By on November 4, 2019

Ford has a history of testing its latest Ford Performance products in motosports. For the off-roaders, like the Raptor, that meant building one to race in events like the SCORE Baja 1000. A new Ford Bronco is coming, and the company plans to test it by running this year’s Baja 1000. In doing so, the company is telling us more than we ever knew about the upcoming vehicle.

The Bronco R prototype seen here is based on what will ultimately be the production-spec Bronco. The engine and transmission? Production. The T6 platform that underpins the Ranger? Production. Even the front badge will likely be production, minus the red R signifying the racing version.

Ford sequestered a bunch of journalists out in the desert, and instead of burying us all in a shallow grave, mob-style, they showed us the new vehicle. It pays tribute to racing legend Rod Hall’s victory in 1969, when he won overall at the Baja 1000, even beating out the bikes. It’s one of the most legendary victories in desert racing history.

The flared fenders and giant tires are obviously racing-spec only. As is the gutted interior. But the shape of the body should be close to what to expect out of the production version.

Ford also confirmed the Bronco will have a 10-speed automatic transmission, which should come as no surprise considering both the Ranger and F-150 have it. Everyone’s favorite Internet engineer, Bozi Tatarevic, claims that — judging from photos — he’s identified enough parts to believe there’s a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 powering this beast. Which makes sense, as the 3.5-liter would be reserved for the bigger vehicles, at least in this author’s opinion.

While Ford hasn’t announced anything further, don’t be surprised to see this vehicle appear in other events out in the dirt. Also expect to find out more information about the new Bronco as it inches closer to the official production reveal in the spring.

[Images: Ford]

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24 Comments on “Ford’s Bronco R Hints at the Future Production Vehicle...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I would assume the desert racer is based upon the 4 door variant. I like the profile. I hope that they put a decent looking grill and headlights into it. Ford hasn’t done a very good job on the snout of their full sized F Series. The Ranger snout looks good.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Yawn, so the engine that should be expected as a base engine in this vehicle is news?
    I hope that suspension design isn’t going to be production, combined with a yawn-inducing engine means the 4Runner will get a slight interior update and continue being number 2 in the off-road SUV market. While this gets as much fanfare on introduction as the “new” Blazer.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I don’t know where your hate for the 2.7TT comes from. I only drove a vehicle once with that engine but I thought it was a pretty sweet motor.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      It outclasses the Wrangler and 4 Runner’s options in every measurable metric, but stay hard man, stay hard. Also saw the Wrangler no offers a turbo 4 as an option…that is still less powerful than this motor.

      We will see what this thing weighs and what not.

      • 0 avatar
        John

        2022 Wrangler is set to get a new 3.0L Tornado Turbo I6, as well as a 2.5L Version of the Current Hurricane Turbo I4. Now if Jeep would offer the Cummins 2.8L I4 Diesel, I and many other Jeepsters would be very happy campers.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Both the shape and the presence of a 2.7T are promising.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The 2.7 Ecoboost is anything but yawn inducing. Agree with Lou about the snouts on recent Fords but it appears GM is giving Ford a run for its money on ugly snouts. Agree that the Ranger is a nice looking truck. Ford should stick to the original Bronco when it comes to design especially the grill and tail lights. If Ford gets this right this could be a license to print money for Ford.

  • avatar
    micko4472

    As the owner of a 1971 Bronco (long ago, not now) I can say that I
    would be inclined to buy a new one, provided that it had a real drive-
    train. A dinky little turbo 4 cylinder mated to a (very likely)
    wimpy 10 speed auto tranny that will not likely withstand the rigors
    of serious off-roading is completely off-putting for me. This vehicle
    seems to be aimed at the wanna-be-an-offroader-but-that-would-require-
    me-to-get-dirty-and-dusty crowd. You want on ORV these days, but a
    Wrangler, a 4runner or LX460.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Fact is the 10sp has been shown up to the task of sitting behind all of the engines in the F-150 and Mustang for a couple of years now. So I think it will do just fine and we while we don’t know the exact state of tune it is but in the Ranger it is 270hp/310tq and in the Mustang 310hp/350tq. So not that wimpy even at the “low” Ranger spec.

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        Yeah I’m a stickshift guy but 10-speed auto in the Mustang GT makes me reconsider. Plus the minor arthritis that annoys in my left knee.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I have wheeled Land Cruisers. The 460 can be a quite capable rig, but my friends that had em’ spent a ton of money to convert it from mall cruiser trim to real offroader. The 80 series was the last great offroader we got from Toyota in the US…and bring your wallet on that one too.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The 10 speed is good.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You mean a GX 460. The GX is the 4Runner/Land Cruiser Prado variant; the LX (570) is the one that’s based on the big Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    Jon

    Not that i would ever buy a Ford, but a Bronco Raptor with the Coyote 5.0 would be cool. Yes, i know, I’m dreamin.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    If this is the base of the new Bronco then that’s encouraging, but when will we actually see the real deal?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think of this as a shortened 2 door Ford Flex, perhaps. Not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Two questions for Ford:

    1) What will this vehicle offer that I can’t get anywhere else? (If the answer is ‘heritage’ I hope that’s not the only answer.)

    2) Why such a long gestation period?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “Ford’s Bronco R hints at the future production vehicle”

    The operative word here is “hints”. The actual vehicle will no doubt be a lame-looking turd.

  • avatar
    Super555

    Saw on YouTubes the independent front suspension. Kind of a let down for many. I don’t care though.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Remembering back to the Rod Hall Hummer days the suspension in most off-road racing classes have to be pretty much stock to the factory spec.

      The Bronco being a two solid axle vehicle it’s entire life was expected to come back with two solid axles since Ford claimed it would be going after the Wrangler. That being said with these pictures I would say all hope is lost on this being the vehicle Ford worked up. They spent a lot of time working up this vehicle and it’s going to come to market with the suspension no one wanted and slightly warmed over econobox powertrains.

      I guess it can’t hurt to give the 4Runner a little competition to stop resting on their laurels. All Toyota needs to do is add the V8 everyone has spent the last 10 years asking for and do a refresh and they shouldn’t need to worry.

      The Bronco will get its 5 minutes of sales, settle in at FJ cruiser sales numbers, Ford will cancel it saying no one bought it when in reality it was half assed from the beginning. I’m calling it now.

  • avatar
    John

    2022 Wrangler is set to get a new 3.0L Tornado Turbo I6, as well as a 2.5L Version of the Current Hurricane Turbo I4. Now if Jeep would offer the Cummins 2.8L I4 Diesel, I and many other Jeepsters would be very happy campers.

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