How to tune a car in Forza Horizon 5

"Thanks for reading our tuning tips for Horizon 5"

To say we were a little excited to hear about the latest release of Forza Horizon 5 would be an understatement.

Forza Horizon 4 was my favorite car game, even after a year, it till offered a chance to kick back and play with a massive garage full of exotic and unusual cars it always has something to offer in the way of challenges.

The tuning tweaks and options are interesting, and it's useful to see what mods do to cars in a "synthetic game environment" and sometimes the same things work in the real world.

Thankfully much of the settings and options remain similar to Horizon 5.  The main addition is the off road rating, which takes into account the car's performance on rougher terrain.

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The engine sounds now vary depending on the engine and also the mods applied to it, adding a whole new level to your driving experience.

Here is the official overview of this awesome game.

We would encourage you to play around with settings, ideally you need optimum settings for each track you race on.

For example, a track with lots of straights will benefit from a higher gearing to allow better top speeds, whereas on a twisty track you should be focussing on acceleration.

Performance Classes A X S1 S2 etc...

The power levels are interesting in each category and I've made S1 cars that outperform X class cars in all conditions, so don't assume higher catergories are always faster.

When loading a tune beware of high top speeds, a long final gear will achieve this, brilliant cornering G's - aero set on full will accomplish this, and fast 0-60 times, a short low gear ratio will do this. These extremes usually mean compromises have been made along the way.

Download a tune, try it out on a set of corners, then switch to a different tune, press the rewind button and see if the car handles better. The change tune and rewind option is a great way to compare your tunes and helps you achieve the optimum setup.

Gearing and gear ratios in Horizon 5

There are some interesting anomalies, where moving the slider to top speed will give greater bottom end acceleration, so keep an eye on this.

The slider to bias the final ratio does a reasonable job of allowing you to set this, but we always recommend manually adjusting the ratios of each gear.

I recommend you get the gearing to roughly where you need it to be to exploit the cars power band and then use the final drive ratio to fine tune it.

If you are looking for faster acceleration keep an eye on the sprint times and adjust the low end gear ratios accordingly. You can usually knock a whole second off the 0-60 time if you get this right, giving you an advantage on short twisty tracks.

Every gear change costs you time and power, so minimizing these by putting the gears in line with your power band will greatly improve handling.

If the low gear ratios are set too close you'll get wheelspin, there is an optimum point here and it varies depending on the tires selected and type of terrain you are on.

Switching between presets

The sheer diversity of terrain in Horizon 5 will require different settings to get the best times. Weather conditions still don't seem to play much of a part in how the cars handling is affected but the grip is lower in wet and in snow than it was in previous games.

We would also recommend you use the save tune option to retain an off road and on road tuning setup, to ensure the optimal setting is chosen.

We do find that most drivers choose a good all round setting and stick with that but you can easily save your tunes and switch between them so we recommend you do this.

The one thing I would love to see is the option for Nitrous, a one tank no auto refill option that gives a big boost for short bursts of a race, and it'll add a new dimension to drag racing and track racing.

We also have a video version of this page you can watch whilst playing the game, so you can try our tips out in real time in your game.

Horizon 5 Handling mods - suspension tweaks

Once again we have quite a few settings here to play with so let's look at the main ones.

Camber: altering your camber will greatly help with cornering, an extreme front camber will corner better but the price you pay is in straight line stability with the car easily spinning out.

  • Some high power cars snake all over the road, and to avoid this set the toe in, this will help straight line stability.
  • For a front wheel or four wheel drive I usually find toe out is best and on rear wheel drive cars a little toe in work best.

I prefer to set the front caster angle near the top, it gives good speed, cornering and works well with the other settings, but it does need to be set for the track and car you're using so there is no hard and fast rule.

It is a quick way to alter your cars handling for different tracks and surfaces, especially if you are happy with the spring settings.

If a car doesn't turn into corners well, you can set the front toe to out, this will help with cornering. Suspension should also be a little softer at the front to help improve cornering. Usually, you only need a fractional adjustment to toe to make a major difference.

Tuning for off-road driving (Baja etc...)

Generally speaking, suspension travel should be greater on off road settings with softer spring settings, otherwise, the car will bounce and flip quite easily.

Suspension height also makes a difference, you need height to improve off road performance, that extra suspension travel will help keep the car gripping the surface, and it also helps to have a softer setup to avoid the bouncing that happens otherwise.

Off road cars need lots of clearance and softer suspension, otherwise, they will just bounce around and roll. Some cars will bounce too much and be unstable after a landing, if this is the case just soften up the suspension and stiffen the spring, raising the suspension height a little.

You'll notice that with high and soft suspension a wheel can lift off when cornering, use the rear and front anti roll bars to reign this in.

For tarmac roads, it would seem that lower and harder is better, to maximize your grip and the handling, but with each car you'll need to experiment. The front and rear roll bars can also aid cornering stability and your ability to maintain speed.

Personally, I prefer around 20% for tarmac, to maximize my performance, and this goes up to 85% or more for off-road setups.

Differentials in Horizon 5

The diff or differential plays a bearing on the stability of a car, and especially traction in cornering, for example on a drift car you need the rear at the max so the rear breaks away (you also need manual gearbox for drifting in Horizon 5 or it'll be really hard to close those triple stars).

The 80/20 rule is a good starting point, with diffs set to 80 for the rear and 20 for the fronts, then tweak it from there to get the desired amount of torque steer, oversteer and understeer.

From my testing, the differentials are all the same but come with a different setup for the different types. So all diffs can be adjusted to make a circuit, or drift differential, just by adjusting the sliders. There is no need to buy a new differential when you can alter the settings on your old one.

For circuits and track work around a front diff setting of around 20% and around 80% works best on most car setups. I also prefer to send around 70% of the power to the rear wheels, this gives a desirable amount of oversteer.

On some muscle cars, this works better at 80% to the rear, and really helps improve the cornering, on other cars a 50/50 setting allows the car to pull well in the corners.

Play with the acceleration and deceleration settings and see what effect this has on the cars cornering, in most cases a little oversteer is preferable and allows a tighter turn, but that might not suit your driving style.

Tire settings and choices

Tire pressures have a bearing on grip and handling, and therefore speed grip and acceleration, this seems different to the previous games so play with the settings and find what works best.

Increase these to get the power down but you'll lose a little stability and cornering. Alternatively, drop them for off road vehicles if they are bouncing around too much and the handling mods are not quite cutting it.

In Horizon 5 the tire compound and type has a big bearing on the cars handling and performance, and it's not that obvious, you need to experiment and try out different settings.

Tires are also different from Horizon 4, with the addition of drift tires, semi-slick racing tires and slick racing tires. The semi slicks seem to be the optimum choice, especially if you are working to fit in a performance level, they are also reasonably good off road when compared to the slick and most of the time I am off road in Mexico.

Drag tires are great for straight line grip, so ideal if you want to maximize drag times. It also makes a good choice on jumps, where there is a straight tarmac run up, and will gain you a few extra meters distance, thanks to the higher speed you will carry into the jump.

Drift tires, give quite a bit of control and stability with the car going sideways, but are not well suited to circuit style racing.

Horizon 5 engine tuning

The most power does not always come from the largest engine, so look carefully at the power band and make sure the peak is where you usually sit on a race.

Interestingly smaller lightweight high revving turbos work really well on most cars - the rally option works nicely and if you have a class limit it can put you in the lower class with better acceleration.

If there is a rally engine option and you can add a larger turbo, and camshaft you are on the way to creating a quick car (quick on circuits, not necessarily for straight-line speed).

Add most items available if you want the max power but if you are tuning to a power class limit then the best gains usually come from camshafts and weight reduction. Brakes can help with cornering on tight tracks but usually, it's best to focus your efforts elsewhere to boost your speed.

The listed top speed is not all that accurate (but much more so than in previous games) but is a guide to show how your mods will affect the car. Small tweaks can gain a few extra MPH here and there. Generally you need a very long road to hit the suggested top speed for each tune.

Some cars far exceed the stated speeds and some are shown as FAILED when they actually work really well, but a failed would indicate you could make some fine tune adjustments to the toe and camber settings.

Horizon 5 handling improvements

Weight reduction is one of the best mods, it improves handling, acceleration, and braking and can help you cut precious seconds off your time.

Don't overlook the brakes though. Being able to slam on the anchors to slow up the car before the corner means you can carry more speed through the corner, than if you just scrape the barrier (you know who you are!)

Adjusting the height of the front and rear will also have a bearing on acceleration and speed, so set the front higher than the rear in most cases to get the best acceleration. FWD cars need a lower front setting than the rear, but I'm still playing with this option and will report back when I've conclusively cracked it.

I have found that oftentimes, just investing in a four-wheel drive setup, instead of adding lots of power is enough to give your car the edge in most events. It is generally the cornering and acceleration that determines the fastest car on the track.

Dropping the rear suspension and raising the front will often give you a little more speed (Not like in the real world at all). Gearing Having a high top speed is not great if there isn't a road long enough that lets you get to it, so acceleration is important.

Gearbox tuning and setup in Forza Horizon 5

The most important thing is to get your gear change points right, you don't want to be changing gear constantly as it will cost you some time, and you don't want a long gear that takes ages to get your speed up.

Use the acceleration/speed slider to get a feel for the spread on offer and then tweak the ratios to get the power where you need it. Sometimes moving the slider towards acceleration will give you a higher top speed, so it's not all that intuitive.

There are also more gears on offer but bear in mind that 10-speed boxes add extra weight to the car. The extra gears can be useful to get higher top speeds on cars with a wide powerband and big top end, but they won't do much for acceleration.

I've found that in some cases the 5 speed boxes can work really well on shorter twisty tracks on some cars, the longer ratios mean less gear changes. Keep an eye on the gears in each race, and if you don't end up using the top end, it might be worth thinking about dropping the number of gears.

Low gears can be quite long as you typically won't use these much and will want to build up speed as quickly as possible.

In Horizon 4 you could win at most seasonal races If you fitted four wheel drive and it gave a big advantage.

In Horizon 5 this is still the case, especially on dirt tracks but the competitor's cars seem to have a more challenging setup limiting your advantage.

Adding heavier wheels or some body parts can reduce your power class and help you slip into a lower class, so if acceleration and top speed is important you can adjust your options to maximize what you need in each class.

This will help drop you back into the power class limits for the race. Take note of your max speed in each race and set the gearing to around this level, you won't gain anything by pushing it up, and might improve acceleration by dialing it back.

Don't be afraid to switch cars, some need cars that have sharp cornering, and others require high top speeds and great brakes. Use the quit event to change cars and tune and try again.

Fastest car in Forza Horizon 5

The old Ferrari FXX Evo performance and handling is very different in Horizon 5, a positive disappointment to many with a top speed of around 175mph and very poor handling, even with tweaks we couldn't get anywhere near the performance it had in Horizon 4.

So which cars are the fastest in Horizon 5? There will no doubt be some interesting new cars added over the coming weeks and months, and if it was up to me I would gradually release faster and faster cars, to maintain peak interest in the game.

For now, the best handling supercar we have found is the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

When it comes to straight line top speed then the Koenigsegg Jesko which with the right tuning setup can hold 303mph+! Sadly the handling is not great, but with a few tweaks can become a capable track weapon, it seems to be the ideal car for those jumps which have a long run up.

The Mercedes AMG SLK Forza Edition, is a wonderful car for cornering, and grips really well.

If you are looking for the ultimate track car then choose the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento (Forza Edition)

The Hoonigan RS200 is still a fantastic car and a great all-rounder, and it doesn't depend on the tuning setup, it's also a brilliant car for racking up XP & Forzathon points.

It's worth noting the Forza Edition models have access to special parts, that far exceed the non Forza Edition variants, so keep an eye out for these editions to unlock those special upgrade paths and options.

V12 racing engine should be chosen, then use the valve part option in the tuning menu to purchase the racing pack, and this will see a speed rating of 9.

Further gains can be had by swapping to a dedicated racing engine block, taking the speed rating to 9.2!

By tweaking the gearing ratios you should be able to hit some impressive top speeds, but still have phenomenal handling characteristics.

We will update this article as we discover new options and potential cars. Please use the comments box below to pass on your tips, and discoveries.

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