By Otsile Kadiege
Ford Performance is no stranger when it comes to building some epic high-performance vehicles. Adding to the tally of menacing performance vehicles is the all-new Ford F-150 Raptor R. Designed and engineered by Ford Performance, the newcomer is the most extreme F-150 thanks to a Mustang GT500 sourced engine which churns mind-bending power and torque. It also features numerous mechanical updates and model-specific styling.
The heart of a Shelby GT500
Ford Performance’s boffins squeezed in a 5.2-litre supercharged V8 engine sourced from the Mustang Shelby GT500 that delivers 700 horsepower (515kW) and 640 lb.-ft. of torque (868Nm). The Raptor R is paired to a 10-speed SelectShift transmission with improved calibration. Ford Performance recalibrated this V8 engine’s supercharger and installed a new pulley to optimize its power for off-road use, increasing torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range. According to Ford Performance, these changes help Raptor R offer more performance at the speeds where customers spend most of their time driving.
To maintain the extreme off-road durability, Ford Performance upgraded the original engine’s exhaust manifolds to a cast stainless steel design, including a unique oil cooler and filter, plus a deeper oil pan enabling it to tackle aggressive grades while keeping the engine oil cool. To help the engine breathe better, air intake volume is increased 66% via a wider air intake inlet and a higher-flow, higher-efficiency conical air filter.
The truck features a new front axle with a more robust, higher-strength carrier casting and an aluminum-ribbed structural cover to manage the powertrain’s added torque, as well as a unique larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft. A new, specially tuned torque converter with heavy-duty turbine damper and four-pinion rear output assembly is said to make the truck even better equipped to transfer torque and provide a smoother powertrain feel when driving both on- and off-road.
The five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs – all optimized for outstanding stability while traversing desert terrain at high speeds. Advanced FOX Live Valve shocks are tuned to balance ride quality and roll control on- and off-road. These electronically controlled dampers use suspension height sensors and other sensors to monitor terrain conditions independently, hundreds of times a second, while adjusting suspension tuning accordingly. Wheel travel of 13 inches in front and 14.1 inches in back facilitates Raptor R’s ability to traverse sand and rocks with outstanding capability.
Ford Performance says, each drive mode is tuned to account for the added power of the supercharged V8, including an optimized Baja mode for maximum performance and control in high-speed off-roading. A 5% increase in the front spring rate helps maintain comfortable ride quality, while Raptor R boasts class-leading* 13.1-inch ground clearance and standard class-exclusive* 37-inch tires straight from the factory for improved obstacle clearing.
Glorious sound of a V8 engine
The F-150 Raptor R is fitted with a unique dual exhaust system with a true pass-through muffler and active valve system, with modes for Normal, Sport, Quiet and Baja. These can be adjusted in the MyMode feature, allowing drivers to customize multiple settings – including drive, steering, suspension modes and others – and save one as a single mode easily accessed with the press of the “R” button on the steering wheel.
Raptor R styling
On the looks side of things, the F-150 Raptor R adds models-specific styling to set itself apart from the F-150 Raptor. The Raptor R features a larger, more aggressively styled power dome on the hood sits nearly 1 inch taller than on the base Raptor, helping extract warm air from underneath. Iconic F O R D grille, bumpers and fender flares painted black underscore its menacing looks.
Ford Performance-exclusive Code Orange accents include a unique “R” badge on the grille, power dome and tailgate. A special graphics package on the rear fenders feature a unique design that mirrors the harsh, cracked desert earth, reinforcing the type of environment Raptor R is built to conquer. The F-150 Raptor R will be available in eight colour options, including new Avalanche and Azure Gray Tri-Coat exterior paint offered on the Raptor line-up for the first time.
As standard, the Raptor R is fitted with Recaro seats sport a combination of black leather and Alcantara suede. Genuine carbon fiber adorns the doors, media bin door and upper parts of the instrument panel, featuring a unique tri-axial weave designed to convey Raptor R’s combination of performance, toughness and durability.
As much as we’d like to say ‘you should expect it next year’, Ford SA unfortunately has no plans on selling the F-150 range in South Africa.
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