WHAT IT IS: Ford’s answer to the supercharged Ram 1500 TRX. It arrives a year-plus late, which suggests the Hellcat-powered Ram caught the Ford F-150 Raptor developers off guard. Fear not, as Ford has its own blown V-8 that serves up 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque in the Mustang Shelby GT500. As with the Hellcat, some high-rev horsepower will be sacrificed to bolster lower-end torque for truck duty, so the Raptor R will likely cede specs superiority to the 702-hp, 650-lb-ft TRX. But the Ram’s iron-block 6.2-liter one-cam, two-valve V-8 faces extinction due to increasing compliance costs, so Ford’s more advanced aluminum 5.2-liter four-cam, four-valve Predator engine will likely outlive the Hellcat.
WHY IT MATTERS: The V-10-powered Ram SRT-10 may have been king of the street-racing-pickup hill from 2004 to ’06, but Ford invented the factory desert-race-ready pickup class in 2010 with its Baja 1000-inspired F-150 Raptor. A decade later, the 2021 MotorTrend Truck of the Year-winning TRX mounted the first serious challenge to Raptor’s desert-running superiority. Ford’s third-gen Raptor responded with a new optional 37-inch tire package (which requires its own unique frame) plus superior ground clearance and better approach, breakover, and departure angles. But the Raptor’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 falls well short of Hellcat output, at a carryover 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. The supercharged V-8 in the Raptor R aims to even the score, at least in terms of acceleration performance.
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The F-150 Raptor’s two new frames both feature a Ram-inspired coil-sprung rear suspension for improved wheel articulation and are expected to carry over to the R with minor modifications to mount the V-8. The GT500 engine will be comprehensively retuned to suit the Raptor R’s dramatically different mass and duty cycle. Rumors suggest Ford’s development trucks experienced durability problems whenever the V-8’s wick was turned up beyond 650 hp. As a result, peak output figures are likely to trail the TRX’s, but the Raptor’s lighter weight and additional transmission ratios should even the drag-racing odds until the TRX’s V-8 bites the dust.
ESTIMATED PRICE: The TRX carries a base price of $72,110, and if the Raptor R can’t claim complete specs superiority over it, we expect a price that undercuts it slightly, probably near $70,000.
EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Early 2022
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