Originally, drifting started out as a way for Japan’s pioneering street racers of the 1970s to preserve precious momentum and find the fastest—and most stylish—way through a corner. As tire technology improved and horsepower ratings climbed, it was quickly discovered that drifting was not the quickest way to link straightaways—but it sure was a crowd pleaser, so it stuck around.
It’s bizarre to think about the way drifting has gone mainstream, from Japanese mountain passes to a button installed in a turbocharged German hatchback. This video from Mercedes-AMG’s official YouTube channel shows just that, with a Europe-only, 400-plus horsepower A45 AMG hatchback getting sideways on a track in northern Germany (the ATP Automotive Testing Center in Papenburg, to be exact).
To a purist, a true drift involves a rear-wheel-drive car, with the front tires maintaining some level of grip while the rear tires slide. What we’re seeing in the video is technically the all-wheel-drive A45 AMG performing powerslides. The Ford Focus RS, a competitor to this particular hot hatch, has the same feature: a “drift mode” that actually results in powerslides.
Whether or not they’re “real” drifts is more or less inconsequential, though. The clip, appropriately titled “Not another Christmas video,” shows the A45 AMG and its driver having loads of fun. Isn’t that what high horsepower five-doors are all about?
While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see the A45 AMG hatchback in the United States, there’s a good chance that the sedan version will receive similar treatment at the hands of AMG—we’re hoping that includes the magic drift button.
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