If the recent Paris-Dakar gave you an appetite for off-road racing, let us introduce you to the latest thing built to beat up deserts and conquer mountains: the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor. It is, as Ford Performance in the States says, “badass”.
It’s a big brother to the Ranger Raptor we get in the UK but this most powerful street-legal Bronco ever is destined to remain a rare sight in this country – as rare as the deserts and mountains this Raptor has been designed to master. It wouldn’t get out of bed to tackle a British green lane.
Inspiration for it comes from the US’s Ultra4 off-road racing series, so no surprise top of the to-do list was ensuring low-speed rock crawling ability along with plenty of power and stability to attack deserts and dunes at speed.
The Bronco Raptor has put together by Ford Performance, the outfit that turns out other sporting specials like the Mustang Shelby GT500, and the high-performance heritage shines through. As the hard-charging video shows, “race proven” is more than just an idle boast for Ford’s ultimate hardcore off-roader.
It’s built from girders, more or less, sits on giant 37-inch all-terrain tyres which in the interests of high-speed stability are almost 10-inches wider apart than a standard Bronco thanks to the extra-wide body. Doors and roof panels are removable, but even without them the fully boxed, high-strength steel frame is 50 per cent stiffer than standard.
As well as the extra width, ground clearance shoots up thanks to new shock towers that increase wheel travel and off-road durability. Suspension, axles and driveshafts are extensively upgraded. The “Built Wild” design replaces other parts with heavy duty components and reinforcements. The Raptor is a feast of tow hooks, lights, rock rails, skid plates and masses of Blue Oval branding – there’ll be no mistaking it for a Ford. Inside it’s just as tough and stripped back to the racing basics.
And under the bonnet? Not the V8 that you might have expected, but a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6. Power is 400PS (298kW) with 563Nm (415lb ft) delivered to all four wheels via a 10-speed auto ‘box and transfer case. In fact it will have more power than that but Ford has yet to confirm the actual number. A nice touch is the exhaust valving which allows four selectable exhaust modes, including Normal, Sport, Quiet – and Baja. That’ll be the loud one then.
At US$70,000 – Code Orange paint job extra – the Raptor is a rival for the V8-powered Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. A tempting bargain in other words. If you are tempted, and import one, do let us know – we want to have a play with it…