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First production Nissan Juke-R with 545 hp rolls home for $645,000


First production Nissan Juke-R with 545 hp rolls home for $645,000There's never been a better time to have too much money and a love of stupidly fast sports cars. The world's overly wealthy auto enthusiasts can soon choose from new supercars by Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren, while more traditional buyers can still customize a Rolls-Royces, Bentley and Bugatti to unusual extremes. Now there's one more option: the production version of the Nissan Juke-R, the 545-hp mashup of a Juke body with a Nissan GT-R drivetrain that only costs as much as six full-size GT-Rs. Wait, what?

Nissan Europe announced today it had delivered the first production Juke-R to happy customer number one, and was hard at work on a second. In reality, the Juke-R is less of a combination and more of a bespoke model, requiring mostly new bodywork and chassis to carry the twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel-drive system of the GT-R along with a racing-spec roll cage -- necessary given that the Juke-R can hit 170 mph and run to 62 mph in less than three seconds.

But even with those extra bits, Nissan's quoted price of $645,000 seems a bit extreme. For that kind of money, the Juke-R owner could have bought any available purpose-built sports car with change left over. At this level, automakers aren't selling performance but exclusivity and bragging rights, qualities only enhanced by oddities of design. Still, for that kind of money, I'd rather petition Jay Leno to sell his well-cared for version of the original hot hatch mashup -- the Ford SHOgun -- and pocket the difference.