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Driving in the snow has its challenges and dangers. Slick driving surfaces, tricky patches of ice, and deep snow banks can turn a routine drive into a harrowing headache. As a result, SUVs and trucks with 4×4, AWD, or ground clearance are a popular choice for tackling inclement weather. However, if you’re a car enthusiast and your only ride is a Mazda MX-5 or Ford Mustang, you’ll have to plan ahead to make the best out of driving your rear-wheel drive sports car in the snow.  

You can drive a sports car in the snow, but it’s not ideal

A Chevrolet Camaro, one of Chevy's rear-wheel drive sports cars, does its best to drive in the snow.
A Chevrolet Camaro in the snow | DarthArt via iStock

Yes, you can drive a sports car in the snow. There’s no polar police force that will show up and arrest you for driving your rear-wheel drive sports car in the snow. However, it might not be your best bet.

For starters, rear-wheel drive (RWD) acts as a pushing force on your vehicle, with a driveshaft sending power to the rear with two contact patches propelling you forward. As a result, the rear end has a propensity to break traction, causing a skid. All-wheel drive (AWD), on the other hand, purchases with all four tires, making for a much more stable and grippy ride on low-friction surfaces like snow and ice.

However, while many new sports sedans offer standard or optional AWD, sports cars tend to rely on RWD for more engaging driving dynamics. Still, there are options; The Porsche 911 has a long relationship with AWD, as does the Audi S5. Those sports cars have an inherent leg up in the snow. However, you won’t find anything other than a rear-wheel drive Chevrolet Camaro or Subaru BRZ. 

What’s more, many sports cars tend to produce high power outputs, like the Ford Mustang GT’s 486 ponies (with the performance exhaust) or the Nissan Z’s 400 horsepower. As a result, drivers sans finesse could instigate a loss of traction with a stab of the throttle.

You might want to prep your sports car for snow driving

Ok, your heart beats like an aggressive camshaft, and you couldn’t possibly put your rear-wheel drive sports car away for the snow-laden months. We get it. Well, you might want to stack the deck in your favor to stay safe and get that sports car there and back in one piece. 

The best addition to your snow-bound rear-wheel drive sports car is a set of winter tires. Winter tires multiply grip in snowy and icy environments better than the mechanical grip generated by AWD. Beyond a good set of winter tires, sports car drivers will want to decrease their speed and increase their typical following distances.