The Most Toys: Ford Unleashes 700 Horsepower Raptor R

the most toys ford unleashes 700 horsepower raptor r

Don’t let anyone tell you that, even on the eve of mass electrification, we’re not living in the golden age of horsepower. After the loons at Ram launched their psychotic TRX, off-road gearheads knew the Blue Oval would be feverishly working on a direct rival – if they weren’t already.

Introducing the 2023 Raptor R – a V8-powered off-road pickup truck with a GT500 engine shoved up its nose. ‘Murica, indeed.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a refresher: That mill is a 5.2-liter supercharged DOHC monster with four valves per cylinder and cast aluminum construction. In this application, it’s tuned to belt out 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque, sums which should be more than sufficient to churn every sand dune at Glamis into a sandy mist. Fun fact: This thing takes 11.5 quarts of oil compared to the six quarts contained in a 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Speaking of, the former top-dog Raptor (whose owners are assuredly either busy measuring negative-equity for a trade-in or simply running the thing through an industrial-sized shredder) makes 450 hp and 510 units of twist. Handling the power in a Raptor R is a ten-speed automatic.

It wasn’t a simple plug-and-play from the GT500, apparently. Ford Performance is said to have fettled the V8’s supercharger and rejigged its pulley to optimize its power for off-road use, increasing torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range – precisely where most off-roaders spend most of their time driving. In the R, the 5.2L now has exhaust manifolds of a cast stainless steel design to help the things endure the inevitable sandblasting they’ll get from enthusiastic drivers. Also on tap are a unique oil cooler and filter, plus a deeper oil pan which enables it to tackle steep grades while keeping the engine oil cool (also helps explain the 11.5 quarts). To enhance engine breathing, air intake volume is increased by two-thirds thanks to a wider inlet and better conical filter. And before you carp – this infographic was the only engine image provided in the embargo materials. Yeah, weird, I know. We’ll take plenty of shots for ya on the first drive.

Its five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, plus a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs. Those are Fox-branded Live Valve shocks at its corners, tuned to balance ride quality and roll control thanks to suspension height sensors which dictate adjustments for suspension tuning on the fly. Wheel travel of 13 inches in front and 14.1 inches out back approaches that of which some off-road side-by-sides are capable. Pedants will note those figures are about an inch less than a standard Raptor on 35-inch tires but the 37-inch shod R makes up for it with 13.1 inches of ground clearance, 1.1 inches more than a base Raptor on 35s.

Other figures for those of us who like to rhyme off stats in the pub or on Discord? The R’s approach and departure angles jump to 33.1 and 24.9 degrees respectively compared to 31.0 and 22.7 on the base non-R. However, opting for 37-inch tires on the base non-R will provide R-like angles and ground clearance – though no one will mistake it for an R thanks to that truck’s V8 exhaust note.

“We’ve heard our customers demanding the sound and power of a V8 back in Raptor,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. This author will note here he expressed these same thoughts back in 2017 and was regarded with the type of suspicion one would reserve for a lump of enriched uranium that’s suddenly appeared in your refrigerator’s lettuce crisper. I’m glad to be vindicated. R’s dual exhaust system is said to have a true pass-through muffler and active valve system, with modes for Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja. These can be adjusted by thumbing a button on the steering wheel, allowing drivers to access multiple settings.

The R does have some unique styling cues compared to the now worthless non-R Raptor, including a hood whose codpiece power dome is an inch taller than its brethren plus a smattering of Code Orange accents. Most notable are the numerous ‘R’ badges in said color, some of which are stand-alone and others which are part and parcel of the Raptor name itself.

Inside, there are standard Recaro-branded seats shod in black leather and Alcantara, top shelf infotainment, and the expected off-road toys like Trail Control and Trail 1-Pedal Drive. As predicted, the tremendous Trail Turn Assist was too good of a trick for the Bronco to keep all to itself. It’s a trick bit of tech which emulates the ability of some off-road racing machines to lock one rear wheel in a tight turn to perform a so-called ‘rear dig’. Here, traction control and other computer gubbins do the work in specific low-speed conditions to significantly reduce the truck’s turning circle when trying to navigate a tight trail. I’ve used it on the Bronco, and it works a treat. With an estimated 50-foot turning circle, the R will need it.

Order books open today with trucks showing up in late 2022. Get cracking, hoss.

[Images: Ford]

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6 of 38 comments
  • FormerFF FormerFF on Jul 18, 2022

    The only reason I can think of to have that many gears is for fuel economy, and if anyone buys one of these with that in mind he has a defective brain. I rented an Ecoboost Mustang a few years ago to take to a track night (sorry Budget) and that 10 speed shifts too much. A Porsche 911 Carrera S has to make do with a mere 8, and it has a top speed of 190 mph. The PDK also shifts in an eyeblink.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jul 18, 2022

    If you wanted to be a purist you would have a 6 speed manual in the Raptor but then the take rate might not be as good. This truck would be a blast to drive with a manual.

    • See 3 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jul 21, 2022

      The base F-150 comes with the 6-speed auto (and 3.3 V6) but you can call the 10-speed “progress” for the sake of progress. The 8-speed was fine and even the 4-speed in my (‘05) truck is more than good enough. I can even rebuild it myself if need be. I replaced its broken reverse-band in my driveway, got the parts off eBay.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.