Want to perform the perfect drift? Buy a BMW M3

M Division’s Drift Analyser rates your slide and gives you tips to improve your form


Gimmicks and fads are a big part of the automotive world. They always have been and always will. Drift mode, a feature that made headlines for all the misguided reasons with the Ford Focus RS, is a feature that aids rear-axle yaw for typically tied-down all-wheel-drive cars. Think Mercedes-AMG A45 S and you’re on the money. However, for M3s with M Drive Professional, BMW has taken a different tack.

A rear-drive M3 with a stonking S58 powertrain packing 353kW and 550Nm doesn’t need a Drift mode. Its on-paper figures are more than enough to eviscerate the rears in real-world, almost poetic slides. So instead, the M Division has devised a way to rate your drifts, offering either instant gratification or critic via the central 10.25-inch infotainment screen. It’s called M Drift Analyser.

So, how does it work? Well, essentially, you switch all the safety systems off (hold down the DSC button for at least four seconds) and dial the 10-stage traction control system to zero. Then you head out on track – which is the critical part of the equation. Do not try this on public roads. There’s even a legal disclaimer to clear.

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Once on track, mash the loud pedal and try and hold a slide. The analyser then measures how far your drift is, what angle you get to and how long you can hold the slide before rating your efforts via a star system. It’s like getting a gold star on your homework from BMW.

It’s important to note that the system doesn’t actively help you drift the car – unlike Ferrari’s side slip angle control (SSC). The driver has to engage and hold the slide. The maximum drift angle is limited by the maximum steering angle, which is 35 degrees. The analyser is constantly computing things like yaw rate, wheel spin, steering angle and even tyre temperatures in an attempt to accurately rate your skills.

It even detects transitions and linking manoeuvres then adjusts your score accordingly. Additionally, if you have lap-time recording active you can watch it back on your smartphone. For pub chat, you can even send your results to your M3/M4-toting mates. Is it all a gimmick? Probably. But it’s fun, too. Just be sensible as you don’t want to end up on A Current Affair to face Tracy.

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Trent Giunco


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