The 10th and final video in the Nissan Juke-R build series broke cover today, and predictably it’s the best one yet. Juke-R hits the track at the MIRA proving ground and we get to see what a 480bhp family crossover looks like on the move.
It seems ironic that a car which already laps the Nürburgring in 7 mins 21 seconds, could need a ‘Track Pack’ to make it more suited to the task. But that’s precisely what Nissan are offering its GT-R customers with this new track-focused edition of its 2012 model.
Ex-Formula One driver and BBC F1 presenter, Martin Brundle, will join his son Alex at the wheel of the Nissan-powered Greaves Motorsport LMP2 prototype at next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 16-17).
It feels so wrong… and yet you know you want to try it. Just once. While nobody is looking. The Juke-R is one of those cars that no enthusiast can deny wanting to drive, to sample the absurdity of its near-500 bhp powerplant shoe-horned into a conventional(ish) family crossover.
When the R35 GT-R first appeared on the scene in 2008 with ‘only’ 480 bhp, most of us probably thought, “nice, but couldn’t they have given it more power than an M5?” We then drove it back-to-back with Porsche’s Gen2 911 and found the porker had the legs (just), but otherwise there was little to complain about apart from its brakes.
I must admit to being in two minds about this car, on the one hand I love unusual hybrid cars – Hayabusa powered 2-seaters, supercar-baiting SUVs and even EV sportscars such as the Tesla Roadster. What these all have in common is the ability to surprise and delight, to perform in a way beyond what you would expect from their appearance.
Hopefully mine won’t be the only voice of reason in response to the news this morning that Nissan have decided to build a 480 bhp Juke-R. The idea first surfaced at last month’s Frankfurt motor show – we had a giggle and thought “what fun!”, but then quickly consigned it to the drawer marked ‘Things you might do if the world economy was a little brighter’.
You either love it or hate it, but you’d be hard pressed to argue that Nissan’s niche soft-roader had much in the way of road presence. From its startled-looking front lights to its clipped rear-end, Juke is one of the least likely villains on our roads.
A thought occurred to me this morning when Audi revealed its range-topping R8 GT Spyder, that with most of BMW’s main competitors now retailing cars well above the £100,000 threshold, can we still consider BMW a luxury brand?
It seems a little frivolous to be offering free servicing on a £69,950 supercar, but Nissan seem to think it will make all the difference in convincing would-be 911 buyers to choose its top-range model instead. Whilst affordability and peace of mind are key attributes of the rest of Nissan’s range, we think it sits a little uneasily alongside a car which can lap the Nurburgring in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds, but hey, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.
Whether it’s appropriate or not, sex has been used to sell nearly every type of product since the beginning of advertising itself and even more so when it comes to digital advertising on the internet.
It may be a concept, but the Nissan ESFLOW electric sports car shows that it’s possible to remain environmentally sympathetic without having to concede style and driving pleasure. But having examined the details in Nissan’s latest press release it leaves a major question unanswered – why does the LEAF look so dull…?