HAVE you ever wondered what would happen if you jammed a 300kW twin turbo V6 into a Hyundai iMax eight seat people mover? Of course you have. Well wonder no more. Because Hyundai Australia have done it.

The local arm of the Korean car maker have today announced a special one-off custom creation, the iMax N Drift Bus, inspired by the mischievous spirit of N and guaranteed to put a smile on any driver’s face.

Powerful, turbocharged engine? Check. Corner carving differential? Check. N Performance Blue paintwork? Check. Seating for eight drift-fiends? Of course.

Created by an underground skunkworks team at Hyundai Australia, the iMax N makes its global competition debut this weekend at the 2019 World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motor Sport Park.

Unlike previous one-off fast vans – such as the Ford Transit Supervan and Renault Espace F1 – the iMax N Drift Bus maintains its eight-seater layout in the interest of maximising the fun factor for you and up to seven of your friends.

The inspiration for Drift Bus came from Hyundai Germany, who posted an iMax N image as an April Fool’s prank earlier in the year.

In a social media poll asking Australian N fans which Hyundai model should get the N treatment next, the iMax people mover finished in second place, after the Tucson SUV. The Tucson would have been too easy.

The N philosophy of BPM not RPM – putting driving thrills and excitement ahead of ultimate performance – drove the Australian skunkworks team to create the ‘iMax N’ and build it to the highest possible technical standards.

A standard iMax was sent to N boot camp where it bulked up with more muscle. The regular 2.5-litre CRDi engine was instantly discarded and replaced by a monster 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, pumping out over 300kW of power and 555Nm of torque.

That’s more than enough to turn rubber into smoke, even on a bus. Breathing through a bi-modal exhaust ensures the ‘iMax N’ sounds as good as it looks.

The potent engine is paired to a Hyundai-developed eight-speed automatic gearbox that connects to a corner carving differential, helping to transfer the grunt to the rear wheels.

The suspension features electronically-controlled dampers, while the brakes have also been given an N performance upgrade. The 19-inch alloy wheels, borrowed from the i30 N, are wrapped in performance rubber.

But don’t get too attached to them because the ‘Drift Bus’ has an appetite for tyres. Optimising cornering performance and handling, the iMax N 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.

‘Drift Bus’ offers more practically than any sports sedan or performance SUV, with an 842 litre boot perfect for carrying spare tyres. You can also carry an entire pit crew if required*.

The iMax N is not a production model, nor is it road legal, so any grin-inducing fun will be limited to the racetrack. The real purpose of the project is to demonstrate Hyundai Australia’s passion for N-gaging and exhilarating vehicles for drivers…

And as many passengers as possible.

To show off its performance, iMax N ‘Drift Bus’ will compete in three different disciplines at this weekend’s World Time Attack Challenge (to be held today (18 October) and tomorrow at Sydney Motor Sport Park.

It will compete in the the Clubsprint Class: for outright lap times and corner carving ability; Flying 500: for neck-snapping acceleration and drive-train performance; and the Drifting Cup: for ultimate handling and tyre-burning proficiency.

* Please note: Pit crew not included as standard equipment with this vehicle.

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