First Kyong sent me an email with a picture of a slammed Nissan Juke on 18″ TE37s. This sparked a thought since I’m in the market to replace my trusty ’96 Maxima daily beater. I am looking for a car that I can drive fast on a daily basis without attracting too much attention. I’m not talking about cut everybody off like an asshole kind of fast, but just fast enough to get from point A to point B quicker than the average person because I’m always late to everything. The Maxima has enough power for the task with the ultra reliable VQ30DE and decent curb weight (before Maximas became the fat asses they are today). The Tokico shocks, Tein springs, 2000 17″ Maxima wheels, Bridgestones, and Axxis Metal Master front pads help big time in the handling department. Don’t be surprised if you see a dark metallic grey ’96 Maxima late brake, turn in, and late apex right past your ass on a freeway transfer ramp somewhere in LA because that’s probably me kicking ass to a meeting that I’m late to. Even though there’s a good chance the Maxima will go another 100,000 miles with basic maintenace, I figured it’s time to change it up. Nissan’s new Juke with the MR16DDT engine is looking like a pretty good daily beater that I can drive fast while staying under the radar. It’s either a Juke or a 2006 Benz E55, but that’s a different story (resale value sucks big time on E55s).
The styling’s going to take a little getting used to, but some wheels and/or an extreme murdering out might fix it. Styling is secondary for a daily beater as long as it isn’t an ugly turd. It’s the performance and ability to drive fast under the radar that interests me the most.
Then I sent an email to Paul over at Nissan Motosports asking him if there were any details about the Juke or the MR16DDT engine that I needed to know about. He gave me a list of features, but he said that was all the info he had on it since it was basically a brand new engine. The list of features are available to the public now that the car is released, but here they are:
- 1.6L direct injection turbocharged in-line 4
- Sodium filled exhaust valves (a Nissan favorite)
- Beehive valve springs
- Twin variable camshafts
- Designed in conjunction with Renault (they have the Francs)
- Nano finished camshafts (smooth Ra = low friction)
- Hydrogen free DLC coated lifter buckets
- Four counterweight crankshaft (lighter)
- Primary and Secondary injection events (see video on next page)
- Stratified combustion (Nissan claims)
- Electronic engine mount (I wonder if it’s like Porsche’s?)
With all of these ultra cool features, I wonder if the MR16DDT will be Renault and/or Nissan’s entry as the global race engine? Imagine an MR16 in F1 and WRC. Now that would be cool as hell knowing that your Juke engine is also in some of the fastest cars in the world.
These are some really cool features for a low buck mass produced econo car engine. Naturally being an engine nerd, I’m really interested in the MR16DDT. Probably more so than the Juke itself, but if that’s the only way I’m going to get an MR16DDT, then so be it. The Juke sounds like a pretty good bang for the buck too starting at under $20,000 and getting 32mpg on the highway. There’s even an AWD option, but unfortunately the AWD only comes with a CVT transmission. That’s not a problem for my purposes of using the Juke as a fast daily beater, but it would have been even better with a 6 speed manual. The power delivery of a CVT coupled to a turbo engine would probably take some getting used to, but as long as I’m hauling ass on demand I’m happy.
Nissan is still making the most exciting Japanese engines out of the Japanese manufacturers in my opinion. The VQ37, VR38, VK50, and now the MR16 are all exciting engines. Forget about Toyota and their Camry spec excitement engines. Subaru’s are ok if you’re into fragile flat engines that sound off. Mitsubishi only has the 4B11T. Honda only has the K20A. Mazda has the MZR and DISI engines, but I’m interested in seeing what the up and coming Sky engines from Mazda are all about. You know any company that has been making a rotary for 40 plus years is passionate about anything they make.
It’s unfortunate, but the governments and tree huggers of the world are demanding smaller, cleaner engines with less output. The 2016 CAFE requirements of 35.5mpg are bollocks (I always wanted to use that word), but as as long as there’s people wanting to go faster, I guess job security isn’t going to be an issue for me (and the turbo manufacturers).