Ford is one of the few brands whose performance vehicles truly embody the sentiment behind the phrase “no replacement for displacement”. It has taken the covers off of the highly anticipated F-150 Raptor R which features the same 5.2-litre supercharged V8 as the current-gen Mustang Shelby GT500. With a peak output of 700hp and 868Nm, it’s the most ridiculous F-150 ever, and we like it already.
Ford changed the pickup game when it debuted the performance focussed F-150 Raptor in 2010. Yes, that had an even bigger, naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8, but it wasn’t as powerful or as fast. Then came the less shouty but even faster second-gen Raptor with Ford’s 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. The third-gen Raptor has the same powertrain, but the needle for performance off-road trucks had been pushed to a new level by the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, which has the iconic 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI V8.
While the Raptor R doesn’t push the envelope in terms of offering lots more performance than the RAM TRX, it has stepped up its game to meet the expectations of its fans. Ford has built the ultimate F-150 Raptor and it’s built to perform off-road. To achieve that, the blue oval engineers had to recalibrate the supercharger and install a new pulley. The engine also gets upgraded exhaust manifolds and a deeper oil pan to improve its durability which will be tested by thrashing through a dessert. The engine oil cooler and supercharged intercooler are bespoke in the Raptor R to deal with harsher environments. The transmission is the same but improved version of the Ford 10-speed SelectShift.
The supercharged V8 may be the heart of the Raptor R, but what truly makes it a dune-bashing monster are its off-roading components. It has a five-link rear suspension with elongated trailing arms and 24-inch coil positions for better stability through rough terrain at high speeds. The FOX Live Valve shocks are specially tuned to balance ride quality and roll control on and off the tarmac. Its electronically controlled dampers use suspension height sensors that continuously monitor terrain conditions and adjust accordingly.
The Raptor R comes with 37-inch tyres from the factory and has a wheel travel of 13 inches up front and 14.1 inches at the back to better tackle sand and rocks.
There are various design tweaks as well to identify the Raptor R apart from the “regular” Raptor. Its hood is raised by nearly an inch thanks to the larger heat extractor to meet the needs of the larger engine with the 2.65-litre supercharger attached to it. It gets more blacked-out details by default to look sportier and meaner. That includes the grille, bumpers, cladding, wheels and even the black leather interior with distinctive Recaro seats. Other exterior details include Code Orange accents like the “R” badge on the grille, the bonnet and the tailgate.
The interior is pretty similar to the standard Raptor but just adds some carbon fibre trims. It is also just as practical so it never loses the essence of the F-150 that makes it one of the best-selling vehicles in the world.
In case you feel that the cabin feels a bit dated in comparison to the RAM TRX, it’s because Ford has showcased its future with the all-electric F-150 Lightning. That pick-up ain’t no slouch either as its top-spec performance variant will offer more than 1,000Nm of torque. Too bad it’s a quiet one while the Raptor R will announce itself from one hill over.
What do you make of the new Ford F-150 Raptor R? Do you agree that it looks a lot better than the RAM 1500 TRX? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.