Nissan Juke-R, a 570-hp Babyzilla: Motoramic Drives
Lilly is not pretty. Rather tall and ungainly, she towers over the other models Nissan brought to the high-performance track at the quadrennial “Nissan 360” worldwide media program, hosted this time at the Great Park of Orange County, Calif., formerly known as El Toro Marine Base.
But Lilly is an object of lust such that this writer, and many other car wags lucky enough to get near her, will never forget.
“Lilly,” is a Nissan Juke-R, the first one ever built, and one of only four in existence. We’re not really sure who asked the question that resulted in the creation of the Juke-R, but we’re relatively sure it started with “Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if we stuffed the rip-snortin’ twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and all-wheel drivetrain of our insanely fast GT-R supercar to the body and interior of the tiny Juke crossover?” Or perhaps it was one steely-eyed engineer looking across the table at another, saying, “I double dog dare you to turn a Juke into a GT-R.”
However the proposition was made, the outcome is exactly that: a Juke with the soul of a GT-R. When the Juke-R was first announced about two years ago, Nissan called it the “first super-crossover.” But just as the GT-R is nicknamed “Godzilla” by its cult-like fan base, the Juke-R soon became affectionately known as “Babyzilla.” And like Japan’s most famous lizard, the Juke-R is the stuff of legends.
Initially, Nissan and partner Ray Mallock Ltd. (RML) built just two Juke-Rs: “Lilly" and her brother, “Max,” as they are called by their handler, Xavi Cànovas (yes, these cars have their own handler, just like rock stars). Lilly was built using the GT-R’s turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6, which at the time made 485 hp and came mated to a dual-clutch manu-matic transmission and wide, GT-R-based all-wheel-drive underpinnings. The width of the running gear required a completely new floor and wide fender extensions to accommodate the 20-inch wheels and tires. A wild body kit was fitted and all was painted a wicked matte black. At some point, Lilly got a powertrain upgrade. “Rumor has it she’s at about 570 hp, but I don’t know that for sure,” said a Nissan spokesman.
Suffice it to say, Lilly is a badass.
Once word got out about how great the Juke-R turned out, Nissan cobbled together two more for a wealthy customer in the Middle East. Nissan determined that there was sufficient interest for a small production run, and plans to build 23 Juke-Rs in total at a price of $660,000 each.