The N sub-brand has done a lot to shake up people’s perceptions of the Hyundai marque recently. While we’re well used to the fact that Hyundais these days are reliable, well-made and decent value-for-money (rather than being rattly gloom-boxes with zero cred, like they used to be), it took us all by surprise when they released the i30 N and it turned out to be one of the best hot hatches of the modern era.
In no time at all it became the norm to see these baby-blue N-badged tearaways at shows and track days, and this almighty shift in consumer perceptions appears to have gone to Hyundai management’s heads, because they’ve built… a drift bus.
We should probably point out that this is the product of a Hyundai skunkworks in Australia rather than being a mainstream model. Sadly you won’t be able to stroll into your local UK dealer and pick up a boxfresh iMax N, because this isn’t going into production. Which is a great shame, because when you look over the specs it’s completely frickin’ awesome!
The stock diesel motor has been junked in favour of a brawny 3.5-litre V6, serving up 402bhp and 409lb.ft and throwing it all through the rear wheels via a clever track-biased diff. A bi-modal exhaust system makes all sorts of ludicrous noises, and it’s got all the touchpoints of a proper N machine: the 19-inch wheels from the i30 N, meaty N-spec brakes, clever electronically-adjusted dampers, a functional aerodynamic bodykit, and of course that baby blue paint.
But the best part of all is that they haven’t stripped it out and installed a rollcage or anything – no, it’s still a proper eight-seater. The front seats and steering wheel also came from the i30 N, with the second- and third-row benches trimmed to match, and the team reckon that the drift bus has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution if all the seats are occupied (depending on all your mates’ respective enthusiasm for pie, obviously).
So it’s a great way to scare loads of people at once. Maybe if we all ask really, really, really nicely, they might build another one and send it over here…?
Words Dan Bevis