Hyundai’s line of N performance vehicles such as the i30 N and Veloster N are all well and good, but their latest creation is a lot more special. This is the iMax N “Drift Bus,” and as you can see, it’s a Grand Starex (also known as the iMax in Australia) that has undergone quite a number of modifications to become a bit of a monster.
Unfortunately, you can’t actually buy the iMax N due to it being a one-off concept, which started out as an April Fool’s joke earlier this year but ended up being turned into a reality courtesy of Hyundai Australia.
The company started out by throwing out the standard 2.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which made just 168 hp and 441 Nm of torque. In its place is a 3.5 litre twin-turbo petrol V6 with 402 hp and 555 Nm, with drive being sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a welded differential.
According to Drive, the size of the engine meant the firewall had to be opened up to make room, while bespoke mounts and a new tailshaft were required to ensure the driveline fits. The MPV’s air-conditioning system had to be discarded too, which is why the sunroof is open in the video so everyone inside can breathe properly.
Content with the powertrain, the team then went on to modify other aspects of the large van by adding on 348 mm discs brakes and four-piston calipers at the front (the rear drum brakes are untouched), adapting the i30 N’s wheels to a six-stud pattern, fitting a custom splitter from an aftermarket part for a Nissan GT-R, moulding an i30 N’s rear bumper to size, slapping on N badges and painting it N Performance Blue.
Inside, Hyundai fitted the front seats, shift paddles and a steering wheel from the i30 N, while re-upholstering the remaining back two rows of seats – complete with stitching and logos. Yes, this isn’t a stripped-out iMax, and you’ll be able to bring seven of your friends along for a ride.
The end result is certainly entertaining, as you get to see a practical, eight-seat MPV that weighs more than two tonnes go sideways for most of the time on the Pheasant Wood race track in Marulan. The iMax N will make its public debut at this weekend’s World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park.
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