Nissan's berko Juke-R a spectacular one-off

Nissan Duke. Photo / Supplied
Nissan Duke. Photo / Supplied

Nissan reportedly has no plans to put its Juke-R into production, despite pleas from people with the means to pay any price for the go-fast crossover.

At least 20 well-heeled punters at the Juke-R's first appearance in Dubai were prepared to pay $500,000 for the car Nissan built to generate publicity, lots of it.

Nissan said it would film the Juke-R taking on other street-legal supercars in the Dubai International Marina, a race meant to include a Mercedes/McLaren SLR-engined Mercedes-Benz SLK. But there is also grainy action on YouTube of the Juke-R going up against a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and a Ferrari 458 Italia.

The Juke-R is being described as the ultimate crossover - the body of the small Juke SUV that goes on sale in New Zealand soon with the mechanics of the Nissan GT-R, one of the world's most technically advanced supercars.

It's the brainchild of Nissan Europe and combines a swollen version of the standard Juke with the GT-R's 360kW 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, six-speed gearbox and all-wheel-drive system squeezed beneath its frame.

The project was undertaken by British-based race and engineering expert RML, which built Nissan's last crazy hatchback, the mid-engined V6 Micra 350 SR. The Juke-R also had input from Nissan's European Technical Centre in Britain.

It was built in six months, with the help of computer-aided design, to ensure the internals of the GT-R would fit inside the Juke. The engine and transmission were shoehorned into the body, which then had bespoke wider wheelarches fitted to accommodate the GT-R wheels, brakes and suspension.

The result is something worthy of comparison with other great factory-built monsters, such as the legendary Renault Espace F1 , says Britain's AutoExpress magazine, which drove one of two Juke-Rs at the launch.

It said: "It is a cinch to drive, largely due to the GT-R's double-clutch transmission, which requires you to do nothing more strenuous than grab the gear selector and slot it into 'A' for automatic shifts or 'M' if you want to use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

"From this point on, the Juke-R is a crazy, sense-scrambling fairground ride of a car, rumbling and chuntering in typical GT-R fashion, and firing you from corner to corner with absurd and highly addictive ease.

"At just over 1800kg (around 60kg more than the GT-R), the Juke-R is no flyweight, but with all that power and torque it has the same physics-defying feel as Nissan's iconic flagship, yet because it has a shorter wheelbase, it's even more agile - the way it turns into corners just has to be felt to be believed."

Autoblog this week ran some video of the Juke-R taking on a Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari 458 and an SLS AMG in Dubai - check it out here.

- NZ Herald

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