The iMax N Drift Bus is the type of family car we need in the US.
Hyundai's N performance models have quickly gained a reputation as fun, affordable cars for driving enthusiasts. The Veloster N is the only N model we've received in the US so far but the company does sell the i30 N in other markets and is currently working on expanding its portfolio. Hyundai hasn't left any hints of when we can expect the next N model to arrive but Hyundai of Australia just showed us a glimpse of how quirky the N division can be.
Introducing the iMax N Drift Bus, a one-off creation built by an underground skunkworks team at Hyundai Australia. Guaranteed not to enter production, the iMax N will make its official debut this weekend at the 2019 World Time Attack Challenge at the Sydney Motor Sport Park.
Unlike other one-off van projects like the Ford Transit Supervan and Renault Espace F1, Hyundai says the iMax N retains its eight-seat layout so you can go drifting with up to seven of your friends. Hyundai Australia says the idea came from their colleagues at Hyundai Germany, who posted a rendering of an iMax N earlier this year as an April Fool's prank.
To build the iMax N, Hyundai threw away the standard 2.5-litre CRDi engine and replaced it with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6, capable of shredding the rear tires with 402 horsepower and 409 lb-ft of torque going out through an eight-speed automatic. The build is based on a Hyundai minivan called the Grand Starex, which is also known as the i800 or H-1 in other markets. Hyundai hasn't offered a minivan in the US since the Entourage went out of production after 2008.
Hyundai points out that the iMax N has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, providing there are eight people on-board. It can also carry nearly 30 cubic feet in the trunk with room for an entire pit crew for when you burn through a set of rear tires. The van was purpose-built for drifting but Hyundai says it can still hit 62 mph in less than five seconds. Hyundai says the iMax N is not a production model, nor is it road legal, but it is still a fun exercise in what the N division can do.