving this rear wheel drive beauty, you’ll be able to upgrade to something more powerful without concern over safety. If you have your heart set on this model, start asking around at local events; that’s generally the only way to find one for sale these days.
5. Nissan 350Z
There’s no need to purchase a Nissan 370Z when you can buy the used Nissan 350Z for less. While it’s not the lightest car for drifting, the powerful 3.5-liter V6 does pump out 276 horsepower. In addition, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of parts for the engine, brakes, and suspension. The main reason this car made our list was because of the chassis. It is well-balanced for the best drift.
We spotted lots of the Nissan 350Z models for under $10,000 making them quite the bargain as well. If you don’t have much more to invest in the beginning, you can run it stock without an issue. Then, upgrade the steering and suspension to start sliding around like a king. If you hang around any drifting circles (did you like that?), you’ll be sure to run into a few of these. Of course, you could always upgrade to the 370Z, but it’s virtually the same thing with a higher price tag.
6. Mazda RX7
The Mazda RX7 is a notoriously challenging drift car, especially if you’re just beginning. However, advanced drivers find it a thrill to conquer. When you get it going sideways, you’ll find intense pleasure unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
In addition, this car features superior balance and a turbocharged Wankel rotary engine that helps you smoke your tires. The FD is the best model for the job, but any of the predecessors work as well.
The other thing this vehicle offers is stunning good looks. The sleek curves combined with angular lines make it truly stand out while racing. The only downside is the lack of reliability. As you rack up the miles, you’ll probably notice a decrease in engine dependability. Of course, you could always do an engine swap.
7. Toyota Supra
Toyota responded to the Nissan GT-R by producing its own choice for the best drift cars. The rear wheel action on this vehicle gives it some serious excitement when going sideways. Minor modifications will give you everything you need when building cars for drifting.
Keep in mind that this isn’t one of the lightest cars you could pick, but that shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. Just make sure you do a good amount of stripping and add some bucket seats. Then, you’ll have everything you need to smoke the competition.
8. Nissan 200SX (S13/S14/S15)
Besides looking for a Nissan Skyline, another popular choice from the Japanese automaker is the 200SX. It’s been a top choice in drift cars for many years. Whether you choose the early S13 car with the pop-up headlights or the later S15, you won’t be ignored.
The S13 produces 180 horsepower from its 1.8-liter turbocharged CA18DET engine. The S14 and S15 use a 2.0-liter turbocharged SR20DET engine instead. This bumps up the output to 200 horsepower. Both engines are strong choices and have plenty of aftermarket tuning parts to choose from.
Overall, we would choose the S14 if given the option between the drifting cars. It’s the perfect combination of budget and performance. Of course, if you have the money, you’ll probably want to opt for the upgraded S15. Not only will it take you sideways, but you’ll be stylish while you do it.
9. Ford Mustang
When you think of American muscle cars, it probably doesn’t occur to you that they also make good drift cars, but the Mustang does. While they feature an old-school suspension, there are ways to get it cornering. Of course, it will require some tuning to make it perfect.
If you want one of the best drift cars that isn’t like everyone else’s, then this should please you. As you get behind the wheel, you can expect to turn a few heads as people watch to see what your muscle car is made of.
10. Volvo 340
While America never got this Volvo, it’s still important to mention as one of the best drift vehicles in the UK. We imagine that Volvo never intended for this car to see the racetrack. What might surprise them even more is how well the rear tires smoke and how agile it can be around the turns.
Of course, aftermarket support for these overseas isn’t fabulous. With that said, there’s not too much that needs to be done for them to experience the best drift. If you head to the UK, you’ll likely see these in a hatchback configuration with a 1.7-liter Renault F-series engine.
Drivers often weld the differential, lower the suspension, and fit in a bucket seat. Of course, it only outputs 80 horsepower, but the best drivers know how to make this work.
Drifting Tips for Beginners
If you want to have the most excitement behind the wheel of your drift cars, you need to know how to drive them properly. We’ve put together a few tips for those learning how to drive their drift car.
1. Learn Your Car
The most important thing is that you understand your vehicle. Each of the best cars we listed has its own characteristics. They will each feature their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are going to drift easier than others. The more you get the chance to drive, the more comfortable you’ll feel as you go sideways.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Upgrade
Each and every upgrade performed is going to offer the chance to have better responses. This is most noticed when you reinforce the chassis or upgrade the suspension. Your first step is to install coilovers – they are a non-negotiable item. Of course, we have to recommend purchasing brand new parts, but you don’t have to if money is a concern.
After you install coilovers, your next steps would be to pay attention to the suspension arms. This includes your tension rods and control arms. In fact, you want to focus on everything in the rear of your drift cars.
Welding the differential is also a vital part of getting the best cars. This could be an easy or hard task depending on what car you use. As you get more advanced, you’ll want to utilize a two-way diff. Until then, most people prefer the welded option as it’s cost effective.
Remember that the upgrades don’t have to happen all at once. If you’ve just purchased the vehicle, money might be tight for a little. Simply budget out the upgrades and do them as you find yourself available.
3. Improve the Chassis Stability
There’s no way to get around chassis reinforcements. They must be done if you want stability and rigidity to your drift cars. It helps to have a power brace on the tension rod brackets as well as boxing them.
Make sure you also run a top-notch strut tower bar combo in the rear and front. Plus, opt for a c-pillar bar or run a harness bar instead. Don’t forget those fender braces.
There are numerous options out there to help the car perform better and feel stable when it starts to slide. As you get more advanced, you’ll naturally feel what needs to be upgraded and you can take the necessary steps.
4. Get Lots of Practice
It doesn’t matter how many upgrades you perform to your drift car; if you don’t know how to drive it, nothing matters. You need to spend time behind the wheel learning the ins and outs of your vehicle. This shouldn’t be a chore for you; there needs to be a passion. You have to want to drive the best cars.
If you want to play around with the bigger guys, you need all the practice you can get. It’s impossible to perfect anything without spending time honing your skills.
5. Learn to Initiate the Drift
Your drift cars won’t just go sideways themselves. You must take steps to make it happen. You do this through several methods.
E-brake – use this mid-drift as a way to adjust scrub speed or angle.
Feint – ideal for aggressive angle entries to gain momentum as you go through wide sweepers.
Clutch kick – this keeps the car sideways during the mid-drift and works great with big sweepers. You’ll want to use this most often if you have a low horsepower vehicle.
Power-over – this classic move helps you start your slide. This works ideally for the big torque and V8 motors.
6. Embrace Your Passion
Above all, it’s your job to have a good time. Getting behind the wheel of the best drift cars is exhilarating and makes the blood pump through your body. You should live, eat, and breathe drifting cars. Once you have the enthusiasm, everything else naturally falls into place. On top of that, this energy is contagious and you’ll likely inspire the next generation to start drifting cars as well.
Final Thoughts on the Best Drift Cars
Life is short and you don’t want to miss out on all there is to enjoy. Whether you are new at this motorsport or an advanced driver, there’s always more to learn and experience. Find the best cars for drifting from our list above and get out there to feel the rush for yourself.
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