Following up on the introduction of the hot 2013 Juke Nismo, Nissan's performance troops have come back even stronger for the new season and are preparing to launch the even hotter 2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS here in the U.S. Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, this new variant gains a host of modest but meaningful upgrades that take its overall performance to an even higher level. 

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At first glance, there's not much to differentiate the members of this dynamic duo. Both the Juke Nismo and Nismo RS share the same bolder wind-cheating body bits that help spike their curb appeal while improving aerodynamic efficiency by 37 percent compared to a non-Nismo model. The same holds true for their wheel/tire fitments that match 225/45 Continental ContiSportContact5 summer tires with unique 18-inch lightweight aluminum alloy rims. The first clear visual indication of a personality split is found inside the passenger compartment, where the RS steps up its game with the addition of standard Recaro Sportster bucket seats trimmed in red leather with black suede center inserts and a Nismo Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel with an "RS" logo. 

The real divergence between these two Nismo-spec chargers only becomes clear when you buckle up and take to the streets. While these jamming Jukes share the same basic 1.6-liter turbocharged/direct-injected 4-cylinder engines, the RS version benefits from tweaked internals, revamped computer control and a larger, freer-flowing exhaust system. Collectively, the enhancements help ramp horsepower from 197 to a stout 215 when backed by a bespoke 6-speed manual transmission in the Nismo RS front-drive, and to 211 horses in the Nismo RS AWD model that uses a dedicated version of Nissan's Xtronic CVT automatic. 

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Both transmissions feature unique modifications for this application. The manual gets revised ratios in the three lower gears for quicker acceleration and also brings a limited-slip differential to the standards roster. The paddle-shiftable CVT offers eight virtual gears in place of seven in a Juke Nismo and six in a regular Juke. To take full advantage of the extra motive force on tap, the Nismo crew made similar modifications to the chassis as well as to the basic structure. Beyond several strategic body reinforcements, the RS boasts unique tuning of its suspension and steering that endow it with greater agility without compromising ride compliance. Stopping power in the RS also gets a bump thanks to larger rotors - here vented in the rear as well as up front - and high-performance pads contained in bright-red calipers.  

The 2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS will go on sale early next year. Pricing has not yet been released but Nissan has confirmed that it will only offer one option, the Navigation Package with NissanConnect that contains a voice-activated 3D navigation system with Sirius Satellite Radio and NavTraffic,  NissanConnect Apps, a Rockford Fosgate ecoPUNCH sound system, USB/iPod interface and a RearView Monitor.

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