• Everything We Know About The Ford F-150 Raptor R V-8

The Raptor R needs to be a pitch-perfect product to go one-on-one against the Ram 1500 TRX

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2021 started with a bang for us truck lovers when Ford announced the arrival of the third-gen F-150 Raptor. What made the deal even sweet what the little disclaimer at the end of the video which said, “more to come in 2022”. Decoding this cryptic text revealed that it’s the Raptor R, which will feature a V-8 engine under the hood, as confirmed by Ford officials on Twitter soon after. Beyond this, however, there is no information available. But, using the new standard Raptor as a benchmark and a truck that will take on the Ram TRX once it arrives, we have a lot to speculate.

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The Raptor R will be based on the standard Raptor itself, but it will be beefier and bulkier. The design elements could feature new bumpers with tow hooks and winches, bigger power doom on the hood, a slightly different new grille that differentiates it from the standard Raptor, but doesn’t look like a whole new vehicle altogether. Considering it will have a big V-8 that will be pushed to the limits, a whole new air induction system and multiple vents on the fenders, around the wheel wells, on the bumper, etc., could be expected.

Just like the Raptor and the TRX, the Raptor R will also come with 35-inch tires as standard and 37-inch as optional. At least 15-inch brakes on all four corners should be offered to take care of the braking duties. Beadlock wheels along with the standard set could make the cut. Off-road side steps, rock rails, and so on could also be available both as standard and as optional accessories.

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The Raptor comes with a 5.5-foot bed whereas the TRX with a 5.7-foot bed. But, Ford has gone through a lot of trouble to plonk the 37-inch spare under the body, and it gives it a massive edge over the Ram TRX, which has to be purchased with a bed-mounted spare tires carrier. So, we expect the same 5.5-foot bed to feature on the Raptor R, too. Expect a lot of rad stickers and decals on the side to distinguish it from the standard Raptor.

Logic dictates that the dimensions will be on par with the new Raptor, which itself is almost as big as the TRX. But, stuff like aggressive bumpers, flared wheel arches and wide fenders, and sticker jobs on the truck would make it look bigger and beefier.

The angles and the water wading depth will be much better than the Raptor. We expect it to anywhere between 6,000 and 6,300 pounds, courtesy of a heavy V-8 engine under the hood and other changes and additions made to the body.

What Will The Ford Raptor R Be Like On The Inside?

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Ford vehicles are generally quite premium in their top trims and the Raptor R will be no exception. You wouldn’t need such luxurious interiors in an off-road-oriented truck, but Ram has set the benchmark quite high. Heavily-bolstered seats or sport seats could be offered here. Carbon fiber elements in and around might be part of optional packages, but leather upholstery and suede stuff around the cabin could be standard stuff. However, waterproof interiors like on the Bronco could be a good option.

How Will The Raptor R Be In Terms Of Technology?

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Raptor R will have at least a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-inch touchscreen on the center console that runs on the SYNC4 infotainment system. By the time the truck goes into production, we could have the SYNC5, too. A plethora of off-road wizardry like quarter-mile times, G-force meter, 0-60 mph times, etc. will certainly be offered.

An enhanced version of the Terrain Management System, probably one that combines the top tech from the Raptor and the Bronco, might be made available. Stuff like a 360-degree camera, one-pedal drive, Trail Control, and so on will be offered. Pro Power Onboard mobile generator would be a nice addition, too.

How About The Raptor R’s Drivetrain and Towing Capability?

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This is what sets the Raptor R apart from the Raptor and we can’t help but speculate multiple options that Ford has at its disposal. When boiled down to the basics, Ford needs something that makes around 702 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque, which are the power figures of the Ram TRX’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine.

The first-gen Raptor was offered with not one, but two different V-8 engines – a 5.4-liter V-8 and a 6.2-liter V-8. The automaker retired both these engines and we don’t see any new engine being developed specifically for this. So, Ford basically has the following options to choose from:

  • 5.2-liter, V-8 Predator
  • 7.3-liter, V-8 Godzilla
  • 5.0-liter, V-8 Coyote
  • 6.8-liter, V-8 Pushrod
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We can rule out the Coyote engine right away. It does duties in the standard F-150 and has been way too long in the tooth. There’s no way Ford is going to make use of this in a supercharged form to take on Ram’s red-hot Hellcat HEMI V-8.

Then there’s the 6.8-liter, V-8 pushrod engine which Ford is working on and plans to use it in the F-150 and the Mustang. It ticks all the boxes and seems like a good fit here if Ford can equip it with a supercharger and make it a high-power output mill. But, will Ford risk offering a new engine in a performance off-road truck without knowing its long-term reliability? Perhaps not in its debut run.

This brings us to the other V-8 that Ford has been in its trucks – the 7.3-liter Godzilla. Currently seen in the Super Duty Series, Ford would be tempted to plonk it with a supercharger and go up against the Ram truck. In fact, Ford has teamed up with Whipple to develop a supercharger for this mill. The company has developed a 3.0-liter, Gen V, twin-screw supercharger head unit that makes 700 ponies and 750 pound-feet of torque with a Stage 2 kit. This is the second-most-likeliest option that Ford has in its arsenal.

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Finally, there’s the 5.2-liter, V-8 supercharged Predator engine that is currently serving in the Mustang GT500. It makes 760 horses and 625 pound-feet of twist, and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This is the most powerful engine Ford currently has. Considering that the Raptor R will be the company’s flagship truck, we see this engine being plonked here. A little more torque and we are sorted. Even if offered in the same state of tune as the Mustang, which looks unlikely though, we won’t complain.

Instead of the seven-speed dual-clutch, we might see the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission itself.

This is the one that makes the most sense. One, it will be offered in two flagship products, and two, bulk production will lead to lower developmental costs. Economies of scale also matter, you see.

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Since we don’t even know the engine that will be plonked in, assuming the performance figures will be a wild guess. Ram boasted that the TRX is the “Quickest, Fastest and Most Powerful Mass-produced Truck in the World” when it was launched. The figures were rated at just 4.5 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark from a standstill, and a top speed of 118 mph. It also comes with a Launch Control that allows the truck to cover a quarter-mile distance in just 12.9 seconds at 108 mph. Expect Ford to use this as a benchmark with the figures in the ballpark.

The towing capacity is rated at 8,200 pounds and the payload capacity at 1,400 pounds for the 2021 Raptor, which is around 100 pounds more than the Ram TRX on both counts anyway. So, we don’t expect any changes here.

Will The Raptor R’s Suspension and Exhaust System Be Any Special?

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This is going to play a big role and Ford needs to hit the bull’s eye to make it the ultimate off-road truck. Ford the new Raptor, the automaker redesigned the suspension system. It comes with an independent front suspension and a new five-link rear suspension setup, just like the TRX. The rear setup includes 24-inch coil springs and a Panhard rod. Expect a similar setup, perhaps tweaked to perform even better in the Raptor R. Electronic locking rear differential and front limited-slip differential needs to be offered as standard.

Unlike the Raptor two-speed transfer case, the Raptor should be offered with a full-time active transfer case Large internal bypass dampers with position-sensitive adjustability, measuring at least three inches in diameter, needs to be the bare minimum here.

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A travel range of 13-15 inches, depending on the tires, can be expected.

Ford developed a new equal-length exhaust system with active valves for the standard Raptor mainly to make it grunt and roar like a V-8. The Raptor R wouldn’t require such a setup, so we can see something different here that focuses more on the performance.

How Much Will The Ford Raptor R Cost?

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We speculate a starting price of around $75,000 for the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor R. The prices for the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor are not out yet. The 2020 Raptor in the SuperCrew body style is priced a little over $56,000. This means the new Raptor will be anywhere around $60,000 given all the new add-ons. The Raptor R will be superior to the TRX in many aspects and we expect it to be priced higher than the latter. Also, a price gap of anything under $15,000 will lead to cannibalization within the brand, thus negatively impacting the sales of the standard Raptor.

What About The Aftermarket Accessories and Packages?

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Ford upped its game in this department by a huge extent with the launch of the Bronco. Optional accessories are a big hit when it comes to such niches and Ford would want to capitalize on the same. FCA products are untouched when it comes to aftermarket support, thanks to the in-house supplier, Mopar. Companies make big bucks from accessories and packages and expect Ford to launch 100s of aftermarket accessories right from the launch.

A First Edition or a Launch Edition could also be on the cards, which will be a limited-production model but will be the best that Ford has to offer.

The Blue Oval did it with the Bronco and Ram did it with the 1500 TRX; both of which have been successful implementations. We don’t see why Ford won’t be tempted to do the same with the Raptor R. An exclusive color, new touches inside out, carbon fiber elements, special badges, etc. are some things you can expect from this.

Final Thoughts

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Despite the lack of clarity at this point, we believe the Raptor R is a masterstroke from Ford. The F-150 Raptor was in a league of its own since its inception with none of the offerings from GM or Ram able to take it on. It needed a strong contender like the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX to break the monopoly. No wonder the TRX was touted as the ‘Raptor-killer’. It came with a ton of features that could put the Raptor in trouble, but Ram priced it at 70 big ones which made it much more expensive than the second-gen Raptor.

The Raptor was due for a model change this year and everyone had their eyes on it. Ford took its own sweet time to launch it six months after debuting the 2021 F-150. In hindsight, it was worth the wait because Ford made major changes to the suspension system, the exhaust system, and even equipped the truck with 37-inch tires from the factory. But, it was still not on TRX’s level solely for one reason – a missing V-8.

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Instead of taking on the TRX head-on, Ford developed the third-gen in the same price bracket and announced the Raptor R as its answer to the TRX. The truck is due in 2022, but we are sure to hear more about it in the coming months. The Raptor R will try to one-up the TRX in every way possible and will – in all likelihood – be more expensive than the TRX, thus setting up a battle that will be remembered for ages in a whole new price range. Had Ram not upped the ante in such a manner, we probably wouldn’t have a performance, off-road truck war we didn’t know we needed!

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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