After a somewhat unpopular hiatus, Ford has confirmed that its next-gen gravel bashing, ramp jumping F-150 Raptor will be getting a V8 again … sort of.
The firm unveiled its third-generation Raptor overnight, complete with a mild facelift (including some snazzy orange day-time running light LEDs that wrap around the headlights and grille) and with improved off-roading chops.
These improvements come in the form of meatier 37-inch all-terrain tyres from the factory (35s are also available, but the big boys get you 333mm of ground clearance), plus a new Terrain Management System which enables drivers to select from seven different drive modes.
There’s also something Ford calls ‘Trail 1-Pedal Drive’ — a system designed to rescue you should the unbeaten path get a little too unbeaten. According to Ford, the system combined braking and accelerating actions into just the throttle pedal (press to accelerate, lift off to brake). This is paired with a Land Rover-esque cruise-control-for-off-roading system called Trail Control.
Along with the tech changes are a raft of old-school mechanical improvements designed to make it even better off-road. These include modifications to its frame that further set it apart from other F-150s, taller front shock towers, beefed up trail arm brackets, and a new 5-link coil-sprung suspension system out back.
The biggest story here though may well be powertrains. Standard, the F-150 Raptor comes yet again with an EcoBoost twin-turbo V6. It’s the same 3.5-litre as in the last model, but with a few revisions. Ford hasn’t confirmed power output, other than to say it’s relatively unchanged from the outgoing model’s 335kW/691Nm.
The decision to swap the original Raptor’s V8 for a V6 in the second-gen was a move that caused ripples among the off-roading community. Despite the six’s increased power, decreased weight, and arguably superior utility in off-road situations, the move divided enthusiasts who still love V8 engines.
Well, according to Ford spokesperson Mike Levine, a hotted up V8-powered Raptor is coming, too — called the Raptor R. Some have reported that the model is confirmed to have a V8 power-plant, with speculation pointing to it most likely being the 567kW monster out of the Shelby GT500.
“Raptor is rooted in Baja 1000 racing, and its suspension advances our capability and performance – a five-link rear setup with more wheel travel than any Raptor before it,” says Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer.
“And like a trophy truck, every aspect of Raptor has been engineered to deliver precision capability when your foot is flat on the floor, way out in the middle of nowhere roaring across the desert.”