How to drift in Forza Horizon 5: Best cars and settings for drifting

Alec Mullins
Forza Horizon 5's drifting guide
Playground Games

Looking to up your car control? From button layouts and controller settings to the best cars for fledgling racers, we’ve got all the information you need to learn how to drift in Forza Horizon 5. 

Drifting is one of the flashiest maneuvers a driver can pull off in Forza Horizon 5. But it doesn’t just look good, it can be helpful in getting around the map as well.

From the starred drift zones to getting ahead of other racers when zooming around tight corners, elevating the level of control you have around your car can make the difference on many of the twistier courses on the map.

If you’re ready to add this important piece to your virtual racing arsenal, then check out our complete guide on how to get started.


How to drift in Forza Horizon 5

Drifting in Forza Horizon is an advanced mechanic
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The road to learning how to drift can be a long and complex one, but these tips will get you ahead of the competition in no time.

The key to learning how to drift is understanding how each decision you make with the car affects the next stage of the process.

To get started in a safe, controllable way, it’s best to learn how to swing around traffic cones using your handbrake to make a finesse turn.

This gives you an easy way to both get a feel for how fast you can be going and still complete the turnaround, and also serves as an intro to timing your turns correctly, which is a key part of mastering the drift.

Once you’re comfortable making a 180-degree turn through the cones, use those same skills when attempting a turn around a real corner. The goal is for your car to never veer too close into the corner you’re taking, and to finish the turn with your vehicle’s body facing the direction you need to go next.

This Hoonigan vehicles is in perfect drift form in Forza Horizon 5
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The way this Hoonigan has turned guarantees that its front end will be facing up the road, putting it in the best position to take the next turn.

This is done through counter-steering — the method of turning away from the direction you were initially driving — and when done correctly will keep you directly in line with the next turn.

Practice this for a while until you can do it without thinking and then attempt to take a second corner when you feel comfortable.

Going into the second corner can be tricky as you’re no longer leading into the corner in a neutral state. Your car has already been through the swing of one corner, and if you’re offline even a little bit, saving the drift can be a headache. If you’re failing to get it down, skip the first corner and take the second one by itself.

Forza Horizon 5's drifting mechanics are much improved from FH 4
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Being centered in the road is a good indication that you’re ending your drift in the right place.

This will help you identify the proper position to be in when you finish the first turn. Much of the steering in this situation isn’t happening with the steering wheel, it’s happening in your gas, throttle, and brake control, so experiment with different speeds, gears, and braking methods until you find what works for your car.

Once you’ve mastered taking turns like this, try to get into the drift without your handbrake. This takes a whole new level of skill to pull off, but will ultimately result in a cleaner and more repeatable drift. In this version, the weight of the vehicle will do all of the work, so there’s no need to get the brakes involved for anything other than shoring up or extending the distance your car will stay in the turn.

Best settings for drifting

There are a few key settings that make drifting much easier and give every player a chance to define their drifting style.

Out of all of the game’s settings, these are the ones that will have the most impact on your skill as a drifter:

  • Braking: ANTI-LOCK OFF
  • Steering: STANDARD
  • Traction Control: OFF
  • Stability Control: OFF
  • Shifting: MANUAL + CLUTCH

Once you’ve mastered steering with Standard steering, switching to Simulation will up the difficulty once again, but it also offers the most realistic feel out of all of the options. It’ll take some time to get used to, but it’s a necessary step to take if you want to become a master of the craft.

Best drift cars for beginners in Forza Horizon 5

The Hoonigan Twerkstallion is an optimal choice for drifting
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The Hoonigan Twerkstallion is a solid intermediate choice for drifting.

Starting with a less expensive and less sensitive option is the best way to get used to the fine movements and timings that you’ll need to master along the way.

In our opinion, the Mazda Miata is the most beginner-friendly option but ramping up to more expensive cars as you learn is a good way to get accustomed to drifting in any car with any tune.

All of these cars are good options for anyone trying to develop the necessary mechanics for the first time:

  • Hoonigan Twerkstallion
  • Toyota Supra RZ 1998
  • Nissan Silvia
  • 1995 Formula Drift #34 Toyota Supra MKIV
  • Mazda Miata

Once you’re comfortable with one of these, try some of the more advanced options and test how the two experiences compare with your newfound skills.

If this was helpful, try checking out some of our other Forza Horizon 5 content:

Fastest drag cars in Forza Horizon 5Best rally cars in Forza Horizon 5 | Best offroad cars in Forza Horizon 5 | Fastest cars in Forza Horizon 5 | How to get free cars in Forza Horizon 5 | Forza Horizon 5 full car list