Drifting is one of the most fun things you can do with a car, so it’s no wonder car enthusiasts love to spend a weekend at a track burning rubber.
If you’re going to go drifting, you’ll need the right car for the job. You’ll need rear-wheel-drive, low weight and plenty of power to get sideways on a skid pan. This guide contains 10 cars which would make ideal candidates for drifting, just make sure you keep to a private track and not the public highway.
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Our pick of the best cars for drifting are:
- Toyota GR86
- Mazda MX-5
- BMW M3 Competition
- Nissan 350Z
- Alpine A110
- Vauxhall Monaro VXR
- Ford Focus RS
- Porsche Cayman
- Tesla Model 3 Performance
- Audi RS3
1. Toyota GR86
- Engine: 2.4-litre flat-four
- Power: 231hp
- Price: from £29,995
When Toyota launched the GT86 back in 2012, it marked the return of the back-to-basics, rear-wheel-drive sports car. It was an instant hit with petrolheads around the world, and its successor simply followed the same recipe.
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The new GR86 gets a 231hp flat-four engine and a limited-slip differential as standard, making it easy to throw the tail out around corners. The low weight of 1,275kg and the slick six-speed manual gearbox make it feel that much more involved on the track.
2. Mazda MX-5
- Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
- Power: 184hp
- Price: from £30,360 (2.0-litre model)
If a bit of top-down drifting sounds like fun, you’ll want to look at the Mazda MX-5. It doesn’t matter which generation you go for, they all offer lightweight, rear-wheel-drive fun; and you can pick up a clean example of an early model for as little as £2,000.
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If you want creature comforts for the drive home then you’ll want the latest Mazda MX-5. Go for a 2.0-litre model and you get more power, but more importantly a limited-slip differential as standard.
3. BMW M3 Competition
- Engine: 3.0-litre straight-six
- Power: 510hp
- Price: from £78,175
The BMW M3 Competition really is the car which does it all. During the week, you can use it as a comfortable family saloon for commuting and taking the kids to school. But at the weekend, the M3 is perfectly at home on a track.
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The 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six kicks out 510hp and 650Nm of torque, plenty to get that tail sliding around. It doesn’t matter if you go for the grippy all-wheel-drive version either, because you can switch it into rear-drive only mode giving you the best of both worlds.
4. Nissan 350Z
- Engine: 3.5-litre V6
- Power: 280hp
- Price: from £8,000 (used)
The 3.5-litre V6 engine is the star of the show in the Nissan 350Z. It has around 280hp and over 360Nm of torque. It’s properly rapid and it sounds great too, plus you can pick up a good used example for around £8,000.
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It may be quite expensive to run, with a yearly tax bill of over £600 and 20mpg if you’re careful, but very few cars offer such driving thrills for this money. There’s also a huge aftermarket scene for the 350Z, so modifying it to your tastes won’t be a problem.
5. Alpine A110
- Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder
- Power: 252hp
- Price: from £49,990
If you think a sports car with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine isn’t very exciting, you might want to think again. The Alpine A110 only weighs 1,098kg, meaning it can slingshot to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds.
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This low weight figure does wonders for the handling as well. It’s easy to slide this car arounds bends, and it’s comfortable enough for day-to-day use. The interior might not be as plush as you’d expect at this price point, however this car is more about driving pleasure than luxury.
6. Vauxhall Monaro VXR
- Engine: 6.0-litre V8
- Power: 400hp
- Price: around £16,000 (used)
If a 1.8-litre engine seems a bit puny, how about a 6.0-litre V8? With the Vauxhall Monaro VXR, that’s exactly what you get. It’s a fantastic engine to listen to as you exploit its 400hp and convert the rear tyres to smoke.
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Monaro’s are getting thin on the ground these days, especially in more powerful VXR guise, but you can find them for around £16,000. It won’t cost the earth to run either. It may be thirsty, but the annual tax bill is £360, and it’s even ULEZ compliant.
7. Ford Focus RS
- Engine: 2.3-litre four-cylinder
- Power: 350hp
- Price: around £30,000 (used)
The Ford Focus RS is a pretty extreme example of a hot hatchback, with 350hp and four-wheel-drive. It sticks to the road very well when you push hard, however there is a specific drift mode for when you want to have fun on a track.
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The Focus RS can send up to 70% of its power to the rear wheels, making it much easier to get the car sideways. The firm ride can make it tricky to live with, and they’re pricey on the used market with prices starting at around £30,000, but very few hatchbacks drive this well.
8. Porsche 718 Cayman
- Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder (entry level)
- Power: from 300hp
- Price: from £48,475
Porsche knows how to make a car handle properly, and the Porsche 718 Cayman is a perfect example. The mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout and low weight make it great for hooning around a race track, and the flat-six engine makes a great noise, too.
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It wouldn’t make an ideal daily driver, thanks to a firm ride and lack of storage space; but for a weekend blast it’s hard to beat. You can even go for a six-speed manual gearbox if you’d prefer to be more involved in the experience.
9. Tesla Model 3 Performance
- Engine: Dual electric motors
- Power: 490hp
- Price: £59,990
You might not expect to see an electric saloon car make this list, however the Tesla Model 3 Performance may surprise you. It has 490hp from its dual electric motors, and all that power can be sent to the rear wheels at the push of a button.
Combine this with a stability control program which can also be switched off and you have a can that’s actually pretty easy to get sideways. It’s a great car to live with as well thanks to a raft of tech to make driving easier and more comfortable.
10. Audi RS3
- Engine: 2.5-litre five-cylinder
- Power : 400hp
- Price: from £54,655
Fast Audis are well known for their Quattro all-wheel-drive systems providing excellent grip in all weather conditions, and the RS3 hot hatch is no exception. Unlike other Audi RS models though, this one comes with a drift mode.
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If you decide that your tyres have a bit too much tread left on them, you can send up to 50% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels allowing you to have some fun. Once that’s out of your system, the RS3 turns back into a comfy, practical hatchback.
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