By on October 18, 2019

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]

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