Introducing the all-new 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, the most powerful F-150 Raptor ever. And unlike the “regular” Raptor, which is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, this beast has a new 5.2-liter supercharged V8 stuffed under the hood that puts out 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque for even more extreme off-roading.
While Ford insists the Raptor R isn’t gunning for the Ram 1500 TRX, it’s hard not to compare them, as they both are super trucks with 700+ horsepower and designed to take on whatever you throw its way, sweet jumps and all. The TRX might still have a slight advantage on paper, but the Raptor R’s lighter weight (916 pounds lighter) should even the playing field.
“The Raptor R is our ultimate Raptor. When customers experience Raptor R in the desert and beyond, it will make the hairs on the back of their necks stand up – and they’ll love every second of it,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer.
The Heart Of The Raptor R
The heart of Raptor R is a new 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that delivers 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque to give it incredible desert-running power. Ford Performance grabbed the most powerful engine in its lineup from the Mustang Shelby GT500 and optimized it for Raptor-level off-road performance and Built Ford Tough durability. The result is the most torque-dense supercharged V8 yet in a production pickup.
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. 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 the Raptor brand is known for, 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.
Built Ford Tough To Conquer The Desert
F-150 Raptor is about more than going fast – it must conquer brutal off-road environments. Its capability and durability comes from more than a decade of Ford expertise in engineering and torture testing high-performance trucks. Ford Performance upgraded the truck’s transmission and driveline to help ensure Raptor R can smoothly handle what this V8 can throw at it.
The Raptor R sports a 10-speed SelectShift transmission with improved calibration. The truck has 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 makes the truck even better equipped to transfer torque and provide a smoother powertrain feel when driving both on- and off-road.
Drivers get even more control over how their Raptor R expresses its additional power, courtesy of 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.
If the heart of the Ford F-150 Raptor R is the supercharged V8, the soul remains its incredibly capable suspension. 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.
“We’ve heard our customers demanding the sound and power of a V8 back in Raptor,” said Widmann. “That’s not something we were going to rush. This supercharged 5.2-liter V8 is the ideal fusion of high-density power paired with the third generation Raptor’s all-new rear suspension and shocks to deliver a one-two punch that goes far beyond the sum of its parts.”
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.
Iconic Raptor Styling Taken To The Next Level
The most powerful Raptor yet takes the off-road truck’s purpose-built design legacy up a notch, with unique styling that further drives home its supercharged capability. 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.
“Raptor R is visually designed like a desert predator to catch the attention of Raptor customers and off-road enthusiasts,” said Tom Liu, Raptor R lead designer. “There are details big and small – from the more aggressive hood air extractor to the Code Orange ‘R’ badges – that visually communicate next level off-road performance under the Raptor R banner.”
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.
That aggressive feel carries over to a black interior. Standard Recaro seats sport a combination of black leather and Alcantara suede – cleverly placed for added grip when the terrain gets nasty. 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.
Like the rest of the Raptor family, Raptor R comes standard with a suite of smart technology to make off-roading easier. Trail Turn Assist allows drivers to shrink their turning radius on tight turns and go even further off-road. Ford Trail Control – think cruise control for off-roading – lets drivers select a set speed and steer through challenging conditions while the truck handles throttle and braking. Trail 1-Pedal Drive allows customers to control throttle and braking with just one pedal to make extreme off-roading like rock crawling even easier.
Pricing For The 2023 F-150 Raptor R
Needless to say, this kind of performance doesn’t come cheap. But even I was a little shocked when I learned that the 2023 F-150 Raptor R has an MSRP of $109,145. That’s $36,795 more than a base Raptor, and $32,265 more expensive than the 702-horsepower Ram 1500 TRX.
Does it over $30K+ more enjoyment over those other highly capable trucks? We’ll have to wait and see until we get some seat time in the new Raptor R. But if you like what you see and want one, ordering for the F-150 Raptor R opens today, with production starting in late 2022.
What do you think of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R?
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