If you don't happen to have upwards of half a million dollars burning a hole in your investment portfolio, Nissan has another high performance Juke besides the Juke-R. The Juke Nismo isn't nearly as extreme as its big brother, but it does have a variety of enhancements over the stock Juke. And with its red mirror caps and aggressive body kit, it doesn't look half bad either. Nissan is revealing the production version of the hot-hatch crossover for the first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Juke Nismo was originally designed as a realistic production answer to the outrageous Juke-R, which shares its powertrain with Nissan's GT-R supercar. Due to popular demand, though, Nissan has decided to build a very limited number of Juke-R models. With its estimated price flirting passionately with $600,000, it probably won't have too many takers.
If the Juke-R is the high performance Juke for the 1 percent, the Juke Nismo promises to be the high performance Juke for the other 99 (or whatever percentage of the 99 want a tuned Juke). It doesn't get any GT-R components, making do with a tuned version of the Juke's 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder. Nissan is putting off details on that engine's performance until closer to launch.
While Nissan is still tight-lipped about the Juke Nismo's performance, it's done plenty of talking about other enhancements. The most obvious of those enhancements is the aerodynamic body kit, which includes a modified tailgate spoiler, lowered bumpers, modified grille, and wider wings and sill side skirts. Underneath that slick (but still pudgy) body hide mechanical upgrades like stiffened suspension settings and sportier steering. A pair of widened tires wrapped around 18-inch alloy wheels put more rubber on the ground, and available torque vectoring can enhance grip and handling even further.
Lest the driver forgets he's in a flamboyant, tuned Juke, Nismo adds a host of sporty upgrades to the interior. The suede-trimmed Nismo sports seats give a little extra support and ergonomics when putting the new steering to the test. Meanwhile, the steering wheel, pedals, gauges, gear knob and door trims get a sportier look and feel.
The Juke Nismo, which Nissan first showed as a concept at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, is side by side with the Juke-R and DeltaWing at the Le Mans event. Nissan plans to begin taking orders in Europe next year, with manufacturing to be handled by Nissan Motor Manufacturing U.K. in Sunderland. It will also offer the car in Japan and the U.S. at a later date. Pricing has not yet been announced.
The Juke Nismo is sort of a coming out for Nismo, Nissan's performance and accessories brand. While the branch has been involved with Nissan's motorsports efforts, it's built very few high-performance cars for average drivers. Beginning with the Juke, Nismo will enjoy a larger role building road-going models.