Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
By Ollie Kew 16 October 2012 15:00 Nissan's crazy Juke-R has finally morphed into a finished production vehicle fit for customers, and this white example is the first one signed off by the company. Buoyed by the relentlessly positive reaction to the original 2011 concept, Nissan will sell you a made-to-order Juke-R for a whopping £400,000 - almost 20 times the cost of a regular top-spec 1.6-litre turbo Juke. A £400k Nissan? Now I've seen everything... Granted, the price is rather hard to swallow, but it's a testament to just how much graft has gone into the Juke-R to morph Nissan's bulbous crossover with the giant-slaying GT-R super-coupe. Motorsport specialists RML handle production, which is 'simply' a case of shortening a GT-R's twin-turbo V6-powered all-wheel-drive powertrain, and squeezing it into a widened Juke bodyshell. The labour-intensive process isn't complete there - the Juke-R is then re-trimmed and fitted with the GT-R's adaptive infotainment display which monitors turbo boost, lap times and G-force. Still, for £400k the Juke-R had better boast impressive numbers! It does. The original concept cars ran an original R35 GT-R engine, good for 485bhp. That Porsche GT3 RS-beating sum was already enough to make the Juke-R stupendously fast (your writer sampled its brutality first-hand riding shotgun in the Juke-R at Millbrook Proving Ground, driven by racing driver Jann Mardenborough). However, for the production versions demanded by well-heeled Middle Eastern customers, Nissan has equipped the Juke-R with the very latest iteration of the GT-R's engine, which has an extra 60bhp: 545bhp overall. Remember that's just 10bhp behind the enormous BMW X6 M and you'll see why the AWD Juke-R can launch to 60mph in 3.0sec and hit 170mph flat out. As you'd expect in respect of that massive price tag, the Juke-R has been finished to a higher standard than the rough-and-ready concepts that RML stamped out in just 22 weeks. The wheelarch extensions and split rear wing remain, but the vents and diffuser are now fashioned from carbon weave, and the Juke-R sports a more defined front bumper. I've found a spare £400,000. Can I buy a properly-finished Nissan Juke-R? You can indeed. Production model number 001 is now finished and ready for delivery, and Nissan reports 002 is also nearly complete. If you want your very own you can contact Nissan to register serious interest, but if that price tag remains a touch too obscene then you might be more inclined towards the Nissan Juke Nismo. This bodykitted Juke is the first European market car to wear the Nismo badge, and gets a 197bhp version of the 1.6-litre turbo four-pot motor. It arrives in 2013 with an estimated price tag over £20,000.
This is genesis. Not just for the GT-R moniker (or anything else hanging from its coattails), but for Nissan as a whole. This little specimen's a tribute to the first Nissan GT-R ever - the car that gave a little island in the north pacific a reputation for building something other than everyman street furniture - thanks to the PGC10, it could do fast and desirable too. It was called Hakosuka by Gran Turismo-Racer fans - hako means box in Japanese, and suka is an abbreviation of sukairain, which means Skyline - and its story started with a racer from Prince, a brand gobbled up by a merger with Nissan-Datsun. Prince made a fairly ordinary saloon car called the Skyline, and decided to build one for racing by crow-baring a straight six in from its bigger saloon, the Gloria. Despite the swap accumulating eight extra understeery inches of chassis ahead of the bulkhead, when it entered the second Japanese Grand prix it managed second through to sixth places against the purpose-built Porsche 904. On the back of its success, and before the Nissan-Datsun merger, Prince released two roadgoing versions in Japan, called the Skyline 2000GT. You could chose an S54A, a 105hp 2.0-litre with a single carburetor, or a triple-carb 125hp S54B with a limited-slip diff and close-ratio five-speed ‘box. On the back of the 2000GT's awesomeness, with newfound confidence from absorbing a brand with racing provenance that confounded even Prince itself, and the company's test track at Murayama, Nissan-Datsun asked the Skyline engineers to build them a hot twin-cam engine. It was based on the company's 2.0-litre six cylinder and was destined for a sporty version of the slightly dull C10 saloon. Come 1969, the first GT-R arrived, beginning its life as a four-door salon for its introduction in March 1971. As well as the big inline six - something synonymous with GT-Rs until the last Skyline-badged model left Japan in 2002 - they were stripped of most of their innards for added lightness. On the track, the first four-doors were utterly lethal - they racked up 33 victories in less than two years, and the coupé like this one, which was introduced in 1971, stretched this to 50 in its first and second year. The competition was largely native, and its then-rivals have long since disappeared into obscurity (Toyota 1600 GT, Isuzu Bellett, Mazda Familia and Mazda Copella), but it managed to show several Porsches clean heels on more than one occasion - an achievement not to be underestimated considering Nissan-Datsun had only been racing for a shade over two years. Porsche had been at it since 1956. As we say, genesis. Admittedly, this one's not a racer, and it's been subject to some troubling pimp work like a carbon boot, carbon bonnet and a 180hp engine that's been re-bored up to 2.8-litres. But it's given us the fizz so we'll forgive it. It's not cheap, though - you'll need to find £39450, and that doesn't include shipping from Japan. But what price for this much AWESOME?
In the 1970s alarm bells were ringing in the energy sector as a series of energy crises and rising fuel prices spiralled. The car industry was forced to produce a new generation of more efficient cars and designers were putting new models through wind tunnels to optimize their aerodynamic performance to reduce aerodynamic drag. Some pushed the limits further than others and none more so than Pininfarina, which designed a car that slipped through the air twice as efficiently than any other. That car was the CNR-PF.
In January 2005 Bryan Nesbitt, then-executive director of GM Europe Design, charged the 15-strong Saab Advanced design team in Gothenburg, Sweden, to create the "ultimate vision of the brand".