Here’s Why the Nissan 350Z Is the Best Starter Drift Car

Drifting is not just an exciting and nearly trance-inducing form of racing and showmanship but also a possessing hobby among enthusiasts. However, the beloved S13 Nissan 240SX is an appreciating asset and might be out-of-reach for many would-be drifters. Furthermore, drifting can often result in some serious wear and tear, so a cost-effective car like a Nissan 350Z might be your best bet. Don’t listen to me, though; listen to these three Formula Drift pro drivers tell you why the 350Z is the best starter drift car. 

Why would you consider the 350Z?

The Nissan 350Z is a solid starter drift car. First, the Nissan coupe is affordable for enthusiasts on a budget. For instance, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says you can snag a 2003 Nissan 350Z with average mileage for under $8,000. That’s less than half of the average price of a Nissan 240SX. 

Better yet, the 350Z is rear-wheel drive and extremely tunable. The 3.5L V6 is a sweetheart in stock configuration, and even some of the earliest 350Zs produced a stone’s throw under 300 horsepower. Better yet, the “front mid-engine” layout of the car creates what Car and Driver calls “decent” weight distribution. The result: a modification-ready, well-balanced, and budget-friendly alternative to the collectible 240SX.

The Nissan 350Z is one of the best starter drift cars.
2004 Nissan 350Z | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images, Getty Images

Jeff Jones says you should find a Nissan 350Z or BMW E46 that you’re comfortable working on

Jeff Jones, a Formula Drift (Formula D) pro driver, recommends the Nissan 350Z. However, he doesn’t just suggest the Nissan. He told our own Braden Carlson that any party interested in starting their drifting experience should opt for a car they’re “OK working on every day.” Beyond the 350Z, he recommended BMWs like the E46 generation if you’re accustomed to them. 

Furthermore, Jones says you should opt for a car you’re prepared to love and hate; he said you’ll undoubtedly spend time cussing at that vehicle. 

A Nissan 350Z is a great starter drift car for beginners on a budget.
A Nissan 350Z drifts in Las Vegas | David Allio, Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Dustin Miles is quick to recommend the Nissan 350Z as the best starter drift car

Dustin Miles, a Prospec driver in Formula D, recommends the Nissan 350Z as a bonafide starter car. In addition to the Nissan, he recommends a Lexus IS300, BMW E46, or BMW E36 for a vehicle to set up as your own drift-day scalpel. Beyond the 350Z and company, he says you should look for “anything with some power and manual clutch.” 

Nissan's little coupe is a great choice for beginners who want to try drifting.
2004 Nissan 350Z | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images, Getty Images

Odi Bakchis has some advice for folks who are thinking about a Nissan 350Z as a starter drift car

Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis, a Lithuanian pro driver, also recommends the Nissan 350Z. However, Bakchis also has some helpful advice for enthusiasts who want to get started with a 350Z. He recommends that you find a budget-friendly earlier model, like the 2003 or 2004 model year. Furthermore, he is adamant that potential owners ensure that there is, in fact, oil in the motor. 

Beyond that advice, Bakchis recommends you ensure that the motor doesn’t have rod knock and the vehicle isn’t smoking. Finally, he recommends that you feed non-synthetic oil to your Nissan 350Z starter drift car. Either way, be prepared for your drift journey and lifestyle. Scroll down to the following article to read more about cool cars!

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