Why Nissan Should Build the Juke-R

Let me just start off by saying that no, I have not gone completely crazy just yet! I know the Juke-R is just a concept and that it can’t really be put into production, but the idea behind it is perfect for the way the market is shaped. Usually, automakers decide on a new car in a board meeting, based on market surveys and the laws of being sensible. But the Juke-R is a great idea, born from real automotive passion, and cars like that are hard to find these days. Everybody wants crossovers, flat paint and insane, electronically controlled AWD traction these days.
For all its loss in terms of practicality, the level of performance that is on hand boggles the mind. The only real reason Nissan might not jump on this opportunity is that they already have a flagship in the form of the actual GT-R from which the Juke got its engine transplant. This technological marvel is an all-wheel drive traction monster without equal, and it’s single-handedly changed they way the world looks at a Nissan badge.

Recent rumors suggest the Infiniti brand is looking to boost it sales by building its own flagship. However, I’m concerned that this is like putting a blush on a sick person to hide the illness. A company like this will never be able to stand toe to toe with a big automaker that does nothing but develop premium cars, like the German trifecta of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

But letting the Juke-R, or a more realistic version of the car, go into production would be much better than Infiniti’s continuos unicorn chasing. Right now, the Juke and the Qashqai are selling like hot cakes… no, wrong metaphor… selling like iPhones in Europe. And it would be wonderful if they branched off with performance crossovers. BMW hasn’t got the X3 M ready yet, so the market is still up for grabs. But squeezing supercar engines and platforms into cars that are the size of a MINI Cooper isn’t a good idea.

If there’s anybody who can make a micro-SUV + supercar halfbreed than it’s Nissan. We don’t need four full seats necessarily, nor do we want a leather-covered dash. But it would be wonderful to have 400 hp or there about and good ground clearance. And let’s not forget that Nissan is partnered with Renault, who’s sedans are losing face. How cool would it be if they had a Koleos RS with 500 or more horsepower that does 0 to 62mph (100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds… hypothetically speaking… if the Koleos could ever be called cool… which it never will. Honestly, the Japanese came up with an incredible engine and drivetrain, and they never used it for anything else other than the GT-R.

And I know what you’re thinking: “can Nissan have two halo cars that are so much alike?” We’ll how about BMW, who has an M version of everything but the X3 and 7-Series. As for Mercedes, just about every AMG car has the same 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. So why not let the little juke have the 3.8-liter GT-R lump to play with. And it’s not like the Qashqai or Micra buyer has something to aspire to right now.

But what’s in it for the automaker? Well, the Juke and Qashqai are probably already making all the money in the wold. Neither can be converted into longitudinal engined supercar that can go off-road, because their chassis only take small four-cylinder engines. Yes, it will cost money, but Nissan’s marketing teams will be able to make a viral video every day of the Juke-R defeating another sportscar, and that’s worth something. If a micro-SUV can go under 4 seconds, M3s, AMG and all a whole bunch of sport legends are within reach, ready to be humiliated on Youtube.

No Arab millionaire will be able to live without one, no stock broker who drives an AMG will be able to ignore the performance, and no tuning show will be complete without its craziness.
Nissan’s top executives have got it all wrong if they don’t approve the Juke-R, because we do, and if they don’t build it, somebody else will!
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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