Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I don't see on the Official MarioKart Guide about Automatic vs Manual?

1) Is it true if everybody is using Manual and you use Automatic, then you have an advantage, unless the person is really good at using Manual? (but probably you don't want to be seen needing this advantage)

2) With Automatic, you can't press the B button to hop and do power slides or Mini-Turbo?

2b) The booklet in the box says Automatic means automatic drift, but no mini-turbo. Seems like the term "drift", "power slide" mean the same thing? Mini-turbo is a something you can with Manual, and if you drift long enough?

(update: i just found )

3) Is that the same with Karts and Bikes?

4) When you are getting better and better, is it better just to use Manual?

5) If you try to beat some top records in the world, then using Manual is almost a must?

Thanks for your answer!

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

This is straight from memory so it might not be 100% accurate; I did not try to look it up anywhere.

Let me start by explaining the differences between Automatic and Manual modes, then answer the questions.

Manual mode is similar to driving in previous Mario Kart games. When going around a turn, you can hop and drift to modify the turn. If your drift stays at a sharp enough angle for long enough, the sparks flying out the back of your vehicle will change color. When the color changes, you can release the drift button to get a speed boost.

Automatic mode has none of the hopping or sparks. Instead, it automatically improves your turning by drifting for you a requires button press. It's probably easier for new players, as they don't need to pay attention to another button and the subtleties of maintaining the drift. The downside is you will not build up sparks and will not be able to get the drifting speed boosts.

Now let's answer the questions:

  1. Automatic mode is different, and not really an advantage. It simplifies the driving.
  2. You can't hop in Automatic mode.
  3. Yes, both bikes and karts can be driven in automatic mode at the expense of the drift speed boosts.
  4. If you want to get good at the game, I would recommend learning to use manual. The mini-turbos are invaluable for getting and maintaining good speeds. You can drive in manual without doing the drift speed boosts, but that's not how you play well!
  5. If you want to get great times, you will almost certainly want the drift speed boosts.

Side note 1: In manual mode, karts (unlike bikes) actually get a second, more powerful level of sparks on drift turns if you wait long enough. Bikes instead get a wheelie speed boost, which you normally want to use on straightaways. (I am not certain whether bikes can wheelie in Automatic mode.)

Side note 2: Different Mario Kart games have different drift-boosting techniques. For example, in the Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash you actually wanted to alternate steering Left-Right-Left-Right while drifting to get the boost. In Mario Kart Wii, you simply want to maintain a smooth turn that is as sharp as possible.

Edit: With that link to the PDF, I can get the terminology right for the various types of boosts:

  • Mini-Turbo - Drifting until sparks appear, then releasing. Only works in Manual mode.
  • Super Mini-Turbo - Drifting until orange sparks appear, then releasing. Only works in Manual mode for karts.
  • Wheelie - Popping a wheeling on a straighaway. Only works for bikes.
  • Tricks - Shaking the controller right when flying off a jump to perform a mid-air trick and gain a speed boost on landing.

This is all on page 7 of the PDF you linked.

share|improve this answer
Let me make clear what Mag Roader danced around: Manual Drift is more difficult but it is better. You will never see a top time trial staff ghost using Automatic Drift (= – David Cowden Apr 1 '12 at 17:48
I can confirm that you can wheelie just fine in Automatic mode. – michaelb958 Jun 2 '14 at 23:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.