Nissan is hoping to make on-track history at this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans, however, the automaker is also taking the opportunity to showcase its latest performance model destined for the streets - the Nissan Juke Nismo. A road-going version of the performance-oriented Juke Nismo Concept that debuted last November at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show, the Juke Nismo will go on sale in Europe next January. While the timing of its arrival in the U.S. has yet to be determined, Nissan has confirmed this enthusiast-grade variation on the compact crossover theme will turn up in showrooms here at some point in the future.

Although nowhere near as intense as the limited-production Nismo Juke-R that uses the powertrain and mechanicals from the Nissan GT-R, the new Juke Nismo will be a proper road-rager in its own right -- and be far more affordable. Nissan has yet to reveal details on the powertrain, however, we do know that it will consist of a Nismo "tuned" version of the Juke's standard 188-horse/1.6-liter turbo-four engine. A comprehensive revamp of the chassis bits is also part of the mix, including stiffer suspension components, revised steering gear and a recalibrated traction/stability control system that will offer available torque vectoring capabilities to further enhance handling.

Like the one-off concept, the Nissan Juke Nismo boasts a full body kit with deeper front/rear fascia extensions, wider fenders and custom side sills set off by a revised grille and tailgate spoiler that collectively reduce high-speed lift at the nose and tail without increasing aerodynamic drag. As a final touch, the Nissan Juke Nismo rides on special 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels fitted with wider, grippier rubber.

The production Juke Nismo also features the same kind of cabin revamp first seen on concept. Highlights include a pair of highly-contoured suede-trimmed Nismo sport bucket seats with red contrast stitching, a Nismo-spec steering wheel, bespoke gauge cluster, sport pedal set and a unique gearshift knob.

In presenting this newest family member-to-be, Andy Palmer, executive vice president Global Product Planning, noted: "The introduction of the Juke Nismo further cements our dedication to provide innovation and excitement for everyone. The Juke, with its radical design and pioneering attitude, is the natural choice to be one of the first Nissan models to receive the mythical performance and distinctive design treatment from our Nismo specialists."


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