It has been requested that this article be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: include information on Mario Kart Arcade GP DX Drift Boosts stats.
A Mini-Turbo in action as seen in Mario Kart Wii. In most games, the charging of a Mini-Turbo is indicated by blue sparks igniting from the rear wheels.
A Mini-Turbo, also known as a Turbo Slide, a Boost Slide, Slide Boosting, or simply a Boost, is a technique used in the Mario Kart series. It consists of a short speed boost following a successful drift. It appears in every game in the series since Super Mario Kart. Especially in the games in which a Mini-Turbo is manually charged, several consecutive Mini-Turbo boosts can be immediately charged, one after the other, in order to maintain a higher speed; said technique is known as snaking due to the need to alternate the directions of the drifts on straightaways, creating peculiar waving lines.
What is commonly known as boost counter is a value which is meant to start at 0 when a drift begins and gradually increase while drifting, at a rate that can vary depending on certain conditions. When a certain threshold value is reached, an event happens, which might either be a cosmetic event (sparks appearing indicating that the full charge of a degree of Mini-Turbo is near) or the charge of a certain degree of Mini-Turbo (either Mini-Turbo, Super Mini-Turbo or Ultra Mini-Turbo). Once drifting ends, the counter resets and the degree of Mini-Turbo charged is released.
This method of Mini-Turbo charging relies on the player steering toward the outside of the turn, then toward the inside and then toward the outside again during a drift to charge a Mini-Turbo. After the first time the player correctly steers toward the outside of the turn, there are visual indicators coming from the driving wheels that the Mini-Turbo has been half charged, either a different colors of the letters or sparks coming out of the tires. When the Mini-Turbo is fully charged, said indicators change color again. After charging it, the Mini-Turbo is released by releasing the drift button.
The Mini-Turbo boost is introduced in Super Mario Kart (where it is a technique documented only in the official guides and improperly commonly known as Boost), using the boost counter as charging method. Said counter is increased every time a combination of three buttons are pressed: , or , or . The counter is reset to 0 and the Mini-Turbo is released when this combination of buttons is no longer pressed.
According to the Nintendo Official Guidebook of Super Mario Kart, the Mini-Turbo leads to a speed increase of 2-3 km/h, where the maximum speed in normal roads ranges from 120 km/h to 135 km/h.
There is no animation associated to the charging of the Mini-Turbo, but during the release the kart animation stops and the engine revs up.
In addition, the boost is somewhat able to skip off-road surfaces, similar to the Mushroom.
In Mario Kart 64, Mini-Turbos are now officially documented in the manual, and their charging method is changed to manual charging. Said charging is denoted by a change in the color of the smoke trails (which resemble the letters V and E) that come out from the rear tires, from white to yellow to indicate a half charge and from yellow to orange to indicate a full charge. The release has no animation associated and is denoted by drivers shouting. According to the speedometer, a Mini-Turbo gradually increases the player's top speed for a few seconds.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! reintroduces the manual charging of Mini-Turbo boosts, with the difference that in this game steering toward the inside of the turn is not needed. The charging is indicated by a change in the color of the sparks coming from the wheels of the kart from yellow to orange to indicate a half charge, and then blue to indicate a full charge.
There is a small animation associated with the release, with flames from the exhaust pipes and small yellow sparks coming from the rear wheels, along with a sound effect and call by the driver who is behind. In co-op, the player who is driving must press the or button to drift while the back player must tilt the Control Stick to left and right; however, in single-player or non-co-op VS modes, each player controls both parts. In this game, a Mini-Turbo in-game stat is introduced, that indicates how many frames the Mini-Turbo boost lasts. As an example, all large karts, such as the Koopa King, have a Mini-Turbo boost that lasts 10 frames, while the small karts and the Parade Kart have a Mini-Turbo boost that lasts 30 frames.
Well-timed Mini-Turbo boosts can be used to avoid Spiny Shells when they are about to hit the players.
In Mario Kart DS Mini-Turbos are again manually charged, although unlike in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the steering toward the inside of the turn is mandatory again. The charging animation is similar, but with sparks' color reversed from blue, then orange. There is no evident animation following the release, but a small sound is associated with it along with a revving up of the engine (a similar sound as if driving through a Dash Panel or using a Mushroom), along with a wind lines on the screen akin to Slipstreaming. Like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, there is a hidden Mini-Turbo stat that determines how long a boost lasts. Karts with higher handling and lower weight tend to have a stronger Mini-Turbo boost, with Dry Bomber being the strongest and the Tyrant being the weakest.
Well-timed Mini-Turbo boosts, possibly accompanied by hopping, can be again used to avoid Spiny Shells.
Mario Kart Wii reintroduces the boost counter, this time charged exclusively when drifting. The charge rate is affected by how much the player is steering toward the inside of the turn while drifting: if the lateral component of the directional input is more than halfway toward the inside of the turn, the charging rate becomes 2.5 times the charging rate obtained in all the other cases.
The imminent charge of a Mini-Turbo or Super Mini-Turbo boosts is denoted by respectively blue and orange sparks coming out of the vehicle. More vibrant sparks coming out of the driving wheels of the vehicle indicate the Mini-Turbo or Super Mini-Turbo is ready and its release is denoted by flames coming from the exhaust pipes along with a nitrous-like noise and racers shouting.
Furthermore a special Mini-Turbo can be charged while standing still by using the same button combination used for a Spin Turn, but without the need of turning the vehicle. It is fully charged in 75 frames and blue sparks indicating its imminent charge are missing. Karts in this case only charge a regular Mini-Turbo and not a Super Mini-Turbo. This kind of Mini-Turbo is released immediately when the jump/brake button is no longer pressed.
In Mario Kart 7, the mechanics remain unchanged from the previous installment, though standstill Mini-Turbo is no longer possible. If racing in First-Person View, the sparks appear from the front wheels instead of rear wheels. The duration of both Mini-Turbo and Super Mini-Turbo boosts is now defined in a dedicated table and directly depends on the hidden MiniTurbo statistics. The characters don't shout from either Mini-Turbo level.
Mario boosting after performing a stage-1 Mini-Turbo
The Mini-Turbo appears in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, marking its first appearance in an arcade game. The Mini-Turbo is executed by holding down both pedals while performing a hard turn. It can be charged up in a similar fashion to its other appearances in the Mario Kart series, except there are three stages instead of two (which would later be used in Mario Kart 8) and a meter appears to indicate how long it needs to be held before it reaches the next stage. The first stage creates blue sparks, the second creates orange, and the third creates rainbow sparks, which are exclusive to this game. Releasing the pedals and straightening the steering wheel activates the Mini-Turbo, although the boost has a slightly different impact than other games.
In Mario Kart 8, the boost counter is again used as charging method, reusing the charging rate and thresholds of Mario Kart Wii, with the only exception of blue sparks signaling the incoming charge of a Mini-Turbo boost that now appear when said boost is half charged. Furthermore, the orange sparks indicating the incoming charge of a Super Mini-Turbo boost are missing and the characters shout only from the Super Mini-Turbo. Importantly, unlike in Mario Kart Wii, in Mario Kart 8bikes can perform a Super Mini-Turbo and the charge continues when the vehicle is detached from the ground, provided that the drift button is held. When a Super Mini-Turbo is charged in anti-gravity mode, the vehicle parts that normally glow blue will change color to orange, then return to blue when the Mini-Turbo is released.
The boost counter can be also increased when autodrifting, although in this case the rate is 2.5 times slower than the charging rate while drifting and the boost is immediately released as soon as the autodrift ends.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe introduces a third level of Mini-Turbo known as Ultra Mini-Turbo, that is indicated by purple (pink in the British English version) sparks and a purple glow in anti-gravity mode, and grants a boost that is even longer than the one of the Super Mini-Turbo. This kind of Mini-Turbo can only be performed if Smart Steering is disabled. Ultra Mini-Turbo also has a slightly different sound effect that indicates its charge.
According to an official Mini-Turbo tutorial video released by Nintendo for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, regular Mini-Turbo lasts for 0.621 seconds, Super Mini-Turbo lasts for 1.674 seconds and the Ultra Mini-Turbo lasts for 2.633 seconds. 
Mario Kart Tour reuses the Mini-Turbo mechanics of Mario Kart 7, with the impossibility of increasing the boost counter in mid-air, but features many additions from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, in particular the Ultra Mini-Turbos, that cannot be charged when autodrifting, and the internal statistics affecting the duration, strength and boost counter thresholds of the various Mini-Turbo stages, with the time coded in seconds instead of frames. In the Penguin Tour, players can obtain event tokens by performing Mini-Turbos.
The following karts increase boost time and points from Mini-Turbos.
Mini-Turbo Plus Increases Mini-Turbo boost time and points earned for performing one.
New Boost Techniques (NBT)/Zig Zag Mini-Turbos (ZZMT)
The New Boost Techniques (NBT) are special exploits executed in Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, among them in the latter game the Zig Zag Mini-Turbos (ZZMT) are the most popular. They stem from the observation that drifting is not actually required to charge the boost counter, and it is also possible to delay the release of the Mini-Turbo boosts.
A-tech is one of the main exploits of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. It consists in releasing the button as soon as the Mini-Turbo boost begins in order to prevent the vehicle from sliding slightly when starting the following drift.
An exploit found only in Mario Kart 8, firehopping is done by repeatedly hopping in alternating directions after getting a boost of any kind (usually after a Super Mini-Turbo, a Mushroom boost or on Dash Panels), except for Slipstreams, to increase speed during said boost. This exploit requires precise timing to hop after releasing the boost and does not work when riding sport bikes or on downhills. Sliding, more commonly known as "Demon" sliding after Demon, a professional player in the Mario Kart 8 competitive community, involves consecutive drifts that are immediately interrupted as soon as they are started. The purpose of sliding is to slow down the return to normal speed after a boost. Firesliding serves the same purpose as firehopping, but is performed on downhill segments where fire hopping would slow down the player, and is somewhat similar to sliding. Firehopping, sliding and firesliding are only possible in the original Wii U version, and do not work in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Electronic manual: "After drifting for a bit, blue sparks will shoot from your tires. Release when you see these sparks to perform a Mini-Turbo, which gives you a short speed boost."
Electronic manual (Super Mini-Turbo): "If you continue to drift after the blue sparks appear, they will turn orange. Release at this point to execute a Super Mini-Turbo, which gives you a bigger speed boost than a Mini-Turbo."
Tips & Tricks: "You can boost with a Mini-Turbo by holding a drift until blue sparks appear, and then lifting your finger off the screen."
Tips & Tricks (Super Mini-Turbo): "If you hold a drift for long enough, the blue sparks will turn into orange sparks. If you lift your finger off the screen when this happens, you'll boost for longer than a regular Mini-Turbo."
Tips & Tricks (Ultra Mini-Turbo): "If you hold a drift for long enough, blue sparks will turn into orange, and then the orange sparks will turn into pink sparks. If you lift your finger off the screen when this happens, you'll boost for longer than a Super Mini-Turbo. This high-level technique is only possible when drifting manually."
- Indicates exclusivity to Mario Kart 8 * - Indicates downloadable content in Mario Kart 8 - Indicates exclusivity to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe † - Indicates content available in version 1.6.0 and later of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ‡ - Indicates content available in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass