If I were to create a nickname for the Nissan Juke-R, I would have call it ‘Hellboy’, as a tribute to its hellish GT-R powertrain and its fresh, young presence as a compact SUV. In May, Nissan Germany gave myself and 10 other German car bloggers the opportunity to drive the Nissan JUKE-R (and the Nissan GT-R) on the streets of a small town close to Cologne, Germany.
Nissan took us to an old, but refurbished, industrial plant. While the shuttle was passing the gate of the areal, I could see a noir-matte Nissan Juke inside a little hall that looked slightly different from the standard looking Juke that I had seen so far. After a meet and greet, I walked straight to that hall to say ‘hello’ to hellboy, but much to my disappointment, it was gone. Waiting for the other bloggers to return, I heard this continuous growling thunder approaching from a distance well before I could see the car.
When it appeared, I noticed that in a strange way the Nissan Juke-R manages to look both fresh and mean. The noir-matte foil gives the Nissan Juke-R a bad boy appearance and the body kit supports the aggressive and sporty look. The Juke-R gets bigger rims, a sport suspension that lowers the car and a body kit with spoilers on the front, back roof and side.
Beside the chassis, everything has been modified in terms of performance. Like the GT-R, the Juke-R comes with 4wd, and the engine and transmission are taken from the 2010 Nissan GT-R, which means you get to enjoy the power from a 3.8 Liter Twin-Turbo V6 with 485-hp. In order to stuff that engine under the hood of the Juke, some not so important parts like the air conditioner were done away with – but hey, at least you have power windows. Rear passenger seating was also sacrificed, leaving behind only space, and a sealed up sheet of metal that used to be a passenger door.
When you first climb inside the Juke-R, it feels like you’ve ended up in a racecar, as you are surrounded by its FIA roll cage. As for seats, the model comes with OMP-racing seats with Schroth 6pt racing belts.
We all had an instructor in the passenger seat for our drives. Frank Eickholt, a German race car driver, who won a couple of 24h races, f.e. Daytona was in charge to keep us from crushing one of the only two $600,000 USD Juke-R’s. (Yes, there are actually two that have been produced, one left hand drive and one right hand drive, and yes, Nissan is planning to produce a limited series of the Juke-R.) “Watch out, the gas and brake pedals are pretty close together’, is his only advice before I hit the start button.
During the first mile, I drove very slowly due to speed limit restrictions in the neighborhood but it was a good way to test the gas and brakes. Unlike what most Americans may think, we do have speed limits in Germany. Leaving the housing zone, I hit the gas pedal – the acceleration was simply amazing. The automatic transmission from the GT-R that is fitted in the JUKE-R can push the superSUV from 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. We are talking about superbike standards here.
Finally, we approached to the autobahn and yes my American friends, some areas of the autobahn do not have a speed limit. My driving slot allowed me to push the Juke-R on the autobahn for one exit. Sadly, there was some traffic, but it cleared up for a moment so I stomped on the gas – at which point the Juke-R jumps forward and growls; pretty damn loud, too. The speedometer shows 140 kph (86 mph) and I am nothing short of impressed. Nissan says the top speed of the Juke-R is 157 mph and I got to 140 mph with ease.
On the way back, the surface of the autobahn felt a bit like American standard, which allowed me to notice that the suspension of the Juke-R is anything but comfortable. Nonetheless, the Juke-R’s performance on the street was pretty amazing. Even with semi slicks on the car, in the curve of the exit the Juke-R feels like it would never loose its grip.
The Nissan Juke-R is in a class all its own, and it is pure fun to drive. As one of the very few people who have been fortunate enough to drive it, I can tell you that overall, this is one awesome driving experience.
All Photos Copyright © Jan Gleitsmann.
- By: Jan Gleitsmann