Meet the new Nissan Juke Nismo RS. Coming to the UK this summer, it’s an updated, uprated version of the existing hot Juke, wearing the new lights of the facelifted Juke we saw earlier this week at the Geneva motor show.
How does the Nissan Juke Nismo RS justify an RS badge?
Given how similar it looks to a regular Nismo Juke, you might be left feeling short-changed – right up until the moment you climb inside. Tick the requisite option box and you’ll land in two new Recaro bucket seats straight out of the ultimate road-going Nissan: the Nismo GT-R.
The rest of the hot Juke’s Alcantara touches and slashes of garish red detailing remain from before the facelift.
Just a pair of cool seats? Doesn’t sound like much…
There’s more. Power from the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine has been taken from a middling 197bhp and 184lb ft (figures on a par with the RS Clio 200 Turbo and Peugeot 208 GTi) to a healthier 215bhp and 206lb ft.
We’re talking about the front-drive manual version here, by the way: the heavier, thirstier, pricier all-wheel drive version’s 4x4 system can’t handle any extra torque, so you don’t get the power boost. It also comes with an OAP-spec CVT ‘gearbox’ only. And that’s not all…
What’s the other reason for picking the front-wheel drive Nismo RS?
It gets, at long last, a limited-slip front differential, which was sorely needed. We found the standard Juke Nismo to be a hidden gem when we drove it in 2013: punchy, grippy, and a real overtaking weapon thanks to its lofty seating position.
Where it came unstuck (literally) was in the corners, where it’d spin its inside wheel frantically as the driver applied the power. A big buzzkill, in other words.
Mechanical limited-slip diffs can do wonders for front-drive hot hatches: just look at the Renaultsport Megane, Ford Focus RS, and VW Golf GTI Performance Pack. If the Juke Nismo RS’s diff is as good as any of those, the little Juke could be an unlikely hot hatch great.
Nissan also claims the facelifted Juke is stiffer, rides and handles better than the outgoing car did, and even the boot has swotted up: it’s 40% bigger than before.
Add in standard-fit upgraded brakes on this RS range-topper (up from 296mm discs to meatier 320mm items) and you’ve got a recipe for a fun ‘alternative’ hot hatch to rival the Mini Paceman Cooper S. Expect prices to kick off at around £22,000.
>> Check out CAR’s full story on the facelifted Nissan Juke here