400-hp Bronco Raptor claws to top of Ford's off-road GOAT herd
Off-roaders and Ford fanatics have been eagerly awaiting the first-ever Bronco Raptor since before the Bronco even debuted in 2020. Now it's finally here, and it absolutely looks worth the wait, bursting out of the desert atop huge 37-in tires spun into motion by a 400-hp 3.0-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo. The most extreme Bronco ever is built to transition seamlessly from torching its way across open desert to inching nimbly through gnarly rock fields.
Ford Performance has taken the "Built Wild" Bronco mantra to new heights, creating what it calls the first-ever SUV inspired by Ultra4 Racing, a series known best for its King of Hammers event. That means giving the four-door Raptor the capability to tear across sand dunes at highway speeds before pulling back to handle slow, meticulous maneuvering over potential wreckage-making hazards.
Ford engineers knew their work had to dig right down to the bones, so they went to work reconfiguring the Bronco's fully boxed high-strength steel frame for extra ruggedness and new suspension parts. They've added in wheel-travel-increasing shock towers, heavy-duty driveline skid protection, and reinforced B and C pillars that deliver a 50 percent body-in-prime torsional rigidity boost over the standard four-door Bronco.
Separating that frame from the Raptor's 37-in BFG KO2-swallowed 17-in Ford Performance beadlock-capable wheels is a new suspension reworked in cooperation with Fox. The upgraded High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) 4.0 with Live Valve technology monitors ground conditions independently at each wheel hundreds of times per second, adjusting suspension tune accordingly. Ford Performance-designed front and rear control arms open up 13 inches (330 mm) of front travel and 14 inches (356 mm) at the rear, a 60/40-percent front/rear bump over the standard Bronco. Ground clearance leaps by nearly 5 inches (127 mm) to a 13.1-in (333-mm) minimum.
The graphite iron-block twin-turbo V6 engine pushes its targeted 400+ hp and not-yet-disclosed torque out to all four wheels via a performance-tuned 10-speed SelectShift automatic and a three-mode advanced 4x4 system. The clutch has been upgraded for the demands of hard, fast desert driving, and the tweaked two-speed transfer case empowers a 67.7:1 crawl ratio.
The already capable G.O.A.T. terrain management system counts a newly tuned Baja Mode among its seven selectable options, adding in turbo lag reduction for more seamless performance during high-speed desert runs. Off the race course and back on the highway, the new Tow/Haul mode brings available towing up to 4,500 lb (2,040 kg), an extra 1,000 lb (454 kg) over the standard Bronco. Drivers can also select from four dual-exhaust acoustic settings: normal, sport, quiet and Baja.
If you're thinking the Bronco Raptor looks more rugged than the standard variant, it's not merely the visibility-blurring dust or boulder-bombed backdrops amidst which it's pictured. The new Dana 50 Heavy AdvanTek semi-float rear axle and Dana 44 AdvanTek front axle stretch the Raptor's track by 8.6 inches (218 mm). That, combined with the increased ground clearance, creates a more powerful stance. Ford has beefed up and angled the fender flares to help rein those wide legs in, pushing the total width increase out to nearly 10 inches (254 mm).
Other new upgrades that pop out as one strolls around the latest Bronco model include the classic Raptor "FORD" grille, a modular heavy-duty steel bumper with removable end caps, Rigid off-road lighting, a re-sculpted hood with integrated vent, beefed up front and rear quarter panels, and rock rails with removable running boards,
Inside, "Code Orange" accents explode against the base black-vinyl seating and trim. Buyers can also upgrade with available options such as laser-perforated suede seats and floor carpets. The 12-in digital instrument cluster gets a Bronco Raptor-specific Performance View, emphasizing tachometer and gear readings. SYNC 4 infotainment with a 12-in touchscreen comes standard.
Ford will open up Bronco Raptor reservations in March and says that a majority of the MY2022 allotment will go to existing reservation holders. Deliveries will begin this summer (Northern Hemisphere). Ford didn't release pricing with its announcement, but reports from various online auto outlets put base price at US$69,995 after destination.
Watch the Bronco Raptor get primal in the desert below.