How to perform the new super drift boost in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

In the original Mario Kart 8, drift boosting had two stages. The blue sparks gave you a quick bump in speed for a second, but if you held that drift until the sparks turned orange, the bump in speed was noticeably better. With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there is now a third stage of drift boosting. If you hold the drift just a little longer, those orange sparks will turn bright purple and the speed boost that follows can be the difference between first and second place.

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Here's how you perform the perfect super drift boost!

Step One — Disable Smart Steering

You can hit orange sparks in most of the turns in Mario Kart 8 with a little practice, but purple sparks almost always means making the most out of the particularly long turn. That means getting a little closer to the edge of the road than you'd normally want to and occasionally pointing your Kart away from the road as you hit the other side of the turn. Guess what? Smart Steering, the kid-friendly drive assistant Nintendo added for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, really doesn't like it when you do either of those things. As a result, purple sparks are a lot more difficult to pull off with that feature enabled.

The good news is you can quickly disable this feature if you haven't already. The bad news is Rainbow Road is about to get a lot harder again. Smart Steering can be disabled in two different ways:

  • Kart Selection: When choosing your Kart, press the + on your Switch controller. Tap the left trigger on your controller to disable Smart Steering. You'll see a red X to confirm.
  • Mid-Race Pause: Press + in the middle of a race to pause the game, and you'll see an option to disable Smart Steering. Tap on or press A over it, and as soon as you resume the race the feature will be disabled.

The easiest way to tell whether Smart Steering is being used is by looking at the Kart itself. Smart Steering adds a little antenna to the back of the Kart, which pulses a yellow light when the AI is controlling the Kart for the driver. If you don't see that antenna, Smart Steering isn't being used.

Step Two — Pick the best turns

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Drifting

Most tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have one turn that is perfect for purple sparks but not all of them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mushroom Cup

  • Mario Kart Stadium: The wide turn just before the glider hop is perfect for this maneuver.
  • Water Park: The final water area at the end of this race is awesome.
  • Thwomp Ruins: Hit the long turn just before the finish line.

Flower Cup

  • Mario Circuit: If you can dodge the Goombas, there are two spots that work really well.
  • Toad Harbor: Try drifting up the ramp just after the second set of jumps, and just keep drifting!

Star Cup

  • Sunshine Airport: Drifting around the airplane is cool, and the freight corner at the end works too.
  • Electrodome: If it makes noise and you can drift on it, you're going to have a good time.

Special Cup

  • Bone-Dry Dunes: Drift your way around the swirling sands and you'll easily catch anyone boosting through it.
  • Rainbow Road: It's not impossible, but it's not easy. The long section at the 3/4 mark should work.

Shell Cup

  • Mario Circuit: There are three good spots in this track, go have fun!
  • Toad's Turnpike: As long as you can dodge the big trucks, the turns here will work.

Banana Cup

  • Dry Dry Desert: The very first turn work well, but only at full speed.
  • Royal Raceway: Tha long turn at the halfway point, near the waterfall, will work well.
  • DK Jungle: Hit the long turn at the very end, and you should see purple sparks.

Lightning Cup

  • Tick-Tock Clock: Big clock sections are perfect for long drifts, have fun!
  • Grumble Volcano: Drift up the ramp at the end, and you'll have enough room to boost through to the finish.

Egg Cup

  • Excitebike Arena: If you can navigate the oil spills, you can get purple sparks on both turns on this track.

Triforce Cup

  • Wario's Gold Mine: The turn just before the inside of the mine should be enough for you to drift to purple.
  • Ice Ice Outpost: Take the yellow track, and be very careful to start drifting around the turn early.

Crossing Cup

  • Animal Crossing: The big turn as soon as you leave the snow area is a lot of fun.

Bell Cup

  • Ribbon Road: This track is full of big fun turns, just be careful to avoid all of the little things to crash into!
  • Big Blue: The big vertical turn is perfect for drifting.

Step Three — Perform a super drift boost!

Now that you've picked the turn you want to hit, follow these instructions:

  1. Hold the right trigger at least one full second before the turn starts to start the drift.
  2. Use your left joystick to steer toward the outside wall of the turn.
  3. When you pass the apex of the turn, use your left joystick to steer toward the inside wall of the turn.
  4. Hold this position until you see purple sparks, then release the right trigger to boost

VROOM! The boost will take some practice to really pull off effectively, but once you've figured it out, the only thing between you and victory will be those infernal blue shells. Sadly, no boost can save you from their cruelty.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He's a passionate futurist whose trusty iPad mini is never far from reach. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Reach out on Twitter!