site search by freefind
Nissan Juke-R

Click to view picture gallery“I’m not used to having a video
  camera stuck in my face at a press
  launch. But here we are at Nissan
  Sunderland factory with an earnest-
  looking interviewer asking me what
  I think about the possibility of Nissan
  putting the Juke-R into production.
  My disorientated brain doesn
t take
  long to reply in the affirmative

THE REASON I'M DISORIENTATED is not just because of the furry, phallic microphone being thrust in my general direction. I've just spent a few choice minutes behind the wheel of one of the most bonkers cars ever created: the Juke-R.

The 'R' in the Juke's name is no joke either. In the Juke-R, Nissan really has created a cross between a humble supermini-sized hatchback and a GT-R. They want to know whether they should put it into production? Hell yeah!

The Juke-R is the crazed creation of Ray Mallock Ltd, the same motorsports outfit that also built the 350Z-engined Micra that I also got a chance to drive a few years back. The Juke-R is way more mental than that, yet at the same time much more resolved.

In fact, it's basically a Nissan GT-R shortened by 250mm to fit the Juke's more compact platform. On the car I've been driving, a 2010-spec GT-R donated its suspension and drivetrain. Nissan is therefore completely justified in putting the 'R' on the Juke's bootlid.

“It’s monstrously quick.
According to Nissan, the
s 485bhp 3.8-litre
V6 twin-turbo engine
propels it to 62mph in 3.7
seconds making it

the fastest SUV on the
In fact it's exactly the same length and height as a regular Juke and shares the same wheelbase. It's far wider, though, as its flared wheel arches have to cover GT-R axles and encompass massive 20-inch RAYS forged alloy wheels.

In the flesh the Juke-R looks like a menacing miniature rhinoceros with its matt-black paint, while a unique split rear wing completes the Mad Max transformation.

Inside, there are only two seats, each one an OMP race item. Any GT-R driver will feel instantly at home: all the controls and instruments come from the GT-R, including the 7-inch touchscreen centre display and, surprisingly, its dual-zone climate control and a CD player. The major difference is the presence of an FIA-specification roll cage adding substantial reinforcement to the Juke shell, plus an aluminium floor, though in fact the Juke-R sits on its own purpose-designed chassis.

Incredibly, this thing is actually road-legal. Nissan is not letting mere journalists like me out on public roads but I do get a chance to pummel it around a track for a few laps.

It's monstrously quick. According to Nissan, the Juke-R's 485bhp 3.8-litre V6 twin-turbo engine propels it to 62mph in 3.7 seconds. That may not be quite as quick as a GT-R (Nissan obligingly encouraged journalists to try out the GT-R's launch control system and pretty much everyone achieved 0-62mph in between 3.0 and 3.3 seconds) but it's surely the fastest SUV on the road.

The top speed is a healthy but not totally insane 160mph, a figure apparently restricted by weight and aerodynamics (the lighter, more slippery GT-R's top speed is well over 190mph). It's incredibly noisy, but in a healthy, race-style way.

“Nissan is now making
a limited run on
a special-order basis,
and has already
received three orders at
a reputed price of
around 150,000
How about handling? The Juke's shorter wheelbase makes it, if anything, even more chuckable than a GT-R. Turn-in is slightly crisper and the car definitely feels more lively in corners.

Overcooking entry speeds into bends with the damper switch set to 'normal' results in ESP-controlled understeer. It's quite possible to dial up some tail-out action, though, if you're brutal enough. You might want to be a little circumspect though: tyre wear during the track test phase was basically one fresh set of rubber per day. Ouch.

The steering and Brembo brakes are taken straight from the GT-R, so unsurprisingly these feel very similar to the big coupe.

Just two Juke-Rs have been built so far, one right-hand drive, the other a left-hooker, but there are shortly to be at least three more. And Nissan has announced that it's making a limited run on a special-order basis; it has already received three orders at a reputed price of around 150,000. If you think there's space for one on your driveway, just register an interest by sending an email to

The production version is going to be even more powerful, with 550bhp, since it's based on the latest 2012 GT-R. The Juke-R could well turn out to be the joker to trump them all in the performance car pack. — Chris Rees

Nissan Juke-R | 150,000 (est)
Maximum speed: 160mph | 0-62mph: 3.7 seconds | Overall MPG: n/a
Power: 485bhp | Torque: 433lb ft | CO2 n/a