There's something about the boffins over at Nissan – particularly those working at its racing headquarters in the UK. We're not quite sure what it is. Oh, right: they're bonkers. Absolutely off their rockers, in the best way possible. How else would you explain the decision to take an entry-level crossover and swap out its powertrain for that of a supercar?
Now that Nissan UK is finished with the dog-and-pony promotional show for the Nissan Juke-R, it's free to do what we've all been waiting for: hand it over to The Fourth Estate for proper testing. AutoExpress was the first in line, and they didn't waste the chance, pitting Faust's CUV against the car that made it possible, the Nissan GT-R, around the Bedford Autodrome circuit.
When is a Nissan Juke not a Nissan Juke? When it's the 480-horsepower, Godzilla-powered Juke-R, that's when. Then it's a supercar-beater. And to prove the point, Nissan UK took its one-off super-crossover down to Dubai for a little street racing action.
The Nissan Juke R is a gaggle of impressive numbers: 1,540 hours and 22 weeks of development time, 11 videos of its development, several upset bosses, 480 GT-R-derived horsepower and 428 pound-feet – and to that group we can add a 3.7-second 0-to-60 time and a top speed of 160 miles per hour. Yes, 3.7 seconds may be a second slower than the GT-R, but it's only two-tenths of a second slower than the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
The Nissan Juke R might be one of the company's most impressive engineering efforts in recent memory, but the skunkworks team behind it has apparently ruffled more than a few feathers with Nissan execs in Japan.
The end of the Nissan Juke-R build has come and gone. The vehicle is done. Only a lucky few were there when the 485-horsepower twin-turbo V6 borrowed from a Nissan GT-R cleared its throat for the first time. The thrills and high-fives, that wave of adrenaline that buoys dog-tired men, and the long minutes of standing around and grinning at your project as it burbles away is a private moment that only the builders can fully appreciate.
Sure, the idea behind the Nissan Juke-R project was to squeeze a GT-R powertrain into a Juke bodyshell. But you didn't think they'd just leave the exterior styling alone to look like a stock example of the little five-door, did you? Of course not.
The unveiling of the Nissan Juke-R prototype has been as slow and painstaking as the car's actual build. First we received initial details, a rendering and video of the project under way. Over the course of the following few weeks, Nissan continued keeping us on our toes with a series of videos showing the project coming together. Now that the vehicle has finally reached completion, the Japanese automaker has released a solitary image of the finished product.
It's hard not to love Nissan right now. The company has shown more testicular fortitude over the past 12 months than nearly every other mainstream automaker combined with additions like the Murano Crosscabriolet and the Nissan Juke. You may not love either vehicle's bizarre styling, and you may have trouble slotting them into a comfortable market segment, but both show a determination to shirk a formulaic approach to product development. Now Nissan is diving even deeper into the crazy pool with