Ford Teases V8 F-150 Raptor R

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Each new generation of athletes breaks most of the old records. The fact that Margaret Okayo won the New York City Marathon in 2:22:31 doesn’t make Lisa Ondieki’s 2:24:40 a generation before any less impressive. It just means we’ve pushed the limits of performance further every year.

When the Ford F-150 Raptor appeared for the 2010 model year, it introduced an entirely new kind of performance. It was essentially a truck with two trucks’ worth of suspension. Added ground clearance, bracing, and suspension travel so long it needed a passport made it arguably the most capable truck ever built.

The Raptor didn’t need a monstrous engine. Its trick was to drive as fast as a decent engine could over terrain so rough no other truck could negotiate it.

But other athletes have come along and pushed the limits of performance further. Notably, the Raptor now faces competition from Ram’s awe-inspiring 1500 TRX. The T-Rex carries a 702-horsepower V8.

Ford has built V8-powered Raptors before — for race courses. An F-150 SVT Raptor R competed in the Baja 1000 when the truck was brand new. But it wasn’t street legal. And it wasn’t for sale.

All that is about to change.

This week, Ford invited a group of automotive journalists to test out the Bronco Raptor high-powered SUV in the California Desert near Johnson Valley. While the scribes were testing out the beefiest Bronco, Ford teased them.

Like Maverick doing a flyby without permission, a Ford driver buzzed the journalists in a V8-powered Raptor R. It’s real, and Ford has confirmed that it’s both street legal and headed for showrooms.

That’s nearly all we know for now. To compete with Ram’s carnivorous dinosaur, it will need a V8 putting out at least 700 horsepower. Rumors say it will get the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500. That powerplant makes 760 horses in sports car tune but would need modification to pull truck duty.

We’ll bring more details when we have them. For now, we can confirm that the Raptor R is real and not just for race duty this time.

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