Mega-Raptor: Ford F-150 Raptor super truck

Posted by Talbot Payne on July 20, 2022

Bruce Township — Ford’s supertruck just got super-sized.

Ford took the wraps off the 700 horsepower, 640-torque F-150 Raptor R on Monday. The 2023 R model puts the Raptor’s legendary off-road performance on steroids by stuffing a supercharged, 5.2-liter V-8 — the same engine used in the Mustang GT500 track king — under the hood, upgrading from the standard Raptor 450-horse, 510-torque, twin-turbo V-6 engine.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is a super truck with 700 horsepower, Fox shocks, and 37-inch all-terrain tires.

The V-8 is the first offered in the Raptor since the first-generation Raptor, which ran from 2010-14. Despite The Raptor R’s $109,145 sticker price — a healthy 40 grand over the base Raptor — Ford expects the R to make up 25%-plus of all Raptor orders.

“This Raptor really speaks to customers who are looking for the ultimate performance off-road,” said Raptor product manager Tony Greco at a media sneak peek of the super truck at Ford’s Proving Grounds here. “This truck has so much capability that most customers will run out of courage before they run out of power.”

The torque-dense, supercharged V-8 even exceeds the Mustang GT500’s 625 pound-feet of torque to help the Raptor R power out of deep sand dunes.

The R shares the standard Raptor’s legendary high-speed off-road abilities with Fox live-valve shocks, five-link rear suspension and standard 37-inch all-terrain tires (an option on Raptor). Wheel travel of 13 inches front and 14.1 inches in the rear — coupled with 13.1 inches of ground clearance — helps Raptor R negotiate uneven off-road terrain at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Performance trucks have become hot in the industry since Ford created the super truck segment more than a decade ago and pickups and SUVs have become the dominant sales segments. The V-8-powered Ram 1500 TRX makes 702 horsepower and the GMC Hummer has been remade as an electric super truck with 1,000 horsepower and 3.0-second zero-60 mph acceleration sprint. Buyers who once coveted a Ferrari are now dropping six figures on a pickup.

“The segment is growing. There seems to be a shift in industry to go more off-road,” said Greco. “When you see competitors come into a space we established a decade ago it makes us feel good.”

You'll know the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R by the R graphic on its grille.

The R’s exterior changes from the base Raptor are subtle.

Body panels are the same, though the hood’s power dome is modified to help feed the V-8 engine 66% more air. Bumpers and fenders are painted midnight black, but you’ll recognize the R over its standard sibling by the Code Orange tow hooks, R badge on the front grille and power dome — and by the Raptor graphic on the 5.5-foot bed. The graphic (which buyers have the option of deleting from the truck’s build) features dinosaur-like scales made up of tiny number 8s — a single letter V interrupts the pattern on either side of the bed.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R features a different power dome to help feed 66% more air to its hungry V-8 engine.

The big changes are under the skin.

Greco says the Raptor R has about 100 different parts from the standard Raptor as his Ford Performance team engineered the third-generation Raptor chassis, which debuted last year, to accommodate the V-8’s massive power output for use in extreme, Baja 1000-like desert racing environments. Nevertheless, the R gains only 100 pounds over the base Raptor, maximizing the engine’s power-to-weight potential. The R boasts a new front axle, unique aluminum driveshaft, specially tuned torque converter, and unique oil cooler, filter and deep oil pan.

“We felt this was the right time to put the Shelby in the Raptor because we have the right chassis in place,” said Greco. “The benefit we got five years ago with an aluminum body, that weight-save still translates to more power today. It makes for a nimble monster.”

The result is Ford’s fastest, most-extreme high-performance off-road pickup yet. It comes after tremendous demand from Raptor’s passionate buyer base that pushed back on Ford’s decision to axe the super truck’s original 5.4 and 6.2-liter V-8 engines in 2017.

Media got a sneak peek of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds in Bruce Township.

The second-generation Raptor adapted to Ford’s green priorities as the company emphasized fuel savings with aluminum and a turbocharged, six-cylinder Ecoboost engine. Though the Ecoboost engine brought healthy power gains over the eight-holer, purists missed the V-8’s visceral thrill.

“Some customers have been very subtle asking when a V-8 would come out — others have been more blunt about it,” laughed Greco. “The Ecoboost is very capable V-6 with a lot more horsepower and torque than the V-8s we left behind. That said, customers have always asked for more.”

Push the start button and the Raptor R gurgles with menace.

The V-8 also helps differentiate the F-150 lineup from the newly-introduced 2022 Bronco Raptor, which is powered by a 418-horse twin-turbo V-6. The Bronco Raptor is targeted at multi-purpose, rock crawl-and-run off-roading, while the F-150 Raptor and Raptor R are the ultimate in high-speed desert predators.

Inside, Raptor R comes only in black — with Code Orange stitching on the leather and Alcantara seats. The vehicles is loaded with tech, including 12-inch screen, SYNC 4 infotainment system, smartphone compatibility, and off-road toys like Trail-Turn Assist, Trail Control (low-speed cruise control) and Trail 1-Pedal Drive. The truck features multiple driving modes — including a MyMode feature familiar to supercars like the Porsche 911 and Chevy Corvette C8. Drivers can customize drive, steering and suspension modes — then access the feature with a simple press of a steering-wheel-mounted “R” button.

Options are few on the loaded truck: Beadlock-capable wheels are available, as are Code Orange beadlock rings. R can be outfitted in eight color options, including new Avalanche and Azure Gray. Orders are open, with the first beasts roaring out of Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant into the wild this fall.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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