Stellantis’ love of “Easter eggs” compelled designers of the Ram 1500 TRX to include a graphic of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing a comparatively tiny velociraptor in the center console, with a more graphic image of a raptor being chomped by a T-Rex under the hood. Yes, that Hellcat-powered desert destroyer clearly caught Ford—which invented the factory Baja-racer category with its F-150 Raptor—flat-footed. But Ford is ready to more than even the score this fall with the introduction of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, powered by the aptly named “Predator” supercharged V-8 borrowed from the Shelby GT500 and significantly modified.
Raptor R Power & Torque
Let’s not bury the lede here: In an F-150 Raptor R, the 5.2-liter Predator V-8 makes 700 hp at 6,650 rpm (down from the GT500’s 760 hp at 7,300 rpm) and 640 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm (up from 625 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm). This recalibration reflects the mission shift from track star to Baja 1000 trophy truck. They also allow this engine to haul 1,400 pounds of payload, lug an 8,700-pound trailer, and pass Ford’s rigorous pickup-truck durability test cycles while spinning four gigantic 37-inch diameter tires (10 inches larger than a GT500 tire). And though that modest increase in peak torque may seem unimpressive, we’re assured that torque increases by an average of 25 percent across the entire rev range. (Save your Googling—the TRX’s pushrod engine makes 702 hp at 6,100 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm, and its payload and tow ratings are 1,300 and 8,100 pounds.)
How Fast Is the Raptor R?
The same 120-mph governed top speed as the Raptor 37 will apply, but, weighing in at around 6,100 pounds, the weight-to-power ratio drops from the 3.5-liter Raptor 37’s 13.3 lb/hp to 8.6, so we’re confident the 0-60-mph time will drop from the 37’s 5.6 seconds to perhaps 3.8 seconds or quicker. For those keeping score at home, the 6,760-pound (9.6 lb/hp) Ram TRX needs 4.1 seconds. You’ll basically need four electric motors to go faster in a pickup truck. (The Rivian R1T: 8.6 lb/hp, 3.1 seconds to 60 mph).
Dialing Up the Raptor R’s Torque
Nobody’s bombing across a desert at 180 mph, so high-rpm power is deemphasized. Reducing the redline from 7,500 to 7,000 rpm allowed the supercharger pulley diameter to shrink, which means the Eaton TVS R2650 blower spools up more quickly at lower rpm (boosting low- and mid-range torque) without fear of over-revving at the top end. Breathing is also improved with a new conical air filter that improves airflow by 66 percent. On the exhaust side are new cast stainless-steel headers feeding a dual exhaust system that includes a true pass-through muffler where sound pulses from each bank can intermingle. These cast headers don’t flow quite as freely as the GT500’s tubular ones, but they can survive repeated Davis-dam, max-towing pulls. Gone is the V-6 Raptor’s exhaust-pipe trombone loop, and the active noise valve feature is recalibrated for the R.
The engine’s lubrication circuit is significantly enhanced with a deeper, higher-capacity oil pan and a bar-plate oil-to-water cooling system that’s integrated into the engine cooling circuit—a setup that works better for towing than the GT500’s track-optimized oil-to-air cooler. There’s also a new viscous aluminum crankshaft balancer.
You can’t simply yank out a 450-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo V-6, slap in a 700-hp/640-lb-ft V-8, and then send it off with a factory warranty. The 10-speed automatic’s torque converter is fortified with a heavy-duty turbine damper and a beefy four-pinion output assembly. The shift programming is tuned to deliver the quickest shifts of any Ford 10-speed. The torque is then transmitted aft through a larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft, and forward to a new front axle featuring a strengthened spider-gear carrier and structurally reinforced front cover.
Ford basically introduced the Raptor R’s chassis last year, dubbed Raptor 37 to denote its class-largest tires. To that already reinforced platform’s reinforced jounce bumper mounts, stronger front Fox shocks, and a new crossmember, trailer hitch, and winch mount for the underslung 37-inch spare, the R adds only unique calibration of the Fox Live Valve shocks and front springs that are stiffened by 5 percent to accommodate the roughly 80 additional pounds of the V-8 powertrain.
Outside, the Raptor R is distinguished by Code Orange front tow hooks and an orange R on the grille, a 1-inch-taller power dome in the hood (for looks as the engine requires no extra clearance), and unique graphics. The hood and rear flanks get appliqués that look like a cracked desert floor filled in with a zillion little 8s and one single “V” on the driver-side rear. Inside, there’s a full black-out package with gloss black dash panels, carbon-fiber accents with a unique “triaxial” weave, and unique standard Recaro seat coverings. The black leather and Alcantara upholstery is accented with Code Orange stitching and the seatbacks are embroidered with a RAPTOR logo featuring an orange R at the end.
How Soon and How Much?
The order banks are open now for dealer deliveries starting in fall 2022 at a somewhat eye-watering all-inclusive price of $109,145. Buyers’ only options will be the choice of eight colors (including an exclusive Avalanche Gray) and a panoramic sunroof likely to cost somewhere around $1,495 as it does on lesser F-150s. A similarly configured TRX rings in at around $102,000, so that’s either a bold ask, it’s factoring in considerable inflation, it aims to deprive dealers of their markup, or maybe it’s Ford’s subtler answer to Ram’s T-Rex versus raptor Easter egg graphics.
|2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Specifications||2021 Ram 1500 TRX Specifications|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||5.2L/700-hp/640-lb-ft port-injected supercharged DOHC 32-valve V-8||6.2L/702-hp/650-lb-ft port-injected supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8|
|TRANSMISSION||10-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||6,000 lb (57/43%, est)||6,760 lb (56/44%)|
|WHEELBASE||145.4 in||145.1 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||232.6 x 86.6 x 80.7 in||232.6 x 87.0 x 80.6 in
|0-60 MPH||3.8 sec (MT est)||4.1 sec|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet rated||10/14/12 mpg|
|EPA RANGE||450 miles (est)||396 miles|
|ON SALE||Fall 2022||Now|
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