• TopSpeed’s Top 10 Drift Cars

The sport of Drifting is catching on like wildfire the world over, and that’s not exactly surprising considering it carries the most entertainment value of any motorsport out there. Even F1 has become mundane with cars lapping continuously in a “follow the leader” fashion for two hours. There isn’t much in the form of action, except when spectacular crashes happen, sending carbon fiber shrapnel everywhere. Not exactly safe, but it’s action nonetheless. Yes, aerodynamics make it difficult to overtake blah blah blah.

Drifting brings together the most exciting aspects of our favorite forms of racing in an exciting showcase. What could be better than watching massive horsepower cars going sideways, door to door with each other at breakneck speeds with smoke bellowing out their arches? Okay, well, participating would be better, but not all of us have the type of skill and precision needed to pull off some of these stunts. Of course, some may, so learning a bit about the best vehicles to take out onto the track is important.

The recipe for a great drift car is a generic affair with the following characteristics at the fore: RWD (Duh!), good chassis balance, engine tuneabilty, a limited slip differential, and obviously accessible tuning parts to make the aforementioned a reality. In the list below, you will find a short description on what unique attributes each of the cars bring to drifting, and hopefully will give you a better understanding of the sport and what building a good drift car requires.

Hopefully this will get you swatting bugs with your side windows in no time. Proceed with caution though, as this is a highly addictive adrenalin rush waiting to happen.

Hit the jump to see the list.

10. Mercedes C63 AMG

2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG High Resolution Exterior
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Pretty much any of the AMG Mercs are born drift cars, the problem is the cost involved. Using one of these luxurious models is a torturous affair for your wallet, especially considering the need to rip out all of Merc’s luxury gear to get it ready for the track in your quest for Drifting euphoria. The results are worth every penny, but it does take a lot of pennies. Actually, it takes a lot of benjamins.

Even in stock form, the crazy 6.2 liter V8 will have tires quivering with fear. A suspension upgrade and adding lightness are key to being able to harness all the AMG fury.

9. Chevy Lumina SS/Pontiac GTO

2006 Pontiac GTO
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Pontian GTo

Try and look for a manual gearbox version. Its V8 has plenty of torque and the longer wheelbase means plenty of room to chuck it about and hold it there. This American/Australian masterpiece is a great example of big power on a small budget that is versatile enough to be fun in almost any motorsport discipline.

8. Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T

TopSpeed's Top 10 Drift Cars Exterior
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The description of this vehicle is easy; bargain rear sliding bulletproof tank. Even really mint examples are affordable to create a weekend drifter. This was the last to feature the RB25 engine with rear wheel drive and that makes it special. Stock 2.6 liter lump makes 276HP, which is a good base for modding.

7. Toyota Corolla AE86

TopSpeed's 50 Coolest Cars Ever Exterior
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These are pretty difficult to find nowadays, but you’ll have to look no further than your local JDM club get-together. It’s even better if you can find a TRD: you’ll be worshipped forever. Drifting doesn’t get much more nostalgic than this, with legends like Keiichi Tsuchiya - the father of drifting - starting out with one of these. The engine will require some serious tuning once you have acquired the skill master of the sport, as the NA 4 cylinder under the bonnet leaves you wanting a bit more torque.

6. BMW M3 (E36)

1992 - 2000 E36 BMW M3 Review
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The BMW M3 is a top choice with over 280hp and a limited slip differential as standard. Forget about luxury leather and aircon, its roll cages, bucket seats, and big brakes all the way for full-on drift spec. You won’t need much tuning to light up the rear, so spend the money on other stuff instead.

5. Nissan 350Z

2007 Nissan 350Z AEM's Drift Spec
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Tanner Foust drifting at the D1 Grand Prix

Why pay for a new 370Z when you can get a used 350 far less money? Not a light car to drift, but the 3.5-liter V6 puts out a healthy 276HP. Drift tuning parts are plentiful for suspension, brakes, and engine, and the chassis has good balance making the 350 one of the most driftable cars around.

4. Toyota Supra

Extreme tuning: 640 hp Toyota Supra
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The Supra is Toyota’s answer to the Nissan GT-R. The fact that it’s RWD makes us jump for joy because that means serious sideways action. There is plenty of poke on offer from the turbo straight six lump and minor mods will get you turning the weather form sunny to overcast in no time. It isn’t the lightest drift car around, but a healthy diet of stripping and bucket seats should see to that nicely.

3. Mazda RX7

2005 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: VeilSide RX-7
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The Mazda RX7 is notoriously difficult to drift if you’re a beginner, but absolute joy in the hands of a talented Drifter. It provides serious sideways pleasure. The car has great balance and the Wankel Rotary powerplant in turbo form makes enough power to smoke tires to their death – even though it’s only a 1300cc. The FD is the model of choice, but any of its predecessors will do.

2. Ford Mustang

Mustang Drift: Japan
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Whoever thought a muscle car would be so good at going sideways in a controlled fashion? The new generation ‘Stang might still have a prehistoric suspension and the tendencies of an alcoholic when it comes to flat out cornering, but let that not deter you. The remedy can be found at numerous tuning shops across the States. Five liters of brandy-fueled fury means slides are always only an ankle-twist away.

1. Nissan 200SX (S13/S14/S15)

Todor Dunev crowned 2010 European Drift King High Resolution Exterior
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2010 King of Europe Todor Dunev

The Nissan 200SX is a drifter’s top choice. It doesn’t really matter if you have an early S13 model (pop-up headlights) – any one would do. The S13 makes 180HP from the 1.8-liter turbo CA18DET motor, while the later S14 and S15 models use the 2.0-liter turbo SR20DET to deliver 200HP. Both are strong, easy to learn in, and have stacks of tuning parts available. The pick of the bunch has to be the S14 for the perfect compromise between budget and all-around performance. If money is no object, the looks of the S15 cannot be ignored. You can go sideways in style and look good while doing it.

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  (1) posted on 02.18.2015

BMW e30 ???

  (1) posted on 02.17.2014

i think instead of putting the pontiac or the mercedes you shouldve saved a spot for the subaru impreza wrx sti

  (7) posted on 08.9.2013

Mercedese never deserves drift section bcoz no one is gona do drifting acts after giving money 2 times more
for a good drift any one can go for nissan or mustange and very low rate comparively to mercedese

  (256) posted on 12.12.2011

These vehicles are really deserved to be here, and they are right that it doesn’t matter at all if who’s the number one slot for the fact that mostly of them is only with a V8 engine.

  (397) posted on 10.18.2011

Well, for me, it doesn’t matter at all if whose on the number one. These cars are all deserved to be here on this list, and all of them can really perform better. smiley

  (328) posted on 09.29.2011

I noticed that most of the cars used a V8 engine and V6 which I know can give a quite impressive performance on them but with this category, I believe that Nissan 200SX is really suited for a number one slot.

  (1211) posted on 09.26.2011

Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T look great for drifting. As I watched some in television it depends to the drifter and to his capability to hold the car on its best.

  (488) posted on 09.1.2011

All cars can drift is so great for me. I want to learn to drift and also to repair a little bit problem about cars.

  (466) posted on 07.26.2011

When I heard about drifting, the very first thing that comes into my mind are cars with flexible wheels. I know that drifting is a hard one, but many people are fond of it, and I’m one of those. It’s really amazing how they’re doing that. I also wonder how they rank those drifting cars.

  (665) posted on 06.9.2011

These Drift Cars are amazing. I wonder, what makes a car perfect for drifting?
It’s good to know that Mercedes still makes it to the Top 10.

  (501) posted on 06.3.2011

I saw one clip about car drifting and it was really an action! However, before we check on the list we might also consider how it was being tested and what are the reactions of those who tried car drifting.

  (714) posted on 06.2.2011

Nissan 200SX can do sideways! That’s incredible. Based from its overall performance and record, well, let’s give Nissan 200SX a chance to prove that this is one of the best drift cars for this year.

  (599) posted on 03.18.2011

Yup, the famed AE86 should definitely be here. This car is so tunable that it will be able to suit your particular driving style, and the car handles well in any setup.

  (612) posted on 12.1.2010

german car are greatm very reliable and tough, the only problem is the Frame, they make used of stiffer metal and very rigid causing it hard to drift than the flex frame from japan autos,.

  (569) posted on 11.26.2010

Wow!! I have to agree with you guys those drifting cars are amazing!

Ashfaaq  (4) posted on 11.24.2010

The list was chosen so that it would be accessible to all brands and more importantly all budgets. Hence the E36 over the E46. I do apologise for the GT-R RWD issue - it was meant to be R32 not R33, although as you pointed out it can be made RWD. The AMG is an awesome drifter - all it needs is suspension and a weight reduction. I even have vids of a CL63 burning rubber iat Hockenheim. M5 has wrong gearbox and is too heavy - period. The S15 is was mentioned in the piece but somehow disappered... Hmmm

pdaix  (434) posted on 11.24.2010

Take it easy guys, I think the list is pretty good. about the GT-r it doesn’t say that it is RWD, it says that the Supra was an answer to the GT-R. take your time and read again smiley
About the C63, check out the topgear video review about it and Clarkson never stop on its drifting abilities, of course if will not be cheap but if you have deep pockets... The M5 is too big.

pdaix  (3) posted on 11.23.2010

you guys seriously make my head hurt. you know almost nothing about cars. more specifically nissan cars. you called the juke a leaf, you thought the sentra was coming back even though it was the silvia and know calling a gtr rwd?!?! there hasnt been a rwd gtr since the 1980s. the r32 gtr, r33 gtr, r34 gtr, and r35 gtr only came in awd. now im sure you are going to delete this comment like you did my other comments. all i can say is you guys are a sorry excuse for a "automotive journalist"!!

pdaix  (3) posted on 11.22.2010

Nissan Skyline R33 GTR? - AWD, at least the R32, with the removal of a sender can become RWD. GTS-T would be better, but still very heavy to drift. How about an R34 GT-T 4 door, think Nomura. What about the S15 Silvia/200sx, E46’s drift better than E36 BMW’s? And seriously, who in their right mind would get an AMG to drift, sure alot of us would love to try, but I think an M5 would have much better suspension for the job.

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