The Most Toys: Ford Unleashes 700 Horsepower Raptor R

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.