Since the F-150 Raptor transitioned to EcoBoost power, Blue Oval performance enthusiasts craved a return to V8 muscle under its hood. For those who said they wouldn’t buy the truck without a V8, today is the day to put up or shut up. Ford just revealed the 2023 F-150 Raptor R with a supercharged V8 under its hood and you can order one right now!
“Raptor R is our ultimate Raptor,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. “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.”
As has long been rumored, Ford borrowed the Predator V8 from the current Shelby GT500 and revamped the powerplant for use in the wild. Topped by a 2.65-liter supercharger and filled with forged internals, this engine is capable of 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque in the halo Mustang. For this application, the power needs are lower on the tach.
We’ve heard our customers demanding the sound and power of a V8 back in a Raptor, That’s not something we were going to rush. Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer
Ford Performance engineers winnowed down the supercharger pulley from the 80mm unit on the GT500 to a 74mm spinner on the Raptor R, which contributes to the truck’s sinewy low- and midrange performance. Along with a larger inlet path that flows a whopping 66-percent more air thanks in part to a more efficient air filter, the truck runs a unique calibration, which gives up 60 horsepower at the top of the power curve in favor of adding 15 lb-ft of torque more than the GT500 down low.
“We’ve heard our customers demanding the sound and power of a V8 back in a 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.”
The engine itself isn’t just a carryover of the Predator with a smaller pulley, however, it receives its own, Raptor R-specific crankshaft built for the rigors of off-roading. Ensuring proper lubrication through jumps and inclines is a larger cast-aluminum oil pan with a sump engineered to keep the oil pickup steadily supplied with the 11.5 quarts of 5W-50 full synthetic.
Snarling through cast stainless steel headers and a dual exhaust system with active valves and four driver-controlled modes, it delivers 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. That power, which clocks in just under the 702 ponies delivered by its Dodge TRX rival is significantly more than the 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque pumped out by the base Raptor. And, that increased output only has to motivate 100 additional pounds.
To accommodate the extra thrust, Ford Performance engineers recalibrated the standard 10-speed automatic transmission and added a new front axle with a high-strength carrier and a ribbed aluminum cover. The truck sports a larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft and a tuned torque converter with a heavy-duty turbine damper and four-pinion rear output assembly to ensure maximum performance and durability in harsh environments and smoother power application on the street.
Ford engineers also tweaked the suspension to accommodate the ever-so-slight increase in mass with a 5-percent increase in front spring rate, but the particulars remain similar to the base truck, with electronically controlled FOX Racing Shox working with an independent double-wishbone and cast aluminum lower control arm up front and a five-link suspension, 24-inch coil springs and Panhard rod out back. Significant, however, are the 37-inch all-terrain tires delivering 13.1 inches of ground clearance, which is 1.1 inches more than the regular Raptor.
To go along with all its potent performance, the R-model Raptor sports a suite of electronic assistance meant to make off-roading easier. This trio of tech includes Trail Control which takes over the throttle and braking control to free up the driver to concentrate on steering through tricky terrain. It also features, Trail Turn Assist that stops movement of the rear inside wheel allowing the Raptor R to easily pivot through tighter corners. And, finally, drivers can engage one-pedal driving, which is common on EVs, and essentially applies the brakes with the accelerator pedal lifts, making it much easier to navigate rocky trails. Likewise, it offers the familiar Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja drive modes, engaged with the R button on the steering wheel.
Production of the Raptor R begins later this year, but the order banks opened today. Of course, Predator performance comes with premium pricing, as checking the box for the 2023 Raptor R adds $36,795 to your order, versus a regular Raptor, with a base price of $109,145.