17 Best Drift Cars For Beginners

We present seventeen of the best drift cars for beginners. From BMW to Toyota, we’ll find you the perfect platform to get started on your drifting adventure.

drift cars in jdm garage

Introducing: The best beginner drift cars

With so many potential platforms to choose from when picking your first drift car, getting the perfect ride can prove a little challenging.

For just that reason, I have written this guide to provide you with the cars that myself and the Drifted team think are solid choices when it comes to choosing a beginner drift car.

e92 m3 with silvia s15

Best drift cars list

New to the world of drifting?

Well then, you need to check out our drifting tips for beginners article. It is also worth having a look at our Drifting 101 guide. If you prefer things a bit more “hands on” then try a bit of sideways action with the Drift Hunters game.

Ready to start on your drifing journey? Let’s see some cars!

BMW E36 M3 best drift cars for beginners

BMW M3 E36

  • Manufacturer: BMW
  • Country of origin: german flag
  • Model year: 1994 – 1999
  • Engine: S50B30US
  • Engine displacement: 2,990 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 243 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 225 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5s
  • Top speed: 155 mph

The BMW M3 is the mainstay drifting car for many countries around the world, this is especially true in Europe where the number E36 and E46 models on track even outnumber the s-bodies.

With solid German engineering underpinning every aspect of the car, high performing naturally aspirated engines, and great looks it is no big surprise that this is a great drifting platform.

The E36 offered 3.0 litre straight six engines which ran through five-speed manual transmissions and limited slip differentials. In European trim the engine produced 282 bhp as standard.

E36 examples are plentiful and relatively cheap for the performance that they offer. This would be a solid, low cost entry into the drifting world and could also be a great platform for a street sleeper.

With BMW M3 prices continuing to increase in recent years, it may also be worth considering one of the modern-day 3 Series options.

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Nissan 350z Z33 best drift cars for beginners

Nissan 350Z

  • Manufacturer: Nissan
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 2003 – 2008
  • Engine: VQ35DE
  • Engine displacement: 3,498 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 287 bhp @ 6,200 rpm
  • Torque: 274 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5s
  • Top speed: 155 mph

The Nissan 350Z was released in 2003 to rave reviews, this car was the latest in the ‘Z’ car lineage and carried many of the traits that made the cars before it a great success with sports car fans of the period.

The 350Z was built by Nissan in the classic sports car drivetrain configuration of front engine and rear wheel drive. Oh, and did I mention its retro-inspired looks?

As standard, the cars came with a bulletproof 3.5 litre V6 engine producing 287bhp at the flywheel which was put to the tarmac through a six speed manual transmission and a limited slip differential.

These mechanical assets make the Nissan 350Z a perfect beginners drift car; a potent and tough power plant mated with a manual gearbox and a limited slip differential ensure that as you learn the ropes and increase your drifting abilities this car should see you through until you feel ready to substantially increase your car’s power level.

If you end up loving this platform there are forced induction options available for the V6 engine (depending on your budget) so the Nissan 350z could well be your perfect partner.

With the 350Z’s sibling, the 370Z, now becoming increasingly affordable, more drifting beginners than ever opting for the modern-day Z as their weapon of choice.

Wondering if you should take a 350Z or save up for a 370z? Try our 350z vs 370z guide to see which Z car is the right fit for you.

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Nissan Skyline R33 Gtst best drift cars for beginners

Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T

  • Manufacturer: Nissan
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1993 – 1998
  • Engine: RB25DET
  • Engine displacement: 2,498 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 247 bhp @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque: 217 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 6.7s
  • Top speed: 165 mph

The Nissan Skyline is a high-performance sports coupe with a lineage going as far back and as equally impressive as the Nissan ‘Z’ cars.

The model we have picked for this guide is the R33 GTS-T, this model was built between 1993 and 1998 and offers some great features for the aspiring drifter.

The R33 GTS-T uses a 2.5 litre straight six RB25DET engine mated to an efficient turbo charger. The power is fed through a five speed manual transmission and into a limited slip differential.

This six-cylinder engine produced a healthy 280bhp from the factory and there is proven power potential of up to 400bhp with a few bolt on modifications.

As standard there is plenty of power to hone your skills plus the potential is there if you want to up the power.

There are many Skyline owner’s clubs available to help you out if you want to do your own mechanical work or face problems, which is always a bonus.

There is also very strong aftermarket support for the R33 so you can customise it to your heart’s content. A good solid choice.

If you are interested in importing your own Nissan Skyline into the US, then you best check out this article first: Why are Nissan Skylines illegal in the United States?

Mazda MX-5 best drift cars for beginners

Mazda MX-5/Miata NB

  • Manufacturer: Mazda
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1998 – 2001
  • Engine: BP-4W
  • Engine displacement: 1,839 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 138 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque: 119 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 8s
  • Top speed: 127 mph

There is a popular saying among gearheads that goes “Miata is always the answer!” The same applies here, as we believe anyone who is on the hunt for a great entry-level drift car should definitely have the MX-5 on their radar.

The MX-5 (Europe/EDM), also known as the Miata (US/USDM) and Eunos (Japan/JDM) is a classic Japanese take on the iconic drop-top sports car concept. The original model was unveiled in 1989 and went on to become one of the best-selling sports cars of all time.

The NB designation refers to the second generation of the model of this fun roadster, this version received many improvements over the original including a useful hike in power output.

We recommend the 1.8 litre option as the four-cylinder engine offers 138 bhp on tap, which is plenty for any drifter starting out.

The car offers solid and reliable mechanicals throughout and is naturally aspirated.

This means that improving the power output will be challenging without spending out on forced induction and the supporting modifications needed to run it.

Great aftermarket support and active enthusiast communities mean it should be a good platform to adopt. Prices are very reasonable. Please note: Drifted’s own Dan H’s MX-5 NA pictured, not an NB (sorry but I love Dan’s car!).

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Nissan 240sx s14 best drift cars for beginners

Nissan 240sx S14

  • Manufacturer: Nissan
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1995 – 1998
  • Engine: KA24DE
  • Engine displacement: 2,389 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 158 bhp @ 5,600 rpm
  • Torque: 160 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2s
  • Top speed: 137 mph

If you ask someone to imagine a drift car, we can guarantee that 9 out of 10 people will imagine the Nissan 240sx.

No drift cars list could ever be complete without at least one generation of Nissan’s 240sx being mentioned, this car (after the expensive AE86) is the recognised face of drifting with hundreds of the cars around the globe being used in both grassroots and pro levels.

We have picked the S14 variant as there are plenty still available (the S13 is becoming rarer and more sought after and therefore more valuable), they offer a solid engine package and come with great looks.

The 240sx S14 houses a 2.4 litre naturally aspirated engine that produces 155 bhp, this is fed into a five speed manual transmission and put onto the tarmac through a limited slip differential as standard.

The lightweight chassis means you do not need a lot of power to get the 240sx loose at the rear end and the natural balance will help you learn faster than with many other cars.

The aftermarket support for this platform is huge so you can pick up a standard example, learn the ropes and this car can grow with you by introducing upgraded aftermarket parts – if you want it to.

A great option for the drifting beginner, highly recommended.

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BMW E46 M3 best drift cars for beginners

BMW M3 E46

  • Manufacturer: BMW
  • Country of origin: german flag
  • Model year: 2000 – 2006
  • Engine: S54
  • Engine displacement: 3,246 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 338 bhp @ 7,900 rpm
  • Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5s
  • Top speed: 155 mph

The BMW M3 E46 was the more powerful and better-looking younger brother of the E36. The engine performance was increased to an impressive 338 bhp out of the box with the inclusion of a new inline six-cylinder engine that has proven to be bulletproof to this day.

Everything that applies to the E36 above also applies to this car with the exception that they are on the higher end of the price range.

The E46 is a staple part of the drifting landscape with one powering Michael Essa to a Formula Drift win in recent years. If you can afford to stretch to an E46 M3 you will not be disappointed.

With prices continually increasing on the older-generation M3’s, while modern-day M3 and M4 prices drop, it may well be worth considering the latest platform if the M3 is already an option. Keep in mind that the latest G80 M3 will be the last of its kind to be offered with a manual transmission.

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Toyota JZX90 MKII best drift cars for beginners

Toyota JZX-90

  • Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1992 – 1996
  • Engine: 1JZ-GTE
  • Engine displacement: 2,498 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 276 bhp @ 6,200 rpm
  • Torque: 268 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 5.3s
  • Top speed: 145 mph

Here’s a car that you might have never heard of. The Toyota Mark II has been active in the drift scene in Japan and Asia since the early nineties however in the West these JDM cars have been a rare sight on the road.

As these cars have gotten older and more affordable they are seeing their way across the ocean and are popping up on our shores in increasing numbers.

In most markets these cars are at a price point lower than the E46 M3 mentioned in this guide and they offer many benefits the beginner drifter would do well to consider.

Packing a potent and highly tuneable straight six 2.5 litre 1JZ-GTE Specs turbo charged engine the JZX-90 is not lacking for power or for tuning potential.

The transmission was a five-speed manual and it featured a limited-slip differential as standard.

This big, luxury four-door sedan offers an easy road into drifting with a well-balanced chassis and fast engine response.

If you can get one in your country, this would be my pick of the bunch for a beginner’s drift car that not only drives well, but also looks and sounds the part.

If you’re a JZX fan, make sure you check out this insane Toyota JZX-100 build from Daigo Saito.

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nissan 180sx kouki

Nissan 180sx

  • Manufacturer: Nissan
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1989 – 1998
  • Engine: SR20DET
  • Engine displacement: 1,998 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 202 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 203 lb-ft @ 40800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2s
  • Top speed: 146 mph

The JDM Nissan 180sx is one of the icons of the drifting world. Launched back in 1989 with a potent turbocharged CA18DET under the hood, the lightweight and RWD FR platform was a hit with both mountain touge racers and track enthusiasts.

The car was equipped with a limited slip differential and it’s great natural balance made it a little easier to get the hang of the tricky drifting learning curve.

As the years went by Nissan decided to upgrade the CA18DET with their new SR20DET powerplant, this engine produced over 200bhp out the box and was tuneable up to 400bhp with just bolt-ons and tuning.

The 180sx aftermarket is one of the largest available today, with everything from aero parts, engine components and drivetrain upgrades available off the shelf.

Right now in 2023, the 180sx has appreciated in value and is a little out of reach from budget drifters. However, if you can get your hands on one, and if you take care of it, the Nissan 180sx will make both a superb road and drift car.

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toyota ae86 trueno

Toyota Corolla AE86

  • Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1983 – 1987
  • Engine: 4A-GE
  • Engine displacement: 1,587 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 128 bhp @ 7,200 rpm
  • Torque: 101 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 8.5s
  • Top speed: 125 mph

Here we are at last, the Hachi Roku (hachi-roku meaning “eight six”), the Drift King’s trusted steed – Toyota’s mighty AE86. I had left this car out of the beginners guide so far due to the rising value of the “twincam” AE86.

These iconic drift cars are now so valuable you’d have to be very financially well-heeled, to buy one, let alone to drift it!

But really, no drift car guide is complete without the AE86 so let’s crack on…

The plucky little Toyota offers a wonderfully balanced front engine, rear-wheel-drive platform. Nestled up front is the naturally aspirated 4A-GE inline four-cylinder DOHC powerplant which develops 128bhp @ 6,600rpm. This power was put through the rear wheels with an optional limited slip differential.

Back in the eighties safety restrictions were nothing like today so manufacturers had a lot of scope to create lightweight cars. Toyota managed to keep the kerb weight to just under a ton. This light weight and solid power are a perfect recipe for a nippy little sports car.

There are plenty of tuning options, engine swaps, aero kits and parts available for the little Corolla, there are even AE86 dedicated part suppliers based in Ireland and Japan.

If you can afford one, you will love the Hachi Roku. Keiichi salutes you!

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Mazda RX-7 FD3S

Mazda RX-7 FD3S

  • Manufacturer: Mazda
  • Country of origin: japanese flag
  • Model year: 1992 – 2002
  • Engine: 13B-REW
  • Engine displacement: 1,300 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 276 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque: 232 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 4.8s
  • Top speed: 161 mph

The third generation of Mazda’s RX-7 line, the FD3S, is a great choice for a budding drifter. Stunning looks, great aftermarket support, potent powerplant and a finely tuned chassis make the FD3S a great choice.

The Mazda RX-7 enjoyed a long and successful career, with the model receiving numerous upgrades and improvements as it was revised for each iteration. The initial cars were called Series 6 cars (1992-1995), Series 7 cars (1996-1998) gained more power, improved engineering and revised looks.

The final Series 8 cars (1998-2002) are the most desirable, with a slew of updates covering power, interior and exterior. This culminated in the Spirit R – the ultimate RX-7.

The RX-7 uses the 13B-REW twin-rotor engine, running twin sequential turbochargers. The nature of the rotary engines means RX-7 drivers enjoy a huge powerband, the car pulling hard all the way to the redline. The downsides of this powerplant are fuel economy, heat generation and potentially “apex seal” failure.

Most RX-7’s on the market today will have already had an engine rebuild, however, I would still budget in a rebuild if you are planning on beating on the car (let’s be honest, of course you will!).

The FD3S has some excellent aftermarket support, many specialists worldwide support the platform, especially in Japan which has several dedicated RX-7 tuning houses.

The large displacement offered by the rotary engine means it will spool up turbochargers very effectively, so single turbo conversions are very common within the RX-7 community. This means the drivetrain has potential for big power.

If you can find a good one, that has been looked after and has had the right parts upgraded, it will make a fine drift car.

I ran an FD3S for a year, it was tuned with a single turbo to 350bhp and was great fun, spinning up second and third gears in the dry. The fun lasted until I needed to gas the tank up – I calculated it achieved less then 10mpg! Ouch.

Mazda RX-8 best drift cars for beginners

Mazda RX-8

  • Manufacturer: Mazda
  • Country of origin: japanese flag
  • Model year: 2002 – 2012
  • Engine: 1.3L RENESIS
  • Engine displacement: 1,308 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 232 bhp @ 8,500 rpm
  • Torque: 159 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3s
  • Top speed: 147 mph

Let us take a small detour from traditional piston engines to one shaped like a Dorito. With RX-7 prices continuing to soar, yet RX-8’s popping up on the market cheaper than ever, this younger brother of the FD could be the perfect answer for those looking to get into drifting.

The RX-8’s four-seat cockpit is bedazzled with rear-opening suicide doors, making it more practical than the FD RX-7 too!

Weighing in at just 1,309kg, the RX-8 makes the perfect candidate for an engine swap further down the line if you’re like us and terrified of rotary maintenance!

If you’re brave and you’ve got deep pockets, you could even consider taking it back to its original 13B heritage.

With its sleek shape, rear suicide doors, incredible handling, and insanely cheap price tag, the Mazda RX-8 is a fantastic car that can present a real bargain.

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mercedes c230

Mercedes C230 Kompressor (W202)

  • Manufacturer: Mercedes Benz
  • Country of origin: german flag
  • Model year: 1993 – 2000
  • Engine: M111
  • Engine displacement: 2,295 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 191 bhp @ 5,500 rpm
  • Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8s
  • Top speed: 143 mph

Mercedes is probably one of the last car manufacturers that you would think of when it comes to finding an ideal drift car for beginners, but let us surprise you with this entry to our list.

The W202 C Class 230 Kompressor, which in short is a supercharged 2.3 litre, 4 cylinder engine is the perfect drift car for a beginners to start with and is comes recommended by Dan from YourCar.co.uk, who is currently building one.

From the factory, it has 190 BHP and 280 LB/FT of torque from the bulletproof M111 engine that can take abuse all day long.

They were produced from 1993 to 2000 and with the predecessor being the mighty 190E. In around 2012, they could have been picked up for around £500 but have creeped up to around the £1,000 mark these days.

Manual C230 Kompressors are becoming harder to find but there are still many around and loads of spares parts available.

An alternative to the C230 could be the 2.5 turbo diesels but modified by fitting a larger turbo but this will become an expensive drift car to begin with.

white is200

Lexus IS200 / Altezza (XE10)

  • Manufacturer: Lexus
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 1998 – 2005
  • Engine: 1G-FE BEAMS
  • Engine displacement: 1,988 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 158 bhp @ 6,200 rpm
  • Torque: 147.6 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 8.7s
  • Top speed: 134 mph

The Lexus IS200 (or Altezza in Japan) was one of Lexus’s most sporty cars when it was released back in 1998.

Nobuaki Katayama (lead engineer on the AE86 project) was responsible for the technical development of this car.

Nobuaki-san’s efforts paid off as the car won Japan’s prestigious “Car of the Year” honour when it was released and continued to retain the title until 1999. The car was praised for its stylish looks, luxurious cabin, high revving engine and solid handling dynamics provided by the classic FR layout.

Now, in 2020, this compact and sporty sedan is a very tempting proposition for a beginner’s drift car.

These cars are widely available in most Western markets, normally well under the USD 1k range. They come with the reliable 1G-FE BEAMS engine, a front-engine and rear-wheel-drive platform plus a limited-slip differential as standard.

Although the power output of 158 bhp and 147 lb-ft of torque isn’t going to set anybody’s hair on fire, it is plenty to allow you to break traction and learn how to get to grips with the car.

The US market was also blessed with the IS200’s bigger brother, the IS300 which came equipped with a 2JZ variant, but, as these cars are more desirable, they will command considerably more cash.

While tuning potential is limited by the naturally aspirated engine, some owner’s that wanted to keep hold of this platform have been known to add mild superchargers onto the engine, this typically brings power up to the 250-300 bhp mark.

Overall this is a great drift car for a beginner and certainly worth keeping an eye out in the local classifieds for.

However, if you can get your hands on an IS300, it’s likely to be the better choice if you’re looking to keep the car long-term, with plenty of upgrades available for the naturally-aspirated 2JZ.

Check out my favorite IS300 turbo kits, coilover kits, exhaust upgrades, and body kit options to see the potential that it has in store.

Infiniti G35 drift car

Infiniti G35 Coupe

  • Manufacturer: Infiniti
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 2003 – 2007
  • Engine: VQ35DE
  • Engine displacement: 3,498 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 280 bhp
  • Torque: 270 lb-ft
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8s
  • Top speed: 151 mph

The Infiniti G35 is the second car on our list to utilize Nissan’s potent VQ35DE engine. The G35 is an upmarket version of the 350Z platform aimed at a more “premium” target audience. Classy looks, a high-quality interior, and better components separated the G35 from it’s cheaper cousin.

The classic drift car recipe is fully represented in the G35; a powerful and high revving V6 engine, manual transmission, front engine and rear-wheel-drive layout, and a limited-slip differential (on manual models).

While the car tipped the scales a little more than the 350Z, stripping the interior of all those lovely materials makes a big difference and helps to boost performance for no cost.

And when we talk about boosting performance, the G35’s VQ35DE really is ripe for the tuning.

From off the shelf supercharger and turbocharger kits to a plethora of NA upgrades, the G35 is a platform that can grow with you as you get to grips with the art of drifting and you want more from your car.

The fact that these cars are quite plentiful in supply and are becoming very affordable is just another reason this may be the perfect beginners’ drift car.

I strongly encourage you to consider an Infiniti G35 for your first drift car.

With Infiniti G37 prices continuing to fall in recent years, it could now present the perfect opportunity to get your hands on the G35’s younger, more powerful sibling.

We’ve weighed up the positives and negatives of both platforms in our G35 vs G37 guide to help make the decision easier.

If you think the G37 may be the ideal choice, make sure you head over to our G37 mods guide to learn how you can unleash its true potential.

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Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S

  • Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Country of origin: Japanese flag
  • Model year: 2012 – 2021
  • Engine: 4U-GSE D-4S
  • Engine displacement: 1,998 cc
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 232 bhp @ 7,000 rpm
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 3,700 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 6.4s
  • Top speed: 140 mph

After already securing its spot as one of the best drift chassis’ ever built, the Toyobaru is finally starting to fall in price and become more affordable to beginners that are willing to spend a few extra bucks.

With stunning, modern looks, and plenty of gadgets to match, the GT86 is the perfect drift car for those looking for something more recent to enjoy.

Since Toyota recently announced the 2022 GR 86, GT86/BRZ/FR-S prices will likely continue coming down, which is excellent news for drifting fans!

With the GT86 already capturing numerous podiums in drifting competitions across the globe, there’s no question that this epic platform has insane potential.

Admittedly, it doesn’t come with a massive amount of power from the factory, but luckily for our readers, we’ve written several GT86 Tuning Guides to show you how to unleash its potential.

The GT86/BRZ/FR-S are fantastic, stylish, modern-day drift cars with an ever-dropping price tag, and we’re already eyeing them up as future candidates for our personal goals.

The reign of the GT86/BRZ/FR-S came to an end in 2021, with a brand new, slide happy successor taking its place. We’ll talk more about the car that replaced the GT86 later on in this article.

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Ford Mustang GT

  • Manufacturer: Ford
  • Country of origin: USA flag
  • Model year: 2004 – 2012
  • Engine: 32-valve 5.0 L DOHC V8
  • Engine displacement: 302 cu in
  • Drivetrain: FR
  • Power: 412 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque: 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 4.6s
  • Top speed: 155 mph

Thanks in part to its appearance in great car movies like Bullitt and Gone In 60 Seconds, the Ford Mustang has cemented its legacy as one of the most popular vehicles on the planet.

The history of the Ford Mustang goes back to the 1960s, and it continues to thrive in the drift scene to the present day.

While the most affordable Mustang on the used car market is the Fox Body, the newer GT model can also be picked up at an affordable price for many.

That’s not all; the Mustang’s fifth-generation model, which earned an unfortunate reputation for its crowd-hunting antics, also provides a roaring V8 soundtrack at a reasonable price point, with legendary aesthetics to match.

Brazilian champion Diego Higa went on to prove what this chassis was truly capable of by taking the win in the Hyperdrive series.

Sara Haro also managed to impress on the world stage with her near-stock V6 model.

As Chelsea DeNofa and Vaughn Gittin Jr continue to prove what the wheelie-poppin’ RTR chassis has to offer in the present day in Formula Drift, there’s no doubt of the Mustang’s potential capabilities.

Want to try your hand at drifting right now?
Can’t wait to get started drifting? Try our free to play drifting games, or if you prefer stunt games, Madalin Stunt Cars 3 will be a perfect choice.

s13 240sx

These are all great drift cars, but where is the 240sx S13?

So the 240sx S13, arguably the “go-to” car for many drifters.. While it has been omitted from this list, Nissan’s 240sx S13 does indeed make a great beginner’s drift car. But, as we had already included the talented 180SX it seemed a little too much of the same to include it’s stateside brother. For detailed information on the S13 check out our Nissan S13 article.

An off the wall alternative to the drift cars we have mentioned already could be this truck. The truck is a mid 90’s Nissan that shares a similar floor-plan to the 240sx and also shares the KA engine and running gear. Truck drifting yeah!

Drift car frequently asked questions (FAQ)

I originally penned this article back in 2016, and I have been updating it every year since. Since it has been live for a number of years, I have received many questions about the article, and drift cars specifically. Here is a quick Q&A summary of those questions:

What are good drift cars?

A selection of good drift cars in 2023 are: Nissan 350Z, Lexus IS300, Mazda Miata, Toyota JZX-90, BMW E46 M3, Ford Mustang GT, Scion FR-S/BRZ/GT86 and Nissan 240SX.

What are the best cheap drift cars?

The best cheap drift cars in 2023 are: Mazda Miata, Lexus IS200, Infiniti G35, BMW E36, and the Mazda RX-8. If you want to go deeper on the budget side of drift cars, we have created a comprehensive guide for cheap drift cars.

What are the best drift cars?

If budget is no issue, the best drift cars are: Toyota AE86, Mazda RX-7, Toyota JZX-100, Nissan 180SX, Nissan Silvia (S15), Nissan 370Z and the Nissan Skyline GTS-T (R33/R34).

What cars can drift?

Any front engine, rear wheel drive car can drift. The best drift cars have certain characteristics out of the box to make it easier, these include excellent weight distribution, high engine power with additional tuning potential, and a limited slip differential.

Have you considered an RC drift car?

If you are not yet old enough to get behind the wheel of that first drift car, or perhaps your living accomodation won’t support another “toy” car, then why not start your drifting journey with an RC drift car? RC drift cars offer a lot of the same thrills with a lot less of the spills. If you are looking for a drift car themed present, then a Micro RC car from our Micro RC cars guide should be right up your street.

Thank you for reading my article article. If you enjoyed it, please share it using the social buttons.

If you’re leaning more into Trucks, we have the perfect JDM Trucks list for you.

If you’re looking into JDM AWD Cars, you can check the top models in the market on our list here.

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author avatar Written by

Joe is an avid writer and car enthusiast. When he's not cruising the streets alongside his friends in his Nissan Silvia S15, he's drifting on his VR racing simulator.

Joe's passion for cars is always on display. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the automotive industry, he hopes his writing conveys his excitement and knowledge of cars and games.

Joe's work has been featured on many platforms including drivetribe.com, 180sx.club, carthrottle.com, smartdrivinggames.com, smartbikegames.com, databox.com and ceoblognation.com.

When he's not behind the wheel or at his keyboard, he's likely daydreaming of his ultimate ride - the legendary Lexus LFA.

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