After a few months of small teasers published online, Ford finally took the veils off its latest creation in the Bronco range, namely the Bronco Raptor version. This is a heavily upgraded version of the already incredibly popular model revived last year, and we’re hoping it will rise to the expectations people have from Raptor models.
There’s every reason to believe it will succeed both off the beaten path and in dealer showrooms as a halo vehicle for the Bronco brand, thanks to an extensively upgraded chassis with more suspension travel, more ground clearance, and a wider track to make use of more than 400 horsepower under the hood.
“We poured all of our passion and all of our Bronco and Raptor know-how into creating this absolute desert-racing beast,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. “It’s the real deal. It’s not for show and it’s not for everybody. But for people who love to get out in the wild, it’s the ultimate. And only Ford could create a Bronco Raptor.”
The Bronco Raptor features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with at least 400 horsepower as it turns out, not an upgraded version of the 2.7-liter V6 as initial rumors claimed. Although final power and torque ratings have yet to be unveiled, this engine already produces 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque in the Explorer ST, so the Bronco will most likely at least match those figures.
The engine will have a Raptor-specific tune and breathe through an updated intake system with increased intercooling and a true-dual multi-mode exhaust system, according to Ford. The actual news, however, comes in the form of extensive suspension modifications inspired by the ultra-hardcore Ultra4 Racing series.
The enhanced High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system includes Fox semi-active dampers identical to those found on the F-150 Raptor, as well as the axles. Sensors track suspension height and terrain to alter damper settings on the fly; it’s all connected to a strengthened frame with firmer shock towers up top and Ford Performance front/rear control arms down low.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is the only option, and it may be paddle-shifted if drivers want more control. Larger front and rear driveshafts connect to modified Dana axles, which are shared with the obviously not street-legal Bronco DR racing SUV. The 4×4 system has been enhanced with a higher-capacity clutch and the Baja Mode has been adjusted to incorporate an anti-lag system, among other things. A tow/haul mode is also available for the Bronco Raptor, with a maximum towing capacity of 4,500 pounds.
Therefore, the Bronco Raptor features 13 inches of front suspension travel and 14 inches of rear suspension travel, which is a 60 percent forward / 40 percent aft improvement over the original model Bronco. The Raptor’s stance is 8.6 inches wider, and it has 50 percent greater torsional rigidity thanks to extra frame support from stronger B- and C-pillars. The minimum ground clearance is up to 13.1 inches, and skid plates underneath cover all important components if drivers use every inch of it.
Ford says the 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 tires are the widest ever offered on a factory-stock SUV in the United States, and are available on two types of 17-inch beadlock-capable rims. The muscular rubber is handled by an improved electric steering rack and tie rods, and the Bronco Raptor is a full 9.8 inches wider than a conventional model thanks to the enormous fender flares. However, flares aren’t the only visual changes; Ford replaced the fenders, quarter panels, and hood with Raptor-specific components. The package includes door handles, as well as the signature Raptor grille, which features prominent Ford branding.
Unique daytime running lamps and a Ford Performance modular front bumper with built-in tow hooks are among the other cosmetic modifications. The Bronco Raptor Graphics Package adds spatter patterns to the outside, and yes, Code Orange will be offered as an exterior color choice. Inside, there’s more Code Orange trim, as well as a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with a Raptor-specific setting. A larger steering wheel, enhanced seats from Ford Performance, specific trim options, and the High Package are all standard on the Bronco Raptor.
For now, the pricing eludes us, as Ford refused to offer an MSRP. However, we’re expecting it to be around $75,000. Ordering books will open in March though, in case you want to buy one, as deliveries should kick off by the end of the year.
UPDATE: Ford’s North American Product Communications Director, Frank Levine, announced the MSRP for the Ford Bronco Raptor via Twitter after the car’s official announcement. The pricing will kick off at $68,500 MSRP without the $1,495 destination charge.