SVM Nissan Qashqai R: 1,150bhp crossover driven

Tuners Severn Valley Motorsport may be the only people on earth who think the Nissan Qashqai needs over 1,000 horsepower

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

SVM’s ultimate Q car is an almighty statement. All rational thoughts about value for money, why they did it in the first place and whether the world really needs a super SUV like this go out the window when you plant your foot. It’s near Veyron pace in a car that normally drives to the shops. It’s surprisingly well sorted, too. What’s not to love?

Nissan toured the world with its Juke R – a Nissan Europe project to cram a GT-R engine under the bonnet of a Juke. Today, though, we’re touring the Midlands in something altogether more extreme. This is the Severn Valley Motorsport Qashqai R and it would leave the works effort trailing in its wake. Tuning specialist Severn Valley Motorsport was responsible, briefly, for the world’s fastest GT-R, the 1,250bhp Hulk, last year. Having seen the splash the Juke R made and seeing the potential to promote his own blooming GT-R tuning business, SVM boss Kevan Kemp walked into a Nissan showroom armed with a tape measure and the Qashqai R was born.

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Under the hood lies SVM’s most aggressive tuning package for the GT-R’s twin-turbo V6. With capacity upped to 4.1-litres, it’s capable of running on Ethanol and delivering up to 1150bhp, or around 950bhp on Super Unleaded. We plant the throttle expecting fireworks, what we get is Veyron-baiting performance and the sinister roar of a twin-turbocharged V6 that fills cabin as all four wheels scrabble hopelessly for grip through the first three gears. Drive the Qashqai R in a higher gear, with gentler throttle inputs and the only clue to that tidal wave of performance is a slight lumpiness to the engine. Drive it hard, though, and this is a monster.

 The SVM Qashqai R hits 62mph in 2.7 seconds, 124mph in 7.5 seconds and on a casual warm-up it stormed the Santa Pod quarter mile drag strip in 9.9 seconds, hitting 144mph. Aerodynamics alone will keep it away from the Hulk’s record setting 216mph top end speed, but not by much. To achieve the phenomenal performance increase, SVM bored out the block to 4.1-litres, uprated the turbochargers, pistons and crank, while just about everything else in the engine bay is boosted, better-cooled and beefed up.

Homebrews like this often handle like broken shopping trolleys, but there was method to the madness of choosing the previous-generation Qashqai. This is not a drivetrain transplant, the whole floorpan of the GT-R fits into the Qashqai’s frame. So the layout, suspension geometry, everything, is not showroom Qashqai. It’s maxed out GT-R.

 The rural roads of Telford are no place to find the find the limits of the KW Coilovers and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 cut slick tyres. Suffice to say the grip and cornering speeds, as well as the stopping power from the carbon ceramic discs, go well beyond a stock GT-R and make a Cayenne Turbo feel like it’s an old Citroen DS. The fact that all that performance comes with this much headroom, a panoramic glass roof, a high seating position and the chance to stretch your legs in front of the Recaro sports seats is what makes the SVM Qashqai R truly unique. They’re going to make two. They’ll cost £275,000 each, plus taxes, and they’ll probably sell before you finish reading this sentence. Suddenly the Juke R looks a little tame. 

Check out our list of the best 4x4s and SUVs currently on sale here.

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