It may not have the most exciting lineup in the world, but Nissan knows how to pull out the stops when it wants to. At the entry level is the Juke, a startlingly unique compact crossover that stands out from anything else on the road today. In base trim, the $20,250 front-wheel drive Juke is powered by a 188 horsepower 1.6 liter turbocharged inline-four, which gives it ample power to keep up with traffic. For the money, it’s harder to find a more interesting entry-level car on the market.
On the other hand, its GT-R halo car is, simply put, one of the greatest cars the company has ever made. With its 3.8 liter twin-turbo V6 engine good for 545 horsepower, fantastic dual-clutch automatic transmission capable of changing gears in 15 one-hundredths of a second, and electronic all-wheel drive, it can embarrass cars that cost nearly five times as much, and makes its $100,000-plus price tag seem like a bargain.
But about five years ago, a group of Nissan’s engineers got together and asked “What would happen if we combined our strangest model with our fastest one?” and actually followed through with it. The answer was the Juke-R Nismo, and it was one of the most insane projects to come from a major automaker in decades.
Lucky for us then, because the inmates seem to be running the asylum at Nissan. Last week, the company announced “Nissan JUKE-R is back – and now with added NISMO.” And better yet, we’ll get our first look at the new Juke-R by the end of this month.
When the Juke-R Nismo (not to be confused with the Juke RS Nismo production car) was unleashed on the unsuspecting world in 2011, people thought Nissan’s engineers had lost their minds. Underneath the bulbous little Juke body, they found a way to cram the engine (rated at 485 horsepower), transmission, and all-wheel drive system from the GT-R, possibly creating the weirdest supercar ever built. It could go from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds, run the quarter mile in 12 seconds, and had a limited top speed of 160 miles per hour.
Nissan hand-built a few of the cars on a to-order basis (at a starting cost of $521,000), but the Juke-R seemed to be little more than a high-profile engineering exercise – albeit one that made the entire automotive world stop, scratch their heads, and collectively ask “What the hell was that?” It was too crazy not to love, and in the four years since, the little supercar has become a legend.
Nissan won’t say much on this next-generation Juke-R yet, but according to the press release, the Juke R was built “using the latest technology, styling and running gear from NISMO products.” For most, this statement can only point to one car: the GT-R Nismo, Nissan’s 600 horsepower, $149,990 track-day beast that lapped the Nürburgring in an astonishing 7 minutes, 8.679 seconds in 2013. With the potential of 115 extra horsepower on tap, the ’16 Juke-R could make its past incarnation look downright tame.
We’ll know more once Nissan unveils the next-generation Juke-R on June 25th at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. Even displayed among one-of-a-kind coach built classics, historic racers, and other concepts (Renault will be showing its Alpine Celebration concept too), the Juke-R will be sure to draw a crowd. Hopefully Nissan will let someone take it for a few spins on the track too.