The mighty F-150 Raptor has a V8 once again – and it’s a supercharged V8 lifted straight out of the Shelby GT500.
Ford has revealed a new Raptor R that will bring the fight to the recently launched Ram 1500 TRX with a blown V8 of its own. It’ll enter production later this year.
Under the bonnet is a supercharged 5.2-litre V8 producing 522kW of power and 868Nm of torque, down only 1kW and 14Nm on its Ram rival (albeit detuned by 45kW and 21Nm compared with the hottest member of the Mustang family).
It also packs 182kW more power and 178Nm more torque than the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine in the standard F-150 Raptor.
Ford says it’s optimised the Shelby GT500’s V8 for off-road performance and durability, and greater low- and mid-range torque.
There’s a recalibrated supercharger, a new pulley, new cast stainless steel exhaust manifolds and a unique oil cooler, filter and pan, while Ford has increased air intake volume by 66 per cent to help the engine breathe better as it roars across dunes.
The GT500’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic has been swapped in favour of a familiar 10-speed automatic transmission, though Ford says it’s been recalibrated for this application.
Over the standard Raptor, there’s a new, more robust front axle, a larger-diameter driveshaft, and a new torque converter, all designed to help manage the extra grunt of the blown V8.
There’s a dual exhaust system with a pass-through muffler and active valve system, with Normal, Sport, Quiet and Baja modes.
As with the standard Raptor, there’s a five-link rear suspension with extra-long trailing arms, a Panhard rod, and 24-inch (610mm) coil springs, with Fox Live Valve shocks and electronically controlled dampers designed to balance on-road ride comfort and off-road roll control.
The current, third-generation F-150 Raptor was the first to ditch the rear leaf springs found on the standard F-150.
As with the Mustang, you can create a custom drive mode with tailored settings for the drive, steering, suspension and exhaust, which you can then activate via a steering wheel button.
Like the standard Raptor, there are also standard features like Trail Control, effectively cruise control but for off-roading. Trail 1-Pedal Drive also allows you to control throttle and braking with one pedal.
There’s 333mm of ground clearance, 38mm more than a Ram 1500 TRX.
The 37-inch tyres optional on the Raptor are standard on the Raptor R, while the V8 model is visually distinguished by a new bonnet with a larger power dome, plus Code Orange badging.
An optional graphic package for the rear fenders has been designed to simulate “the harsh, cracked desert earth”.
Inside, there are standard Recaro sports seats upholstered in black leather and Alcantara, with genuine carbon fibre trim on the doors and dashboard.
“We’ve heard our customers demanding the sound and power of a V8 back in Raptor,” said Ford Performance chief engineer Carl Widmann.
“That’s not something we were going to rush. This supercharged 5.2-liter V8 is the ideal fusion of high-density power paired with the third generation Raptor’s all-new rear suspension and shocks to deliver a one-two punch that goes far beyond the sum of its parts.”
Ford last offered a V8 engine in the first-generation Raptor, which packed a naturally-aspirated 5.4-litre V8 at launch which was later replaced with a 6.2-litre.
While a V8 has continued to be offered elsewhere in the F-150 line, with the second-generation model Ford chose to switch to a twin-turbo V6 like that in the Ford GT.
Ford has confirmed it’ll once again launch a right-hand drive F-Series in Australia, with a F-150 – remanufactured to right-hand drive by RMA Automotive in Victoria – due in the middle of 2023.
It has only confirmed two variants for launch, however: the mid-range XLT and Lariat, both of which will use a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 with 298kW and 678Nm.
While Ford Australia has yet to announce a remanufactured F-150 Raptor or Raptor R for Australia, Ram Trucks Australia has confirmed pricing and specifications for the locally remanufactured 1500 TRX.
MORE: Everything Ford F-150