From a V-8 engine to Baja-Bronco like treatment; this is everything you can expect from the Ford Bronco Raptor

The 2021 Ford Bronco has been the talk of the town since it was unveiled. The off-roader was, arguably, the most anticipated model this year, and it would be fair to say that it didn’t disappoint. But we enthusiasts are a greedy bunch and still want a Raptor version of the Bronco. That’s like asking for an off-road version of an off-roader! The Bronco comes with most of the stuff needed, but a Raptor trim could push things beyond the boundaries. Also, the Bronco has taken part in Baja 1000 before it was reincarnated, so that makes having a Raptor version even more imperative, and it could further cement the new off-roader’s place in the segment.

Is Ford Making a Bronco Raptor?

2021 Ford Bronco Exterior Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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There’s no doubt that Ford will make a Bronco Raptor in the future. If you thought the Bronco Badlands was the best Ford could offer, brace yourselves. In all likelihood, Ford will use the toughest trim off the lot and work its way upwards from there.

You can expect it to draw a lot of inspiration from the first-gen Baja racer that won the motorsport competition back-to-back in the 70s.

There’s going to be a reworked chassis, suspension, and a lot of components that would make it a strong desert runner.

Jeep introduced a Mojave edition on the Gladiator that came with a ton of equipment to become the most rugged version of the truck. The automaker will be introducing the same on the Wrangler as well. And, given Ford’s onslaught on its rival, there’s no doubt that the Blue Oval will try to top the Wrangler Mojave with the Raptor Bronco.

What Will the Ford Bronco Raptor Look Like?

A Handful of Renderings Imagines the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor in Different Colors
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We’ve seen a few renderings of the Bronco Raptor already and they show us what to expect from the production-spec Bronco Raptor. It will certainly be equipped with a lift kit and will ride higher than the standard Bronco. Bigger shoes, perhaps 35-inch as standard and 37- as optional, are a no-brainer. Then there are things like wider fender flares, wheels arches, and a wider track too.

The Bronco Raptor will also feature fully-functional hood scoop, larger skid plates, and underbody protection to safeguard the mechanical components and fuel tank.

Smaller steel bumpers will also surely be there for better approach and departure angles and mounts for auxiliary lights. The grille on the current Bronco itself has become synonymous with it, so we don’t think there will be a lot of tweaks. However, it could have a few elements from the Raptor grilles; the marker lights and stuff. And, of course, new exclusive colors!

What Engine Will the Ford Bronco Raptor Have?

2021 Ford Bronco Exterior High Resolution
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Ford will offer a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder mill or a 2.7-liter, V-6 with the Bronco at launch.

For the Bronco Raptor, Ford might consider dropping the smaller mill in favor of the bigger V-6.

In the Bronco, it makes 310 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. In other applications like the F-150, the same mill makes 325 horses. So, higher output from the 2.7-liter V-6 is the best bet at this moment. Another highly unlikely, but plausible option is a hybrid version of the V-6. A video was leaked recently that suggested that Ford is working on a hybrid system for the Bronco. If you break down the 2022 Ranger Hybrid’s math in this scenario, we could be looking at over 400 horses from the V-6. Not to mention, a hybrid’s extra torque would be more than welcome in an off-roader.

Jeep Unveils Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept Just So It Can Ruin Ford's Party Tonight
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Less than 12 hours before the Bronco was going to be unveiled, Jeep announced the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept with a V-8 engine plonked under the hood; the first for Wrangler in its 30-year history. With this, Ford’s glaring mistake to not introduce a V-8 mill in the Bronco came under scrutiny and enthusiasts were quick to draw comparisons. The Bronco Raptor might be Ford’s chance at redemption for Blue Oval to get even with Jeep. An aftermarket tuner, PaxPower, already announced a V-8 mod for the Bronco with 750+ horses in one of the iterations, but we could expect a more sedate V-8 from Ford that will be on par with Wrangler 392’s 450 horses and 450 pound-feet of torque.

There is also news about the Bronco Raptor featuring a 3.0-liter, V-6 engine from the Explorer ST and Lincoln Aviator.

Autoblog credited a YouTube channel, RevMatch TV, that cited inside sources for the same. This 3.0-liter, V-6 EcoBoost mill puts out 400 horses and 415 pound-feet of torque. Mind you, the video was posted well before the Wrangler V-8 news came out. If this mill really makes its way under the Raptor Bronco’s hood, then you could see a slight power bump to match its rival’s power figures.

As for the transmission, Ford will settle for the capable 10-speed automatic transmission and you can rule out the possibility of a manual gearbox landing in the Bronco Raptor.

Will the Ford Bronco Raptor Have Special Suspension?

The New Ford Bronco R Couldn't Handle the Baja 1000
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Of course, it will. This is what will make all of the difference. The Bronco in the standard form has a very capable High-performance Off-road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system. The Bronco Raptor could feature heavier-duty control arms, bushings, and shocks. The Bronco R race prototype that took part in the 2019 Baja 1000 race featured five-link independent suspension at the rear with 18 inches of travel, and a jacked-up independent front suspension with 14 inches of travel. This is a little extreme for a production-spec, street-legal Bronco Raptor, so we can expect it to come equipped with a system like the one on the F-150 Raptor. The truck comes with off-road FOX racing shocks and long-travel suspension.

2020 Ford Bronco R Race Prototype Exterior
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If Ford is indeed going the Baja-themed route for the Bronco Raptor, then you’re looking at shocks that could handle abuse, which includes driving over rocks and undulations at high speeds, and the vehicle bouncing and landing in the most awkward position that could even throw the person who’s driving it out of the vehicle. Beadlock wheels are a given, and so are all-terrain tires on all four corners that will work well with the heavy-duty suspension system.

2020 Jeep Gladiator
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If the Wrangler receives the same equipment like the Gladiator Mojave, then you’re looking at exclusive Fox hydraulic jounce bumpers that provide extra damping when the shocks are fully compressed, and 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs to keep the shock fluid cool under extreme conditions. This could serve as a benchmark for Ford while developing the Bronco Raptor’s suspension system.

When is the Ford Bronco Raptor Coming?

This is a tricky question. Ford has kept the Ranger Raptor away from the U.S. market for a very long time despite enthusiasts being vocal about having one here.

However, Ford has gone all guns blazing when it comes to the Bronco and we could very well receive a Bronco Raptor before the Ranger Raptor reaches our shores.

Ford hasn’t even announced a Bronco Raptor officially yet.

But, considering all the facts at hand, like the Jeep’s announcement of the V-8 Wrangler and the Mojave edition of the same, our guesstimate for the Ford Raptor Bronco’s arrival would be sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck 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. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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