Need for Speed™ Heat

Need for Speed™ Heat

110 ratings
The Best Drift Cars
By xJSerpent
Are you having trouble drifting in Need for Speed Heat? Looking for a new and exciting car to drive? Having problems reaching the drift scores for HARD difficulty drift events? Say no more!!! This guide will help you identify what car to use and the proper setup for each car.
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Before we start...
What is drifting???

Maybe you've heard of a little movie called the Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift..... or Pixar's Cars. In lamest terms, drifting is a form of driving where you get your car to slide as a way to take a corner. More of a 'show' than proper racing, but that's why drifting is its own category of events in NFS Heat.

And no, drifting doesn't imply to the way we race in this game. Because EA decided to make Need for Speed games more like an arcade racer, all cars "drift" around corners. But that ain't the type of drifting I'll be discussing. We'll be looking at real drifting, with style.
Drift basics


















PLEASE READ!!!

Just some basic pointers before the list:

1. Most drift cars are rear wheel drive (RWD). These are the cars I will be referring to the most. There are also all wheel drive (AWD) cars that could drift. However, RWD cars have the advantage in scoring big points in drift events. I'll explain a bit later.

2. You might notice the 'live tuning' in-game, and a setting called 'drift style'. There's 'gas to drift', where you hold the gas down while cornering and the car is supposed to oversteer on its own. And then there's 'brake to drift', where you tap on the brakes and steer at the same time and the car will oversteer. I highly recommend using 'brake to drift' because you'll need to use the brakes to, not only slow down, but to help initiate the drift. It's much better than 'gas to drift'.

3. As Doc Hudson famously quoted "turn right to go left." Well that DOESN'T mean to turn right and you'll go left. You have to first turn left to drift left, and then steer right to COUNTERSTEER. Vice versa with right turn drifts; turn left then steer right to countersteer. It's important because just simply steering in one direction to the drift will make your car oversteer too much and you'll spin out.

4. Utilize the handbrake only to help increase your 'angle of attack'. Or to put simply, if your car's rear end is not sticking out and oversteering, then use the handbrake to lock the rear wheels momentarily to loosen the rear end and get you sliding.

5. You don't have to use nitrous when drifting. Only use it to keep the momentum of the drift going. Say if you feel you can't attack the full corner, then use nitrous to give your car a forward boost.

6. Drive with in manual transmission mode. Drifting in automatic will make the car upshift when the car redlines at high rpm, which would "stall" your car in the middle of a drift. You DON'T want that. Keeping the car at high rpm means you can retain high horsepower, and that power helps your car push through the corners.

7. Throttle control is essential. Always let off the gas when you want to transition drifts, or if you feel like the car might crash into a wall or is about to spin out.

8. The tires can have a great impact on the car's handling. Not talking about the suspension or the differential, but the tire selection is crucial. Rule of thumb, NEVER use drift or showcase tires on a RWD drift car. Doing so will make the car almost undrivable. It's like driving on ice. Instead, put drag tires on. Drag tires will give your car the grip to accelerate and push forward. Sure, your car can't turn properly, but that's really not important once your car has started drifting. All drag tires does is push your car in a forward direction, helping you keep the drift going. (I'm not a physicist lol)

9. Certain parts will drastically change the handling characteristics of the car. for example, putting all "pro" drift parts (suspension and differential) will make the car easier to handle imo. And putting the most expensive versions, the "super" parts, can make the car a lot harder to control. apparently, super parts creates a higher angle of attack for the car while sacrificing turning ability. So if your car feels unresponsive, try putting on pro variants instead.

10. How to tell if a car is RWD or AWD. If you install drift tires on a car and it doesn't hinder the acceleration as much, then it's probably AWD. Because drift tires are specific for having low grip so the car can slide easier, RWD cars need grip in order to launch off the line. Hence, why drag tires are needed to help boost acceleration.

11. For forced inductions, which one do you choose? In my opinion ANY will work (except for centrifugal superchargers). Superchargers or turbo chargers will get the job done. You will notice that I tend to use dual turbos for all the drift builds just to have that boost at high rpm. But don't let that fool you that roots/screw superchargers will do just as well as turbo chargers.

Mazda RX-7

Arguably the most recognizable drift car in the world. It's lightweight, powerful, and rear wheel drive. And to no surprise, Need for Speed made this car one helluva drift beast.

The Mazda RX-7 just works. It does just about everything a drift car has: power, agility, and momentum. Whichever engine swap you prefer with the RX-7, either a forged rotary or a V8, the car still has it. It's agile, meaning it can achieve a great drift angle and it's stable to transition from one drift to another (what is called linking drifts). As for momentum, the car can hold itself to long-spanning corners. All I can say is that the RX-7 just does everything you want in a drift car, and even better than other cars.

Build:

Engine: 507 HP Forged 1.3L Wankel or 562 HP 3.8L V8
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: pro on-road
Tires: elite drag
Brakes: elite
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD (the game doesn't say)
Nissan 350Z


The Nissan 350Z is another great drift car. The movie villain of Tokyo Drift drove it so it must be great against the Mazda RX-7. And yes, it is. The 350Z does feel a bit more stable when it comes to power delivery. It also feels easier to transition drifts, whereas the RX-7 has so much power, that you might end up close to the wall before you can even change direction.


Build:

Engine: 646 HP 3.5L V6
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: pro showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport


The latest and greatest Corvette in the lineup. It's lightweight, powerful, and agile. If you're not a big fan of JDM, then you'll love the Corvette.

It's almost like the Mazda RX-7, only that it's a Corvette. So if you prefer the rumbling V8 over a brapping rotary, then the Corvette is your solution.

Build:

Engine: 460 HP 6.2L V8 (stock engine)
Forced induction: dual turbos or supercharger
Suspension: super showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 7 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Chevrolet Corvette Z06


The Corvette is one powerful car. Equipped with a 7.0L V8, this American icon can put up a fight against the top. It's fast, responsive, and good with getting the angles. And best of all, you don't even need to engine swap, saving you money.

It only falls short from the RX-7 due to angle of attack. I dunno if it's just me but the RX-7 just gets the desired angle that allows it to rack up more points per drift than the Corvette. Also, the Corvette does have a slight tendency to understeer.

Build:

Engine: 506 HP 7.0L V8 (stock engine)
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: pro showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Subaru BRZ


The BRZ is one insane drift car. With the right engine swap, this car just has that much power that the wheels keep spinning.

Similarly to some other cars, the BRZ has the power, the agresiveness for angles, etc. The only complaint about the car is that it's pretty tough to drift in. It does what it does best when you can control the car but if you can't, then the car will be all over the place. It's probably best to go with the less agressive drift parts if you want a more stable car.


Build:

Engine: 577HP 4.0L V8
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: pro showcase
Tires: elite drag
Gearbox: 7 speed
Differential: pro showcase or super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Nissan Fairlady 240ZG

The Nissan 240Z is one old-school cool drift car. Probably not seen in a lot of drift meets, but the car has great power and momentum. Unlike its predecessor, the 350Z, the 240Z doesn't feel as agile and able to transition drifts as quickly as the 350Z can. But with proper throttle control, the 240Z can fair well.

Build:

Engine: 306 HP 3.6L V6
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: super showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: pro showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Nissan Silvia S15 Aero Spec-R

The Nissan Silvia is another most popular drift car known for its lightweight chassis, agility, and momentum. The car feels pretty good. It has good power (with an engine swap), feels pretty responsive, and it can hold its drift. The only downside about the S15 is that the car doesn't seem to get the angle right. And if it does, the car will sacrifice angle for lack of ability to transition drifts.

Build:

Engine: 562 HP 3.8L V8
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: pro showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Chevrolet Camaro Z/28


The Camaro is a pretty decent drift car. It has pretty good power and handles decently well. Unlike other drift cars, you don't have to engine swap it to be better.

The car can transition okay. But the real issue is that the car can sometime feel underpowered. Even maxed out with all 10 stat, it just doesn't have that power to push through corner transitions as I've hoped it would. Hard to explain...

Build:

Engine: 504HP 7.0L V8 (stock engine)
Forced induction: dual turbos or supercharger
Suspension: super showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Dodge Viper SRT 10


The Viper is truly insane in terms of power, with its fearsome 8.4L V10. It certainly has the power to pull off insane drifts but there's a catch. The Viper understeers. This is a problem because the car has a hard time transitioning drifts.

What I found was that you can install pro drift parts instead of super parts (to reduce the oversteer of the car to better improve its agility) and set the drift style to gas to drift. Even then, the Viper is still hard to drift because the car also wants to oversteer when drifting. It feels like the car wasn't meant for long drifts or else it'll start to lose its angle.

Build:

Engine: 640HP 8.4L V10 (stock engine)
Forced induction: dual turbos or roots/screw supercharger
Suspension: pro showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite drag
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: pro showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
Ford Focus RS


Ken Block's Gymkhana star, the Ford Focus RS. As you could probably imagine, this car can drift.

Being an AWD car, it differs a lot from the others. It's much more controllable and easier to start with. It also has the acceleration advantage that RWD cars don't have. But the Focus RS is not as capable of what the RX-7 can do. The thing is the Focus RS doesn't have that ability to get high angles of attack that RWD cars can get. And since drift scores are greatly affected by the angle of your attack, you wouldn't be able to score high, unless you're always drifting near the wall to get that proximity bonus.

It's only good on certain tracks, such as one's with tight corners and quick transitions.

Build:

Engine: 577HP 4.0L V8 (you could swap any other engine if you'd like)
Forced induction: dual turbos
Suspension: super showcase
Brakes: elite
Tires: elite showcase
Clutch: elite+
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: AWD
Lamborghini Murcielago SV


The Lamborghini Murcielago is another car that can drift surprisingly. Although it's a supercar and not your typical drift car, it does turn heads.

The Murcielago is an all wheel drive car so that makes the car rather snappy at times. It's quick to turn but doesn't seem to get the angle right when it comes to long-spanning corners. It definitely excels at hairpins because of that AWD, but unlike rear wheel drive cars, it doesn't get that angle it needs to rack up lots of points.


Build:

Engine: 661HP 5.7L V12 (stock engine)
Forced induction: dual turbos or supercharger
Suspension: super showcase
Tires: elite showcase
Gearbox: 7 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: AWD
Chevrolet C10 Pickup


Normally, a pickup truck isn't the type of car for pulling off sick drifts, but this one can.

The Chevy C10 pickup truck is a surprising drift car. It doesn't seem to hold a candle to what the other cars can do but it does seem pretty easy to drift in.

With drift parts and an engine swap, it's good. That's about it really. The C10 does tend to understeer quite a bit, especially with hairpin corners. Any sort of long, sweeping corner is where the C10 shines in. But sharp hairpins are a no-go.


Build:

Engine: 460HP 6.2L V8
Forced induction: screw / roots supercharger
Suspension: super showcase
Tires: elite drag
Gearbox: 6 speed
Differential: super showcase

Drivetrain: RWD
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21 Comments
potato olo Sep 27 @ 8:53pm 
my nfs are not saving????
Nemeswaos Sep 25 @ 2:15pm 
The BRZ is worth getting used to purely because of how sexy that shit is sideways
kyle the dog snatcher Feb 23 @ 12:00am 
the Doc Hudson quote is "turn right to go left" other then that i love this guide :D
Mauroghen Jan 26 @ 7:59pm 
welp after playing with drag tires for a bit, yeah, I destroyed my previous scores, just because the tires gives you more speed, more speed and angle is how the scores are calculated so having a faster turn just multiplied my score, I went from barely passing 500k score to 700k
xJSerpent  [author] Jan 25 @ 12:50pm 
It's best to not use nitrous unless your car is sideways, then the nitrous won't lift up your car. And handbrakes are rarely used, unless you want to slightly increase your angle. But holding it for too long will stall the car (being there's no clutch in the game). But nonetheless using the regular brakes should help increase your angle. The handbrake is only really an emergency when mid drifting so you don't lose a lot of speed with using the brakes.
Mauroghen Jan 25 @ 11:35am 
I also noticed something that doomed my usual habits with the drag tires. nitrous on drag tires will make the car straight up lift the front on RWD. so. no turning during nitrous.
the handbrake part of the guide also makes no sense, it kills all my speed and locks my angle of attack, it doesnt increase it. unless I misread it and you mean to handbrake before a drift, which I'd rather just tap-hold the gas to initiate+brake if needed.
xJSerpent  [author] Jan 25 @ 11:09am 
Third, turbos do make more power but they're sort of irrelevant to drift build cars. Superchargers are the way to go for delivering instantaneous boost when needed but it's more or less a "preference" for me to use turbos. I somehow drift better with that turbo lag and big boost at the end to give me more oversteer when I need it. But the dual turbos should have that boost to get the car more power it needs to slide, oversteer, and keep a higher speed throughout drifts. Could be said the same with superchargers.
xJSerpent  [author] Jan 25 @ 11:09am 
Lemme try to explain everything. First, the "more drift" the more points does seem to be the way the game mode works. And the 4 speed gearbox is your way to go, then go for it. I haven't really bothered with 4 speed gearboxes so sorry for that misinformation.

Second, i'm not saying you're wrong but the tires and setups I used seemed to work better imo. Take it as you will on full drift parts and tires working out for you, fine. But drag tires helped give RWD cars the "push" they need to launch and to maintain forward momentum when drifting. Drift tires just made them slide all over the place, which was a disaster for me.

Mauroghen Jan 24 @ 10:15pm 
im gonna try trusting this guide on a different car other than my rx7 just so I dont lose my muscle memory that I built for it, I tried the drag tires and im not sure yet.
Mauroghen Jan 24 @ 9:51pm 
part 3

I dont know why you put dual turbos on every car, sure the raw stats go up and your rating goes up, big woop, but the screw/roots superchargers are way better to give you the oomph to continue drifitng since you're always at low speeds. its like your guide builds the cars to race? AND drift. theres no timer on the drift events, you really dont need to go fast/have better stats for higher speeds.