Cars are incredible machines. The rumble of their powerful engines and the high speeds they can reach offer thrills to many that drive them and inspire films like The Fast and the Furious. Films like often inspire manufacturers to make more fantastical vehicles and consumers to buy them.
An example of this would be drift cars. These cars are built to have superior balance and handling allowing you to take corners and slick terrain with ease. While the movies show drifting taking place at impossibly high speeds, no non-professional driver should actually try to replicate it in real life. Still, here are ten drift cars that you can buy without having to break into your kid’s college fund.
10 Mercedes C230 Kompressor (W202)
Mercedes isn’t generally associated with drifting but this particular car is surprisingly good for it. When buying this car, you’ll want to find a model year between 1993 and 2000 as that will have the sturdy and powerful four-cylinder M111 engine that puts out 190 BHP, 280 LB/FT of torque, and an engine displacement of 2.3 liters.
When hunting for this older car, make sure it has rear-wheel drive and manual transmission as well. Due to its age, this car is extraordinarily affordable (especially for a Mercedes), with the average price being less than $4,000.
9 Mazda RX-7 FD3S
The Mazda RX-7 FD3S is a fan favorite drifting car and has a large repair and modification community around the world, so if this is the choice you make, you’ll find no shortage of parts, advice, and friends to share your ride with. The 1992 through 2002 models have rear-wheel drive, outputs of 276 BHP, and have engine displacements of 1.3 liters.
The later models have been proven to be the best of the bunch as Mazda perfected their design and mechanics. The 13B-REW engine is well suited to provide just the right amount of power to remain controllable and still provide the thrill drifters look for. Due to its popularity, this older car will cost a little under $27,000.
8 Toyota Corolla AE86
The Toyota Corolla is another car that has a fond place in the hearts of drifters from around the world. Having been created in a time where safety wasn’t quite mandatory, Toyota took advantage and made this car light and powerful. It weighs less than a ton and its engine puts out 128 bhp.
The rear-wheel-drive, along with the engine displacement being at 1.6 liters allows the Corolla to dig and peel out. You’ll want to buy one of the models from 1984 to 1992 and they are rather affordable at under $2,000. However, these cars are old so there will definitely be some repairs and/or updating to be done.
7 Nissan 180sx
The 1989 through 1998 models of the Nissan 180sx has a turbocharged CA18DET engine capable of putting out 202 BHP and its displacement is a solid two liters. Its light, extremely well balanced, and its slip differential is envious.
It handles well, is easy for beginners to get behind the wheel, and it tackles those picturesque, winding mountain roads with ease. It's a popular car even to this day so there is plenty of places to find parts and mechanics to help you fix up and maintain this beauty. Depending on where you go to buy this car, it could cost you around $10,000.
6 Toyota JZX-90
This car goes by several names: Toyota Mark II, Toyota Chaser, and of course, the Toyota JZX-90. A big hit in the Japanese and Asian drifting communities, the 1992 through 1996 models are particularly popular with their rear-wheel drive, a power output of 280 BHP, and engine displacement of 2.5 liters.
It has a five-speed manual transmission and its build makes it perfect for cornering and drifting through tight turns for ease. When this car was at its height, it was not readily available in the U.S. but now not only are they finally appearing in dealerships, they are obtainable. The Toyota JZX-90 will cost you around $10,000 to $15,000.
5 BMW M3 E46
As a luxury brand, BMW doesn’t usually produce the kind of vehicles you’d expect to see drifting down dusty desert roads. However, the E46 has been hailed as the “new and improved” version of its predecessor the E36. It has rear-wheel drive as one should come to expect of any car that wants the name of the drifter.
As a slightly newer car, the models released from 2000 to 2006, are built better and faster with the engine producing 343 BHP and having a 3.2-liter displacement. As stated, not only is this car newer, but the BMW brand adds to the price tag. So expect to spend just under $17,000.
4 Nissan 240sx S14
This car has a good reputation in beginner and professional circles. Models from 1994 to 1998 are particularly liked, are well supported, and are still used around the world at all levels of drifting. Its base model comes with a displacement of 2.4 liters and a capacity to put out 155 BHP, but one of the reasons this car is so popular is that its very easy to modify and upgrade.
As you gain more confidence as a novice drifter, you can add more power, which means more difficulty in control. You’ll have plenty of spare funds to put into your new passion project as one of these cars will cost you barely over $4,000.
3 Mazda MX-5 NB
Everyone loves the sleek, classy, sport car look that many Italian cars have and this car was a Japanese take on that style that ended up being extremely successful. It has a large and very supportive community to help owners modify and maintain their cars. Particular favorites are the models from 1998 to 2005 with rear-wheel drives, 140 BHP output and an engine displacement of 1.8 liters.
These stats are an improvement to its predecessor, which is one reason the car is so popular. If you want to get your hands on your own Mazda MX-5 NB, it’ll cost you under $10,000.
2 Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T
No, it's not deja-vu, Nissan is on this list three times. Nissan is a big name in the drifter community and it's plain to see why. They make perfect cars for drifters of all skill levels and their communities for maintenance are extensive and far-reaching. The 1993 through 1998 models of the Skyline are no different.
Its 2.5-liter engine is turbocharged, puts out 280 BHP, has a five-speed manual transition to devour the roughest of curves or ease through a winding road. This is a sound choice of vehicle and it will cost you under $7,000 generally speaking.
1 BMW M3 E36
Earlier in the list, we mentioned the BMW M3 E46. This car is its predecessor and while the E46 is superior, the E36 models from 1992 to 1995 are just as good and affordable for those who dream of drifting with the best or simply want to have some fun. Its power output is weaker than the E46 and the engine displacement is smaller as well.
However, it looks great, its build is sound and with a five-speed transmission, it's a smooth ride as well. It will cost you far less than its sequel car with a price tag of just under $8,000.