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Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan Juke-R 2.0 review: 2015 first drive

Nissan Juke-R 2.0‘What do you get if you put a Nissan GT-R engine in a Nissan Juke’ was a beyond-your-wildest-dreams question that nobody asked, but which Nissan answered back in 2012 with the Juke-R. No joke: it was a GT-R-Juke.

Engineered and built by crack British race team RML, it went on to tour the world and wow millions with its surprisingly accomplished (and largely sideways and smokey) talents. Nissan may love its EVs but with this, it also created a ‘hybrid’, one that’s done wonders for the brand.

Then, in 2014, the Juke was facelifted, getting sparkly new LED headlights, a new grille and much-needed extra boot space. So that was that for the pre-facelift Juke-R? Not a bit. Since then, it’s been back to work for the RML boys.

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

At the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, their efforts were revealed – the Nissan Juke-R 2.0, or the facelifted version of Nissan’s wildest car on sale. Present and correct is the new LED-equipped front and rear styling, along with new bumpers now made fully from carbon fibre.

The front bumper has 100% bigger cooling apertures, and for good reason; Nissan has bumped the power of the GT-R engine up to a Nismo-matching 600hp. Truly astonishing. It has also sweated on the detail of the bodywork, so it’s smoother and better integrated, while the wheels are all-new GT-R rims.

Note how we said ‘on sale’? Yes, you can actually buy a road-going Juke-R 2.0. Provided you have £406,000 to spare. You would get stopped everywhere by people (and the police) swearing blind it couldn’t ever be road-legal, so wild is it. Reason enough to want one – but, as we discovered, it’s also pretty handy to drive, too…

2015 Nissan Juke-R 2.0: On the road

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

You step past a huge roll cage to enter the Juke-R 2.0, getting into full-race buckets with four-point harnesses. Do them up and you won’t reach the door to close it. With a fantastic dash mix of Juke shapes and GT-R displays, the effect is not unlike sitting in a BTCC car. It’s the same silhouette, but thoroughly outfitted like a race car.

Unlike the GT-R, you sit really high, feeling like you’re towering over the road, yet the intrusive windscreen pillars make it tricky to see through corners. All this, plus the knowledge IT IS A JUKE WITH 600HP frankly terrifies you even before you start the 3.8-litre V8 twin-turbo engine sitting where a 1.5 diesel normally does.

It’s terror that barely diminishes. Just like the GT-R, Nissan’s 600hp Juke is ludicrously fast. We’re talking 0-62mph in three seconds here, with four-wheel-drive bite and fiendishly clever computers overseeing it all, ensuring the shock you get when you emerge from the Silverstone pit lane is total and absolute.

Tepid show car? Not a bit. Earlier, we’d been out in a ‘real’ GT-R Nismo and the electric similarities between Godzilla and its space monkey cousin were remarkable – particularly the staggering power and willingness to deploy it. You can barely paddle-change gear fast enough, and you certainly have to work the brakes hard to shed all the speed you’ve so quickly gained.

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

There are differences. The height and packaging limitations of the Juke platform mean it rolls more in corners, feels less anchored than the GT-R and, crucially, the shorter wheelbase makes it much livelier and more agile.

The latter is actually a good thing, in some ways, as you can actually turn into corners more sharply than in the big, heavy GT-R. The immediacy and bite is astounding. But, if you’re not quick enough, it will bite you; this is a hyper-responsive car that demands concentration. Given how much power it has, it’s worth bearing that in mind.

Speaking of power, the round boost that’s taken it up to 600hp? It’s made a car that was already a colossus of a performer even more mind-blowing. It reminded us of Ferraris Scuderia and Speciale – boy, you have to be good to use it properly. But boy, are the rewards there if you do.

This is why it’s so brilliant. What’s more, if you want to buy one, RML and Nissan will teach you how to drive it properly, to get the best from its race-tuned chassis. As unlikely as it sounds, this will make it one of the closest genuine road-going race car experiences you can get. A cult car that doesn’t disappoint behind the wheel – just as it should be.

2015 Nissan Juke-R 2.0: On the inside

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan’s quite proud of this bit. Because it does actually start life as a production-spec Juke, buyers can first choose the level of interior kit they’d like, and the trim colours for the dash and doors, before RML takes over and R 2.0’s the rest of it.

It means that functions such as climate control, auto headlights and fancy colour-matched trim lines are retained, surrounding the genuine GT-R dials, levers and displays within. Note that all those displays are fully functional as well – far from an easy job.

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

We’ve covered the obvious stuff like the fact you have a humongous roll cage surrounding you – it’s there to make the chassis as stiff as it is in the GT-R – and the fact visibility could be better. It’s hardly the car you’ll use to quickly nip to the shops.

For this reason, you should also have a standard Juke waiting in the wings. Or maybe a standard GT-R. But the very fact that such a race-engineered hybrid supercar such as this is road-legal and relatively practical is a real achievement. Just don’t think of it as a school-run squirtabout.

2015 Nissan Juke-R 2.0: Running costs

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Hmm, where do we start? Perhaps best not to go here. The GT-R itself is hardly a cheap car to run. It’s very thirsty, has a hunger for tyres and servicing is both regular and, if you don’t have a Nissan service pack, ruinous by regular car standards.

The Juke-R 2.0 can only further up the ante, due to its scratch-built nature and race car ideals. You’ll have a bit of explaining to do with your insurance company and it’s not going to be one you’ll drop into your local Nissan dealer on a whim.

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

There are positives, though. Retained values for one. It may not be a star performer short-term but, in the long run, a cult car this wild can only spiral in value – particularly as Nissan has vowed to make no more than 23.

For most who’ll be buying it, though, all this is immaterial. They can afford any car in the world with ease – this will be brought for their collection and perhaps for occasional showboating. Running costs are simply not an issue.

2015 Nissan Juke-R 2.0: Verdict

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

The Nissan Juke-R 2.0 terrified us, wowed us, amazed us, and terrified us. Think they don’t make scary monster-cars like they did in the olden days? Think again. It looks brutally nuts, but rightly so. It is.

But if you’re good enough, it’s also usable explosive performance. Unlike other supermini supercars such as the old Renault Clio V6, RML has done a proper job engineering the Juke-R 2.0 as thoroughly as it would a race car, and it shows.

There’s many a supercar that doesn’t feel this special and outlandish to drive. Given the fact that you can actually buy one and drive it on the road despite it looking like a GT-racing wannabe, it’s hard not to be seduced by the Juke-R 2.0. Reputation: warranted.

2015 Nissan Juke-R 2.0: specifications

Engine: 3.8-litre V6 twin-turbo

Price: £406,000

Power: 600hp

Torque: TBA

0-62mph: TBA

Top speed: TBA

Fuel economy: TBA

CO2 emissions: TBA

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Juke rocks! Meet the 600hp Nissan GT-R engine’d Juke R 2.0

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Take one Nissan GT-R Nismo supercar and one Nissan Juke city-friendly crossover. Combine. What do you get? A crossover supercar that’s been revealed at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed‘s Moving Motor Show! Read on to find out more…

Meet the 600hp Nissan GT-R engine’d Juke R 2.0

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Remember the original Nissan Juke-R – a madcap creation that squeezed a Nissan GT-R engine into the mild-mannered Nissan crossover? Well, Nissan’s at it again – using a GT-R engine this time tuned to a full 600hp…

Juke-R take 2: the Juke-R 2.0

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Based around the 2014 facelifted Juke, the new Nissan Juke-R 2.0 boast the full-fat engine from the Nissan GT-R Nismo. As you’d expect, squeezing it in has been no mean feat…

100% hungrier for air

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

There’s an all-new front bumper, for example, with cooling slots increased by a full 100%. That’s how hungry the motor is for fresh air.

Juke-R, enhanced

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan’s fitted full carbon fibre front and rear wheelarch flares and side sills, all better blended into the design than the original Juke-R. Speaking of which…

Nissan Juke-R: old and new

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan brought the old and new Juke-R together, so we can ring the changes. Subtle, sure, but they are there – and it IS proof that this isn’t just an overhauled version of the original car!

How fast is the Nissan Juke-R 2.0?

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

So how fast is it? Well, Nissan isn’t saying. But we do know the GT-R Nismo is one of the fastest cars around Germany’s Nurburgring, and can do 0-62mph in just 2.6 seconds.

Will the Nissan Juke-R 2.0 drive well?

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

The GT-R Nismo also has a staggeringly advanced four-wheel drive system that lucky drivers of the Juke-R 2.0 get to also enjoy.

What’s the Nissan Juke-R 2.0 like from behind?

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

At the rear, 2015 model year Nissan Juke tail lamps are fitted, but you probably won’t spot these because of those HUGE REAR WINGLETS and MASSIVE EXHAUSTS.

Drift champ

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Needless to say, we’d imagine the Juke-R 2.0 is a blast to drive. Will it drift? Will it ever!

Detail changes

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan stresses there have been lots of detail changes over the original 2011 Juke-R. The bonnet is new, for example, as are the headlights, and the carbon fibre air inlets have been repositioned.

Carbon fibre overload

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

The rear winglets are made from one-piece carbon fibre; the rear bumper is carbon fibre, incorporating a carbon fibre diffuser and high temperature carbon exhaust cowlings.

Nissan GT-R wheels

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Wheels for the new Juke-R 2.0 are taken from the latest Nissan GT-R.

Interior: no change

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

There are no big changes to the interior, mind: Nissan says that, other than a black rooflining, it remains as before.

See it at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

The Nissan Juke-R 2.0 will make its fire-breathing debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, displayed in the Supercar Paddock after appearing at the Moving Motor Show on Thursday. And that’s not all…

In action at Goodwood

Nissan Juke-R 2.0

Nissan GT Academy driver, Britain’s Jann Mardenborough, is to also drive the Juke-R 2.0 on the famous Goodwood Hillclimb across all three days of the Festival of Speed. A 600hp crossover supercar? You can bet there’ll be a few double-takes for the wild Nissan Juke-R 2.0…