Nissan Juke-R review

  • Nissan Juke-R concept driven
  • Uses GT-R supercar’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine
  • No plans to put it into production
The Nissan Juke-R is a concept car built to showcase Nissan’s technical expertise.

It’s a rally-inspired version of the Nissan's Juke compact crossover, boasting an outrageous bodykit and enough power to lay waste to all but the most exotic supercars.

If you think that sounds like a recipe for disaster then think again, because most of this manic Juke’s underpinnings and go-faster bits have been liberated from the Nissan GT-R supercar parts bin.

These include the 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine, the super-sophisticated four-wheel-drive system and the enormous frying pan-sized brakes.

That Mad Max bodykit isn’t just for show, either. The enormous swollen wheelarches contain comically wide wheels, while the bulbous front bumper was an essential addition to encase the GT-R’s giant oil- and coolant radiators.

What’s the Nissan Juke-R like to drive?
Pretty manic. Select first gear, stand on the throttle, and the car bolts off the mark hard and fast, using all four wheels and myriad electronic brain cells to keep wheelspin in check.

Although the engine is detuned from the GT-R’s 530bhp to a more manageable 485bhp, Nissan claims the Juke-R is still capable of covering the 0-60mph sprint in just 3.7 seconds – that’s the same time as a Ferrari 458 Italia.

Given the rate at which the scenery was disappearing on our brief encounter with the car, we have little reason to question that claim.

From 60mph it’s simply a case of hanging on tight and successively flicking the right-hand paddle shifter to select another ratio from the twin-clutch gearbox as the Juke rips up the road in spectacular fashion.

Fly into a bend a little too hot and the front wheels initially run wide, but give the right pedal a squeeze of encouragement and the computers shuffle the drive between all four wheels, quickly getting the nose of the car heading in the right direction again.

We were limited to a few fast laps on Nissan’s proving track, so it’s difficult to say how well the Juke-R would cope with lumps and bumps.

That said, there was little evidence of the spine-crushing judder normally associated with race-focused cars, and enough bonnet rise and fall under hard acceleration and braking to suggest a reasonable amount of give in the springs and dampers.

What’s the Nissan Juke-R like inside?
Once you’ve clambered past the race-specification roll cage, slotted your hips into the race seat and bolted your frame into the four-point harness, the most obvious change from a standard Juke is how much lower and farther back you sit.

This is because the GT-R’s engine is so big it has been necessary to cut and shut the Juke’s firewall, moving it back 100mm from its original position. This has also resulted in the rear seats ending up in the trash.

The dash is a mix of sensible Juke and race car GT-R, with basic instrumentation fronted by the GT-R’s paddle-shift steering wheel and a row of toggle switches to select the differential locks and the level of stability control intervention.

Should I buy one?
Sadly, you can’t. No doubt Nissan has already received bids from those with more money than sense for the two existing cars, but as things stand there are no plans to put the Juke-R into full production.

Pete Tullin

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