Feature article

Best drift cars available in NZ

These are some of the best driftable cars you can buy new in New Zealand.

26 February 2024

When thinking about the best drift cars in New Zealand, you’ll likely get an image of one of Mad Mike’s rotary-powered machines sliding fully-sick sideways with clouds of smoke spewing from the rear tyres. Mike has carved himself out as the Kiwi King of Drifters thanks to his high horsepower creations and fan-friendly antics.

While drifting is strictly a track activity, some car manufacturers have embraced the sideways culture and fitted special drift modes to their performance models. And there aren’t all RWD vehicles either with a mix of sports rear differentials and tricky software allowing AWD machines to let it hang out too. Even electric cars are getting in on the act. These are some of the best driftable cars you can buy new in New Zealand.


The M2 is a bit special, not least because it is BMW’s final, fully-fledged petrol-powered M car. From here on in they'll be electrified to some degree.

The M2 has a 3.0-litre twin turbocharged inline six-cylinder with 338kW and 550Nm of torque to torture the tyres with. You can have it with an eight-speed auto, but the drifter will want to opt for the six-speed manual. Both send power to the rear wheels exclusively. The auto M2 can hit 100km/h in 4.1 seconds while the manual takes a little longer at 4.3 seconds.

A drift mode in the form of M Traction Control allows drivers to choose between ten stages of wheel slip limitation. The M2 can be moulded to the driver’s tastes through the set-up button on the centre console which provides direct access to the car’s engine, chassis, steering, braking, traction control, and gear shift assistant. The M2 is also fitted with a drift analyser and a lap timer to see just how good you are.

Audi RS 3

The RS 3 is an AWD rocketship, but thanks to its various RS driving modes and its ‘torque splitter’ sports rear differential, it can turn into a drift machine. One of these drive modes, RS Torque Rear, turns it into a rear driver and switches the ESP off to allow liberal degrees of slip angle through corners. This is essentially a drift mode for use on closed roads.

When driving the 295kW/500Nm RS 3 in its Sport ESC setting, the rear end starts to step out but the stability control reins things in once a certain slip angle is reached. In the RS Torque Rear mode with ESC off, you’re on your own, with up to 100 percent of the drive torque directed to the rear and ending up at the wheel on the outside of the curve. Providing you don’t overcook things initially, the drift can be held using varying degrees of opposite lock and managing the throttle. Evidently the torque splitter also makes the RS 3 more stable at speed, and certainly less liable to understeer in dynamic driving.

Skoda Enyaq

Wait, what? An electric car? The Skoda Enyaq might be one of the last cars you’d think of as driftable, but the vRS version has set a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous drift on ice. A controlled slide of 7.351km was recorded after the Enyaq was drifted around an ice circle 39 times, the feat taking just under 16 minutes to achieve.

As for the car itself, the Enyaq iV vRS boasts an output of 220kW and 460Nm from its two electric motors which provide drive to all four wheels. That’s enough juice to hit 100km/h from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. While the vRS is not available in NZ, the standard model is rear wheel drive. All you need is to find some ice.

Kia EV6 GT

Another electric entry, the Kia EV6 GT is one potent machine. It has a total system output of 430kW and 740Nm, enabling a supercar-baiting 3.5sec 0-100km/h sprint time. Pin the throttle for long enough and you might see 260km/h in the right environs.

This Kia has multiple drive modes, one of these being a Drift mode. This sees its stability systems tolerate big slip angels while working the rear motor harder to help swing the tail around. However, it’s not something we’d recommend you try other than in a controlled environment.

The EV6 GT has uprated brakes and fettled suspension, optimised for Australasian conditions. Specifically, it rides 5mm lower than the GT-Line model, has slightly softer front and firmer rear spring rates, and an uprated antiroll bar at the rear. There’s adaptive damping and also a GT mode that turns off stability control.


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.