Nissan’s performance sub-brand, Nismo, has come out fighting. Just a day after revealing the supercar-humbling Nismo GT-R, the outfit has revealed this hotter version of the performance Juke: the Juke Nismo RS. It’s on sale in summer 2014, priced from around £22,000.
Plus, CAR can report that a more family-friendly Nismo model – based on the sharp-looking new Qashqai – is in the pipeline, packing over 200bhp…
What’s the specification of the new Nissan Juke Nismo RS?
The headline news isn’t the power bump: it’s the inclusion of a limited-slip front differential. Although we were pleasantly surprised when we drove the standard Juke Nismo earlier in 2013, its propensity to spin the inside wheel during cornering put paid to its appeal as a scruff-of-the-neck, ten-tenths hot hatch.
By fitting a clever diff to properly share power between the two front wheels (a la Ford Focus RS and Renaultsport Megane) the Juke Nismo RS could be a true weapon cross-country. The RS also benefits from beefed-up brakes front and rear, and recalibrated electric power steering not applied to the standard Nismo.
There’s more power for that diff to handle then?
Yep – the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-pot has been pumped up from the standard Juke Nismo’s 197bhp and 184lb ft to 212bhp and 210lb ft. In the face of the bargain-priced Ford Fiesta ST Mountune, those numbers aren’t massive, but the Juke Nismo isn’t so much about outright pace – it’s a greater than the sum of its parts, everyday performance hero. So a smidge more power, now marshalled by a proper diff set-up, should be good news.
How will my Juke Nismo-owning neighbour know I’ve trumped him?
Until you overtake him, it’ll be difficult to spot. There’s subtle ‘RS’ badging and a pair of mouth-watering Recaro bucket seats inside, but the bodykit, lowered ride height, 18in two-tone wheels and suede steering wheel are all taken lock-stock from the standard Nismo. That car isn’t exactly a shrinking violet, so we’ll forgive the subtle tweaks.
You can spec an all-wheel drive Juke Nismo RS, but you shouldn’t for three reasons. Firstly, it’s more expensive; secondly, it only has the option of a CVT; and thirdly, it’s detuned back down to 184lb ft, and 208bhp to look after the drivetrain!
Hmm… I need more space
Nissan is plotting a hot halo model for its new Qashqai range: the Qashqai Nismo. The racey hatch, which could be revealed as early as winter 2014, will showcase the Nismo trademarks established by the hot Juke: red-highlighted bodykit, sporty contact points inside, and an emphasis on ride and handling versus outright shove.
How much power will the Nissan Qashqai Nismo have?
At least 212bhp. Nissan global product chief Andy Palmer tells CAR: 'I wouldn't just give it the [197bhp] engine from Juke [Nismo]. It'd have more power than that.’ So could the Qashqai Nismo use the uprated 1.6-litre from the Nissan Juke Nismo RS? 'Yes, that's what we'd do', Palmer confirms. 'But I'm adamant that Nismo should be about more than just more power. I want us to focus on ride and handling, making cars that aren't just faster, but also feel obviously more fun to drive.'
'When I'm discussing Nismo internally [within Nissan], I like to refer to it as 'the democratisation of AMG.' [note the wide range of hot Mercedes AMG offers these days, from A-class to S- and GL-class.] We want to offer these fun cars, but at a price lots of customers can afford'.
So how much does that make the Qashqai Nismo?
It’s too early to get a steer on Nissan Qashqai Nismo prices, but it's likely to come in a single-spec with all the bells and whistles. Considering that the flagship new Qashqai costs £27,845 – and that there’s a £1900 gap between a top-spec Juke and its Nismo derivative – we’re hoping the Qashqai Nismo will arrive in showrooms at less than £30,000.