Hotted-up Crossover Will Be Sold in U.S.—Eventually
If you had you heart set on getting into the insane Nissan Juke-R but don’t happen to have an extra $600,000 or so in your bank account, the automaker has just debuted the next best thing: The Nissan Juke Nismo, featuring a wholesale upgrade from Nissan’s in-house performance brand.
The Juke Nismo made its first appearance at Nissan’s Le Mans exhibit in France, where the company is supporting the Nissan DeltaWing racer in its first crack at the legendary 24-hour endurance competition, and it will go on sale in Europe early next year. Details are few at this point, but the key takeaway for U.S. drivers is simple (and vague): The Juke Nismo will go on sale here “at a later date.”
"The introduction of Juke Nismo further cements our dedication to provide innovation and excitement for everyone,” said Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president of Global Product Planning. “The Juke, with its radical design and pioneering attitude, is the natural choice to be one of the first Nissan models to receive the mythical performance and distinctive design treatment from our Nismo specialists."
The Juke Nismo builds on the coupe-like design of the Juke proper—recently named one of the country’s “Top 10 Head Turners” by Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com—with a highly effective and equally striking aero kit that notably reduces lift without increasing the vehicle’s coefficient of drag. In the mix here: Lower front and rear bumpers, a model-exclusive grille with functional lower-front air intake, wider sill side skirts and wings, and a tailgate spoiler.
In the cabin, where the current Juke draws its inspiration from the look of hi-po motorcycles, Nismo engineers have redesigned the steering wheels, pedals, gauges, shift knob and door trim to create a more enthusiast-oriented environment that is enhanced even further with well-bolstered and suede-trimmed sport seats.
Powering the Juke Nismo will be a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 engine with gasoline direct injection, which Nissan claims is “inspired by” the one in the DeltaWing. Again, no specs have been released for the powerplant, but its output should be somewhere between the 188 hp/177 lb.-ft. of torque available in the 2012 Juke and the 300 horses/230 lb.-ft. on tap in the racer. That’s nowhere near the Juke-R’s 485 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque, but should still provide plenty of oomph in a vehicle that should weight under 3,000 lbs.
Naturally, the Juke Nismo will get a fresh suspension tune and steering enhancements, and Nissan also reports that it will feature torque vectoring to improve handling and traction by optimizing the flow of power to each of the vehicle’s wheels.
The 2012 Nissan Juke—which achieved a new May sales record on the strength of 3,298 deliveries (+66.2 percent compared to May 2011)—is on sale now with an MSRP of $19,990.