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Nissan Juke-R may help Juke arrival

Nissan believes the Micra-based Juke will appeal to people looking for something different in a baby car. going to be something very, very special.

Originally conceived as a piece of racetrack silliness, the Juke-R is now approved for production and leaked sketches show the super crossover will be just as insane as hoped - or feared.

Everything from the track-focussed Juke-R prototype built last year has been carried through for the road, right down to the wings and wild 20-inch wheels added to the compact crossover when it was injected with the heart and soul of the GT-R.

Developed by Nissan, but built by motorsports outfit RML in Britain with input from Nissan's European Technology Centre, the Juke-R gets the GT-R's 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a modified version of its 4WD system.

The cabin of the production car is likely to follow the concept, which means the Juke's motorcycle tank-inspired centre console sitting among the arsenal of gauges, dials and 7-in customisable LCD information display from the GT-R.

The bad news for Australia is that every Juke-R has been pre-sold to an owner order - despite a price tipping $580,000 - but the good news is that the go-faster project has helped to re-ignite the chance of the trendy Juke coming to Australia.

The rounded compact crossover has been a huge hit in Europe and that has convinced the management at Nissan Australia, under go-getter new boss Bill Peffer, to take another look at the Juke. "We're having another look at Juke. But there is no point in bringing the Juke-R if it's not relevant to what we're doing," the spokesman for Nissan Australia, Jeff Fisher, tells Carsguide.

"In any case, they are all being made to order. So unless you already have an order you won't be getting one. And we haven't had any orders here, that I'm aware of." But Fisher says the regular Juke box is back on the radar after an earlier rejection based on the cost of the program and an uncertain sales reception in Australia.

"Rejected is not really the right word. it was considered to be outside our product line, but things have changed," admits Fisher. "Now, as a niche car and brand leader, it now has its potential. One of the reasons is that it's been so successful everywhere it's sold."

Nissan believes the Micra-based Juke, which would sell against a wide basket of trendy rivals including the Kia Soul and Toyota Rukus, might be right as people look for something different in a baby car. "It has a very wide appeal. People buy these things for distinctiveness, more than any motivation towards its use. That's everyone from young singles to mums and even retirees," Fisher says. "So, fingers crossed. But it's still a work in progress."