Name Appeal: Hyundai IMax N 'Drift Bus'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
name appeal hyundai imax n 8216 drift bus

Hyundai Australia has tossed together a one-off model for the soul purpose of promoting its performance division, calling the creation the iMax N “Drift Bus.”

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Isn’t this basically the same concept as the Ford Supervan?” And you’d be right. But every sunset is essentially the same as the one that came before, and you don’t hear anybody complaining when they finally take time out to enjoy one.

It should be mentioned that your author has a strong affinity for both sleepers and vans — parking the iMax N right up his alley. Fear not, however, as everything possible is being done to ensure this doesn’t turn into a disgusting carousel of praise for a vehicle Hyundai doesn’t even plan on manufacturing and would never sell. But we should get started, because I cannot wait to tell you all about how much I love this square slice of automotive divinity.

The iMax N Drift Bus is based on the Hyundai van line sold all over the planet (except here) using different names. In Australia, it’s called the iMax and comes with a 2.5 liter CRDi engine. Clearly, that mill wasn’t going to be adequate for Drift Bus. The skunkworks team that Frankensteined this monster together replaced the stock powerplant for a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 with over 402 hp and 409 ft-lb of torque. Power is sent through an eight-speed auto directly to the rear wheels via a welded differential. While the weight of the van (about 4,800 pounds) required the front brakes to be uprated to four-piston calipers with larger (348 mm) discs, the rear drums remain stock.

Despite boasting some serious specs, the whole project seems to be a joke that spun wildly out of control. Hyundai Germany released “teaser images” of the N van on April Fools’ Day and the Aussie team just sort of ran with it. But the iMax N is not to be taken seriously just because it’s now real.

From Hyundai Australia:

Optimising cornering performance and handling, the iMax N ‘Drift Bus’ achieves perfect 50-50 weight distribution with eight people on-board, maximising the grin factor.

Inside, the iMax N looks the part, with an N steering wheel and N sports front seats, with the rear two bench seat rows also trimmed in matching suede and leather. If you’re going to go drifting with seven friends, you need to be perfectly comfortable and do it in style.

Ah yes, one of those performance vehicles that requires your extended family to climb aboard to achieve perfect weight distribution and suede seats for when they inevitably become sick after a few laps of the track. This thing is as serious as a heart attack.

Most of the van’s hardware was borrowed from the i30 N (steering wheel, tires, seats, etc) with Hyundai engineers having to perform some light fabrication for the vehicle’s aerodynamics. There’s even a couple of aftermarket GT-R parts on Drift Bus. But it all comes together uniformly. Even though it’s a semi-satirical love letter to Hyundai’s N division, care was obviously taken. Were it a little less insane, the iMax N could almost be a plausible production vehicle.

Wishful thinking, to be sure. For now, we’re just happy to see Hyundai’s N having a good time and the company being a creative. The iMax N will make its public debut at this weekend’s World Time Attack Challenge at the Sydney Motorsport Park — likely blowing tire smoke into the crowd.

[Images: Hyundai]

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Garrett Garrett on Oct 20, 2019

    This needs to come to the US.

  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Oct 20, 2019

    Twenty-five years ago Matra-Renault built the Espace F1 Concept, which suggests that mankind has been sprinting in the wrong direction since.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?