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Top 10 cars to drift

As drifting becomes more popular around the world, we take a look at the top 10 cars to drift.

The secret to a great drift car is fairly simple; rear wheel drive or a trick All-Wheel system, good balance (having the engine in front of you will help on that score), limited slip diff, and a tuneable engine.

Oh, and if you’re getting very sideways, you’ll need a high degree of steering lock to keep the front of your car heading the right way.

The cars on this list are all capable of some very lurid slides – you just need to add a very skilled driver. Or an empty airfield and lots of spare tyres.

No.10Toyota AE86

We’ll start with the car that many drifters credit as being the best to learn in, the car of many names – Corolla/Trueno/Sprinter – but specifically the AE86 edition.
It’s hardly the most attractive car in the world but it is effective.
Before drifting went big time, Katsuhiro Ueo won the 2002 D1 title in the AE86, proving that they weren’t just for beginners.
The new Toyota GT86 borrows heavily on the kudos earnt by the AE86 – and may be a star for the future when prices come down, too.

No.9Mazda MX-5

They may not be used in any serious drift competitions but the popular MX5 makes for a cracking drift car.
They’re usually very affordable, can take a beating, and once the diff is sorted they’re fantastic.
If you want a car straight out of the box that can teach you a thing or two about oversteer then go for the Mk2 1.8iS – as the differential is already limited-slip.
Beware of getting jibed by people who don’t understand your car handles like a legend – though, you’ll be accused of being all kinds of things, but who cares when you’re able to have so much fun?

No.8Nissan 200SX

The 200SX (or Silvia in its homeland) is perhaps the best – or at least the most popular – drift car on the planet.
With 27 wins and eight championship titles in D1GP, the S15 can easily back up its impressive reputation with symbols of success.
Seven of its round wins came at the hands of Yasuyuki Kazama, who’s best known over here for his appearance on Top Gear where he tried to teach Richard Hammond the finer points of drifting.
If you add the S13 and S14 into the stats, the Silvia has won 14 D1 titles.

No.7Nissan 350Z

It needs some mods to make it a truly good drifter but the 350Z’s handling and powertrain give you everything you need to look good.
The price tag can put people off – as does the Japanese Domestic Market name of ‘Fairlady’ – so it’s not the most common car on the scene but it has all the best ingredients – the heavy bits at the front of the car, the screechy bits at the back, and no turbo lag to worry about.

No.6Mazda RX7

16 wins and one championship title for this offering from Mazda ensures its inclusion on this list.
Almost unbeatable when driven by the legend of D1 that is Youichi Imamura. It’s not a car for beginners, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s epic.

No.5Toyota Supra

This cult legend has it all; looks, twin-turbo, and innate “drift-ability”.
One of the best performing drifters you can buy, it’s still tricky to master with turbo lag to bear in mind – but there’s something reassuring about having a Toyota badge when your engine’s singing away at high RPM.
If you’re not sure about the hard-to-judge kick when turbos spool up, you could always consider an NA Supra to begin with.

No.4Ford Escort mark I or II

The family cars of the mid-20th century were generally rear wheel drive, before front wheel drive technology became commonplace, and so were certainly playful back in the 70s when the roads got icy or very wet.
With some power boosts the family-favourites became playful in the dry, too – and the more bhp-laden Escorts went on to prove their prowess in rallying.
Nowadays prices are rocketing, but if you manage to get hold of one with some decent bhp figures to brag about then driving sideways at the local speedway might just become part of your weekend routine.

No.3Subaru Impreza

Driven by two-time title winner Nobushige Kumakubo, the one time champion Impreza further presses its claim as one of the best all round race cars of the last 20 years.
This was the first converted four-wheel drive car to be used in drifting and has since led to others joining the party (most notably its long term rival, the Mitsubishi Evo).

No.2Pontiac GTO

No we aren’t talking about the half-century-old GTO, we’re talking about the one which bears most of its DNA with Holdens and – in the UK – the Vauxhall Monaro.
Besides winning a Formula D championship title, the Pontiac was the first factory-backed car to enter the sport and helped push drifting from a grassroots sport into the mainstream.

No.1Mitsubishi Evo

Like the Impreza, Nobushige Kumakubo also drove this in D1.
It wasn’t as successful as its Impreza rival but it’s still a fantastic drifter once modified.
Feel free to choose how ‘Evolved’ you’d like your Evo, too – pick a number from 1 to 10 (or I to X) and you’ll notice subtle tweaks and characteristic differences as the number changes.
Its only real drawback is that it featured in The Fast and the Furious, but then a lot of the cars on this list did.

So there you have it, the top 10 cars to drift. If you do want to get into drifting we’d recommend the MX-5 as a good starting car and suggest that you have a couple of drift lessons, but equally anything with an engine at the front and power going to the rear wheels is good – so look at Honda S2000s, most BMWs, Lexuses/Lexus/Lexi/Le-whatever and even a Jaguar S-Type can dance the dance if you want to drive sideways whilst surrounded in wood and leather.

There are plenty of drift clubs around the UK where you can get plenty of help and advice regarding skills and tips, so why be obvious with your car choice? We’ve seen Vauxhall Carltons and Mercedes S-Classes drifting.

If you’re feeling really brave and have a track or airfield with plenty of room for mistakes then try moving on to the challenge of drifting a mid or rear-engined car – an MR2, Elise, Boxster or Clio V6 will happily get their tail out – but if you manage to keep that engine behind you rather than swapping ends then you’re a better driver than most.

In the meantime if you want to find out more about insurance costs for cars which are ideal for drifting and how Adrian Flux can help you, take a look at our car insurance page.

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