Nissan has just reinvigorated the world's favorite limited production sleeper car. Just in time for this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed, it's giving its suped up small crossover a big update in the form of the Juke-R 2.0. The more powerful super-CUV seamlessly blends the latest Juke styling with the ultimate GT-R engine.
Back in 2011, Nissan shocked the auto world with an absolutely off-the-wall creation. It was all Juke small crossover on the outside with the 480-bhp heart of the GT-R supercar underneath. It was like the ultimate garage-built sleeper car, only commissioned and designed by a major global auto manufacturer.
At least one would have assumed it had the official blessing of Nissan bigwigs. Reports shortly after the concept car's debut suggested that the Juke-R was actually a rogue project by a European team of engineers and was never vetted by the appropriate parties back in Japan. In December 2011, Autoblog reported that Nissan execs weren't all too happy that the automaker's flagship performance powertrain got tossed into a compact crossover.
Great publicity has a way of smoothing over corporate hiccups, and the Juke-R concept was nothing if not pure, unadulterated marketing buzz. Assuming the reports of executive ire were accurate to begin with, it didn't take long for Nissan brass to get over it and embrace the super Juke, sending it into limited production in 2012. They even gave it a present: the then-new 545-bhp powertrain from the MY12 GT-R.
It would be unfair to say the Juke-R has grown long in the tooth in the three short years since, but the regular Juke has been redesigned in that time, so Nissan decided it time to give the Juke-R a matching refresh. It's called the Juke-R 2.0, and it's even more awesomely maniacal than the original.
While Nissan has chosen "2.0," Juke-R Nismo would also be appropriate because the car's 600-bhp 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 comes not from the standard GT-R, which still offers 545 bhp, but from the flagship GT-R Nismo. Yeah, that means the Juke-R now has more power than the "run-of-the-mill" GT-R. A new carbon fiber front bumper lets plenty of air through to cool that rumbling power plant.
"The Juke R has become an iconic crossover supercar, and with the launch of the latest Juke model last year, it was the natural choice to upgrade the original Juke-R with added power and even bolder styling," explains Gareth Dunsmore, marketing communications general manager for Nissan Europe. "The Juke-R 2.0 is a perfect ‘crossover' of the best bits of Nissan – real innovation showcasing our crossover prowess fused with the excitement of the GT-R supercar engine."
The 2.0 update package includes a variety of new components around the Juke's exterior. The all-carbon fiber rear bumper includes new exhaust cowlings and a visual carbon diffuser. New single-piece carbon fiber rear winglets, new carbon wheel arch flares, redesigned carbon fiber side sills and repositioned carbon hood ducts add a touch of freshness between the bumpers.
Other 2.0 updates come on the base 2015 Juke, including new front fenders, a new headlight design and new taillights. The wheels have been sourced from the latest GT-R stock.
Nissan hasn't said how those changes might impact the Juke-R's performance numbers, but it is demonstrating that performance live at the Goodwood Festival of Speed world debut. The Juke-R will be tackling the Hillclimb on all three days of the event with Nissan GT Academy graduate and Le Mans 24 Hours driver Jann Mardenborough behind the wheel. The new super crossover is guaranteed to be one of the big highlights of the car-crazed weekend.
Nissan has also failed to leave any clues about whether or not the Juke-R 2.0 might follow in the limited production path of the first Juke-R, but the fact that the company is showing an upgrade of its alleged unwanted bastard child is certainly a good sign for fans of the deliciously unusual crossover supercar.