Like most of my fellow weirdos, I’d guess, my obsession with so-called “supervans” started when I saw the Renault Espace F1 in Gran Turismo 2. Fast-forward 20 years, and my love of boxy speed continues, which is why I’m so stoked about Hyundai Australia’s 400-plus horsepower iMax N Drift Bus — which the company announced on Thursday.
If you’ve never heard of the iMax van, you’re not alone. We don’t get it here in the US, but for some perspective, it’s a reasonably traditional-looking minivan with a seating capacity of eight and dual rear sliding doors. It typically receives its motive power from a 2.5-liter diesel engine and is as practical a family hauler as you’d ever want.
That changed when theat the N division got their hands on it. The first thing they did was to rip that sensible diesel engine out and throw it in the dumpster. They replaced it with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces a rather healthy 402 hp and 409 pound-feet of torque.
That engine’s power is routed through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, out through a driveshaft and to what we’d guess is a locking rear differential — Hyundai’s press material refers to the diff as simply being “corner-carving.” The end result of these modifications is a van that can carry eight people in relative comfort (and likely abject terror) as it drifts its way around a race track.
The visual modifications were kept relatively minimal, with the exterior getting a coat of, a prominent front splitter and a lowered ride height. It looks — in a word — dope.
The drift bus is going to Sydney Motorsports Park, where it will compete in the World Time Attack Challenge, presumably with fewer than seven passengers in it to keep the driver company.