400bhp Hyundai iMax N revealed as eight-seater drift monster

Hyundai takes its rear-wheel drive people carrier to the Nth degree, but with a catch

We’ve been waiting to see what Hyundai N division’s next project would be after the rather excellent i30 N (US-only Veloster N notwithstanding), but even we didn’t see this coming. The Hyundai iMax, known as the i800 in the UK, is an eight-seater people carrier based on the iLoad commercial vehicle, and while its performance variant potential might seem thin, Hyundai Australia didn’t seem to mind, revealing the mildly insane iMax N anyway.

Unfortunately this is a one-off model, but it didn’t limit Hyundai’s ambition of making this a rather serious performance machine. Starting under the bonnet, the standard four-cylinder diesel usually found under there has been swapped for a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine, producing 394bhp and 406lb ft of torque.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Like many commercial vehicles of the size, the iMax N is actually rear-wheel drive, and so has been fitted with a welded rear differential for maximum drifting potential. But it’s not just the power and drivetrains that have been fiddled with, as Hyundai has also fitted an uprated adaptive suspension system, as well as beefed-up front brakes and the bi-modal exhaust system from the i30 N. Even the wheel hubs have been changed over from the standard six-lug units to a five-lug set-up in order to fit the 19-inch wheels and tyre package of the i30 N hot hatch.

Outside, the iMax N has been painted in the iconic Performance Blue colour scheme, with pops of red on the splitter, and even the i30 Fastback N’s lower rear bumper treatment, complete with the triangular fog lamp.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The interior has also been given the N treatment, with familiar sports seats up front and two bespoke three-seat benches behind for a maximum eight-person capacity. These rows have even been upholstered in the same suede-effect fabric and leather trim, with identical blue stitching and embossed N logos. The i30 N’s steering wheel is fitted with paddles for the automatic transmission which is standard, as are the neat active dials.

Hyundai says that the iMax N, which with eight-up features a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, will be entered in a selection of time and drift trial events in Australia. Unfortunately, it’s not road legal, but perhaps does a much closer impression of a genuine performance van variant than Renault’s iconic Espace F1 of the 1990s. Even though this might not be the N variant we’ve been waiting for, it shows plenty of promise for Hyundai N’s burgeoning future.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/hyundai/202592/hyundai-veloster-n-previews-next-i30-ns-new-dual-clutch-gearbox
Hyundai

Hyundai Veloster N previews next i30 N’s new dual-clutch gearbox

7 May 2020
Visit/hyundai/202071/renaissance-man-albert-biermann-and-how-he-transformed-hyundai
Hyundai

Renaissance man - Albert Biermann and how he transformed Hyundai

31 Dec 2019
Visit/hyundai/201990/hyundai-rm19-prototype-review
Hyundai

Hyundai RM19 prototype review

26 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/201977/hyundai-rm19-points-to-future-n-brand-performance-flagship
Hyundai

Hyundai RM19 points to future N brand performance flagship

21 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/features/17660/the-best-four-cylinder-engines-ever-we-pick-our-favourites
Features

The best four-cylinder engines ever

We've gathered a selection of our very favourite four-pots ever produced
27 May 2020
Visit/bmw/4-series/201608/2020-bmw-4-series-revealed-new-coupe-range-topped-by-369bhp-m440i
BMW 4 Series

2020 BMW 4-series revealed – new coupe range topped by 369bhp M440i

The new 4-series Coupe is bigger, faster and sportier, but that’s not what people are talking about
2 Jun 2020
Visit/chevrolet/202690/c8-chevrolet-corvette-uk-prices-and-specifications-revealedchevrolets-new-mid
Chevrolet

C8 Chevrolet Corvette UK prices and specifications revealed

Chevrolet’s new mid-engined C8 Corvette is an American supercar for less
3 Jun 2020
Visit/used-cars/20402/cheap-fast-cars-2020-the-best-budget-performance-cars-on-the-market
used cars

Cheap fast cars 2020 – the best budget performance cars on the market

The cheap fast car is a wonderful thing, if you buy right and do your research. These are our favourites from £1000 to £10,000
4 Jun 2020