Need for Speed Unbound Racing Guide: Drift vs Grip & maximising your build

If you're constantly losing races, our Need for Speed Unbound racing guide has essential tips for getting the most out of Grip and Drift cars to help you beat the competition.

Need for Speed Unbound Racing Guide

Although Need for Speed Unbound is an arcade racer, the handling has more depth than you may realise.

There are two distinct handling types in NFS Unbound: Drift and Grip. Both require different techniques to maximise speed, so which one works for you depends on the driving style you prefer.

Need for Speed Unbound race guide
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In most NFS games, the fastest way to corner is brake and drift - a technique that Burnout veterans are also familiar with. This is still possible in NFS Unbound if you enjoy drifting.

However, Unbound introduces a new Grip driving option. Unusually for a NFS game, this means you can take proper racing lines to carry more speed.

Drift vs Grip

As Militia Gaming Community explains, a general rule is that low-tier cars like B-class cars are usually faster with Drift setups while higher-class cars like S-class cars are quicker with Grip setups.

Need for Speed Unbound racing guide
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This is because burst nitrous is rewarded differently depending on your setup. With Grip cars, the more speed you carry into a corner, the more nitrous you will earn. Likewise, holding a slide in a Drift car as long as possible fills up your burst nitrous faster.

Because they are slow, it's difficult to earn Grip nitrous in low-tier cars. Conversely, the higher-tier cars slow down when drifting, making it difficult to earn Drift nitrous.

Need for Speed Unbound racing guide
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Tuning your car to take advantage of these distinct driving styles is also important.

Maximising grip in the driving options allows you to take turns at higher speeds while increasing drift makes it easier to keep the car sideways for longer.

In turn, these techniques will gain you more burst nitrous, making your car go even faster and thrash the competition.

Use nitrous boost strategically

The key is to earn as much burst nitrous as you can when taking corners while sacrificing as little speed as possible. Nitrous doesn’t just give you a temporary speed boost – it changes the physics.

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Need for Speed Unbound racing guide
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Activating a burst nitrous pushes you forward in the direction you’re facing without directional forces affecting your car.

This means you can take unconventional racing lines and tight turns without losing any speed. Applying nitrous boost strategically will give you an edge over the competition. Whether you’re using a Drift or Grip handling, how you approach a corner will give you either more or less burst nitrous.

Need for Speed Unbound racing guide
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Muscle memory from past NFS games may cause you to brake to drift around every corner, but this is not an effective way to corner in Grip cars. Instead, fill up your nitrous boost by braking and taking the correct line.

Being an arcade game, NFS Unbound’s driving physics are more forgiving than realistic sim racers, but the same rules apply for carrying speed in corners with Grip cars: slow-in and fast-out.

By braking and taking the correct line in Grip cars, your nitrous boost will fill up faster, giving you a crucial speed boost. Time these nitrous boosts right, and you’ll leave other drivers in your dust. 

Utilise the strengths of your car, and you’ll be rewarded. It may sound obvious, but don’t build a Grip car and then try to drift around every corner – this is a common mistake many players make online.

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