Blog: Nissan Juke-R drive

Time 8:02 pm, March 14, 2012

I must admit if I had a nice long drive in front of my house, like Lord March, I wouldn’t get much work done.

The temptation to hoon up and down and scare the milkman in anything with an engine would just be too much to ignore.

Thankfully, I don’t have that problem – so an invite to apply some rubber to the Goodwood estate’s well wheel-trodden hill climb is always welcome.

Wednesday was the media day for Goodwood’s 2012 motoring events – the Festival of Speed and the Revival.

It’s a chance for Lord March to ramp up the excitement surrounding the two events and a good opportunity for the media to get behind the wheel of some new metal from the supporting manufacturers.

Fortunately I was looking forward to one helluva ride. Nissan had offered a last minute spin up the hill in one of only two Juke Rs in the world. For those of you that aren’t in the know, this is basically the love child of a Juke / GT-R one night stand – and the right genes made it across into the sibling.

Under the matt black Juke bodywork is the running gear and engine from the GT-R. The 3.8-litre, 485bhp twin turbo charged engine has been squeezed into the Juke’s bodywork, the four-wheel drive carried across and it’s got the performance to match. Foot to the floor and 60mph arrives in around three seconds.


The mad project was conceived as a marketing exercise by Nissan GB’s former MD Paul Willcox who, when he took up his new post in Europe, gave it the greenlight.

Costing £250,000 each the pair were designed and built in the UK by RML – one left-hand and one right-hand drive. The latter is for exclusive use in the UK.

So what’s it like to drive? Well, the 1.16-mile Lord march drive was never going to be long enough to get a real feel for this amazing car, but first impressions were staggering.

The Juke R handles all that power remarkably well, transferring it into forward thrust with no drama, much like the bigger GT-R does. There was just enough time to savour the whoosh of the turbos on the start straight as the hay bales and trees quickly melted into a summery soup of colour.

A gratuitous shot of the Juke-R wing mirror...

The first corner is a tight right hander and an over zealous prod on the cold brakes soon made me realise I could have carried 20mph more through the bend.

In front of the house, I managed five seconds-ish of full throttle madness and the Juke R’s turn of pace staggered – 120mph was indicated on the digital readout (my passenger reliably informed me).

Flint wall safely passed without grazes, the final section of the run allowed a little more confidence. It was soon clear that although hand-built, the Juke R is a very competent and polished piece of kit. It reminds me of a Renault 5 GT Turbo – but turned all the way up to 11.

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It’s just a shame these two marketing models are all we’re ever likely to see. There’s very little chance we’ll ever get a production run model. The cost and build time would make it very difficult to justify – especially when a GT-R can be had for circa £70k.

Still, as drives up garden paths go, this Nissan-powered excursion will be remembered as a very special one.

Oh, and stupidly I forgot to rig up a video camera for my run, so instead why not enjoy this professionally shot video of the Juke-R taming a few super cars in Dubai…

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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