Drag & Drift Races Return In New Need for Speed Unbound Update

NFS Unbound Drag & Drift.jpg
Image: Criterion Games
Need For Speed Unbound has has added two classic modes from the series' history, as well as two new customisable cars and a league progression system. Here is all you need to know about the Need For Speed Unbound Drag & Drift Update.

Released on 2 December 2022, Need for Speed Unbound marked a significant milestone in the NFS series of games, which began all the way back in 1994. Developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts, Unbound introduces a fresh blend of the signature high-octane street racing that players have become accustomed to, innovative game mechanics and a striking new visual style which was a huge departure from its predecessors.

Unbound has just received its latest update called Drift & Drag. Included are those two aforementioned gamemodes - harkening back to the franchise's roots - and more.

NFS Unbound Drag & Drift: What is New?​

The handling has seen an overhaul for the new Drift mode, which can be accessed via playlists in PVP and Free Roam, and it is now possible to convert select models of car to Drift Builds. Then there is Drag mode, offering new features like tactical manual gear shifting, lane changing to dodge obstacles and timed nitrous boosts - sound familiar, Underground players?. There are now also Drag builds for select cars.

As for the two new vehicles? They are the BMW M3 Competition Touring '23 and Ford Mustang Dark Horse '24, which can both be converted to Drift and Drag builds. Two sets of Rare Customs for these cars feature designs inspired by NFS Underground.

NFS Unbound Mustang and M3.jpg

The Mustang and M3 make up the latest additions to Unbound. Image: Criterion Games

The final new addition is the Underground League, an exclusive club that offers racers the chance of earning the cars of the many participants. New rivals will show up on a regular basis for players to take on, so it is worth checking back from time to time to learn what unique car is on offer.

Speed Pass & NFS Legends​

Like most Triple A titles these days, Need for Speed Unbound has its own battle pass system. There are 45 tiers of items to unlock, including cars, bodykits, cosmetics and more, with the new BMW M3 Competition Touring '23 being the car and many customisable features to go along with it.

For purchasing the Premium version of the Speed Pass, one can access the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse '24 and items that can be applied to it. Plus an additional 30 tiers will become available on top of the 45 you get as standard.

NFS Unbound Legends.jpg

Access cars of renowned past characters in the NFS franchise. Image: Criterion Games

Finally, iconic cars from past Need for Speed titles as part of NFS Legends arrive in this volume. These can be found in Underground-inspired playlists, such cars include Eddie's Skyline, Rachel's 350Z and Melissa's Eclipse, all available in the Premium Speed Pass.

Need For Speed Unbound Drag & Drift Update - Changelog​


Ok! Building towards our goal of creating the Ultimate NFS Experience in one place, we are bringing back some beloved game modes that have a touch of the old inspired by Underground and a remix of the new. First up…..

  • Added Drag Mode in PVP and Free Roam
A personal favorite of ours (especially mine! -John) 4 players on the start grid, engines revving, tires smoking, eyes interlocking, did someone say something about family? Anyway…. we go back to the ways of the Underground with things like lane switching and manual gear shifting at just the right spot, while adding some new, with tire warm up sequence to gain you Burst Nos. You will see we have blended the old and the new too, with things like the rev counter and gear change UI. Now, we know our world was not built for Drag from the start but! we have sourced some of the best routes in Lakeshore to give that Underground vibe. Want to live out your fantasy a ¼ mile at a time? We got you, some variation for the mode includes, ½ mile, ¼ mile and some longer stips. We are super pumped to be able to bring this mode back into the NFS fray and a truly different way of playing where it's about quick fingers and feet down!

  • Added Drift Pro Mode in PVP and Free roam
Ok we heard you on the Drift and this is something we have been cooking for a bit. When playing in a Drift Pro event or when out and about in Free Roam, if you have Drift Pro Tires equipped you will now see how you get a much more natural and analogue Drift occurring, deeper angles, longer drift, a much greater sense of being able to feel when the car is going to lose control, allowing you to chain drifts together and really slay some tires!

In the mode itself we have taken big inspiration from Underground with our more streamlined scoring multiplier and chaining but added in some new with twin drifting i.e. drifting in tandem with other players. Don't worry though! Collisions are off but let us know if you would like to see some playlists with them on? Drift Pro events will be 8 players and the goal is to smash out the biggest score possible.

  • Added Drift Tires for Improved Drift Handling
Drift Pro tires need to be equipped to your vehicle in order to take part in Drift Pro events, they aren't going to break the bank and I think you guys have enough cash in the game already right?! Don't worry if you do not have any to start though, of course borrow a loaner from good old Rydell and and test the mode out. Once you do have your new Drift shoes though you can take your ride for a spin out on the streets of Lakeshore and experience it in a whole new sideways manner!

  • Added League in Free Roam
Bringing some Single player progression flavor into online. Leagues is a, well, League…. to climb up to the top of. Harking back to more simpler progression times and for this volume, inspired by the URL (Underground Racing League) of NFS Underground.

Complete the challenges to unlock the opportunity to take on the racers of Lakeshore (watch out for Ross) in a one to one Drag race. Beat them and you move up the League. New racers to take on will be released over the course of the volume so make sure you check back in each week to see who is next on the list to beat. There are select Rival Racer vehicles to own too when you beat them in the 1v1’s. 12 racers to beat totally. Well actually……13 but check the community challenge for that!

  • Added Community Challenge in League
Again something new for Unbound in Vol7 is the community challenge. The idea? Take on the community challenge of sticking it to the Cops. Fulfill the challenge and…..well…. there are some murmurings that the person setting up the challenges may grace us with their presence and have one of their customs up for grabs….you will want to make sure you work as a community though, we hear this mysterious racer likes to switch up their ride so it might not be around to grab forever. Community challenge will go live during the volume so keep an eye out!

  • Added New PVP Races
    New volume means of course, new races, new Legends playlist and now including Drag and Drift.
    • 37 Additional Playlists
    • 20 Drift Pro Routes - 10 new 10 remixed
    • 37 Drag Routes (All new Routes)
    • 10 Brand new race routes for the NFS Legends Playlists. This includes being able to drive in Eddie’s and Rachel’s icon Skyline and 350z.
    • 4 Equal Performance Playlists for the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse ‘24
    • 4 Equal Performance Playlists for the new BMW M3 Competition Touring ‘23
  • Added New Races, Events and changed our Meetup structure in Free Roam
    New races and events can be played in Free Roam as they can in PVP. Additionally you can equip drift pro tires to then take to the streets of Lakeshore. In order to make things a little easier to find too, you will see that meetups now how specific event types:
    • University Meetup contains Drift Pro Events
    • Storm Drain Meetup contains Drag Events
    • Powderhound Meetup contains Drift, Gauntlet, and Rumble Events
    • Dunder M Park contains Car-Locked Events (Nissan only, Audi only, etc.)
    • Motor City B and A+ Tier Street Races
    • Jeferson Meetup A and S Tier Street Races
    • Edgewater S+ Tier Street Races
  • Increased Max Rank

Max rank will now be increased to 250! Think of these new 50 ranks as more exclusive, Underground themed and accompanied by Rank icons, titles and banner art unlocking every 10 ranks.


  • Added New Cars

There is a crazy amount of cars both new and custom up for grabs in this volume!

Keeping it wagon alongside the RS6 from volume 6 is the BMW M3 Competition Touring ‘23, and bringing more horses than the Cheltenham races (it's a UK thing give it a google) the absolute brute that is the Ford Mustang Dark Horse ‘24. Of course both come with our updated handling model you will have tired with our Audi’s in Vol 6. Full breakdown:

*** Added Ford Mustang Dark Horse ‘24 w/ 3 bodykits

^ Added BMW M3 Competition Touring ‘23 w/ 3 bodykits

*** Melissa’s Custom Mitsubishi Eclipse from Need For Speed Underground

*** Speedhunters Drift Custom BMW M3 Competition Touring ‘23

*** Speedhunters Drag Custom Ford Mustang Dark Horse ‘24

^ Need For Speed Underground series inspired Drag BMW M3 Competition Touring ‘23

*** Need For Speed Underground series inspired Drift Ford Mustang Dark Horse ‘24

/ 4 Lakeshore Racer vehicles (check back each week for what!)

/ Community Challenge Custom….???

*** Available in Premium Speed Pass

^ Available in Free Speed Pass

/ Available for free in Leagues play in Freeroam


Of course there is more than Cars up for grabs though! Some ridiculously sick new customisation options have been added. We really wanted to celebrate the Underground series this volume and mix some old skool things with new tech….

  • Added LED Rims - Check out our teasing to see them in action more but think GIf playing on your rims as you drive and you spin the wheel more. A bunch here inspired by NFS Underground!
  • Added LED Plates - A similar thing but wheel spinning is not required! Check out again some of the crazy Underground series nods
  • Added Beat-matched Rim - Ok this one is pretty crazy, equip this and the waveform displayed on the LED rim will change depending on the beat of the music playing…see to believe!
  • New decal: Ode to Neville - As a nod to our fallen brother Chris Gauthier who played Neville in Need For Speed Carbon, we have added his iconic Octopus decal. Show us your creations with this. Love and prayers with his family and those that knew him, R.I.P Chris.
  • Added spinners - Wouldn't be Underground without Spinner right? New twist here is that we are rocking them on LED rims! Check them out in the Speed Pass
  • Added new rims - New real rims! There are 6 new rims up for grabs in the pass too, all free and and with some brands like Rotiform
  • Added new Premium VFX - Rip up the Road (for drifting) and Burn up the Road (for drag racing) - 2 New driving effects with some variations of each for you to slay some tyres with in style.
  • Added New Titles - There are a whole bunch of new titles to unlock, fully hitting on the vibes of the past too! What way to pledge your allegiance to your fav NFS of old than slamming it in people's faces on the results screen!
  • And of course a whole lot more:
    • Plates
    • Decals
    • Transparent turbo fans
    • Underglows
    • Character skins
    • And projections
    • XP boosts
    • Twin smoke


  • Added Manual reset on track - With this we heard how it can be super frustrating when you crash, do not get auto reset and are then left alone….in the cold…out of the action. Well fear not! Manual reset is here, Manual reset is enabled in checkpoint game modes in the following situations:
  1. Player is facing the wrong way and speed is under 30mph
  2. Speed is under 30mph
A prompt will appear depending on your platform of choice and you can get back into the action!

  • Made changes to the suspension damping values - This is to improve curb reactions at high speed, we hear you on the issues here and have tried something to help without having to change our whole handling model.


  • Fixed a bug where the next Speed Pass reward would show the wrong award when the player had exactly enough XP to complete rank 1
  • Banner rewards now only shown in the MP reward screen
  • Fixed PS5 Dolby Atmos support
  • Fixed resetting at high speed on "Gotta be Shittin' Me" so you don't go flying off the track after being reset
  • The Audi R8 is now awarded at the start of the game, like all other speedpass cars
  • More CPU spike reductions, specifically targeted at activities in the open world and circuit game modes.
  • Fixed lobby invites sometimes not showing the "new" sticker when they should be
  • Fix collectable XP notifications sometimes showing the wrong value
  • Fixed a bug where the camera would try to avoid a car the player has no collision with in Drift events
  • Fixed an issue where players would rarely not receive a Speed Pass reward when switching console / savegame
  • Fixed an issue in MP when some of the cops that were in an active pursuit of a player would stop seeing them if another nearby player left the server

Will you be checking out the new Need for Speed Unbound update? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!
About author
Luca [OT]
Biggest sim racing esports fan in the world.


I'll say that I've had a blast with this title on controller at release when i was still on console. The haptics were pretty decent and racing at high speed through traffic was satisfying. Obviously everything other than the racing was cringy as hell but the fun was there. Nice to see they're still updating it.
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