Ford is doubling down on its off-road offerings by combining the iconic Bronco 4x4 SUV with its legendary Raptor pickups to produce a Bronco Raptor that combines the Bronco’s incredible rock-crawling capability with the high-speed desert running capacity of a Raptor.
The keys to doing doing this are the Bronco Raptor’s increased suspension travel and track width for handling stability during high-speed desert runs. Of course, there’s more power too, as the Bronco Raptor’s twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.0-liter V6 engine is forecast to be rated at more than 400 horsepower when official numbers are released.
“We had to build the Bronco Raptor – it’s our ultimate vehicle for hardcore off-road enthusiasts who demand something more,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. “Like the Ultra4 desert race trucks, the ‘Raptor of SUVs’ conquers desert dunes at highway speeds and is equipped with competition-level off-road technology and hardware.”
The Raptor’s frame is a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with new shock towers that increase wheel travel and off-road durability. Under the truck, new heavy-duty bash and skid plates provide comprehensive driveline protection from the front bumper to the back of the engine, transmission, and transfer case. Meanwhile, the upper body enjoys B-pillar crossbar and C-pillar reinforcement for more than 50 percent total torsional rigidity increase over a standard Bronco four-door model.
Ford engineers bolted impressive suspension hardware to this frame that yields 60 percent more front suspension travel and 40 percent more rear travel compared to the base Bronco. Travel now measures 13.0-inches in the front and 14.0-inches in the rear thanks to the Ford Performance-designed control arms.
The Raptor features upgraded Fox dampers using that company’s Live Valve technology. It is similar to the F-150 Raptor truck’s position-sensitive damping design. These Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers (3.1-inch diameter) feature integrated reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in the rear. The truck’s electronic suspension height sensors monitor terrain conditions continuously and adjust the suspension tuning accordingly.
That suspension carries monstrous new axles. The solid rear axle is upgraded to a semi-float Dana 50 Heavy-Duty AdvanTEK with 235-millimeter ring gear, while the Dana 44 AdvanTEK front-drive unit includes upgraded half-shafts with 210-millimeter ring gear. They increase the track width by 8.6 inches (73.6 inches versus 65.0 inches) over a base Bronco for improved high-speed stability. That wider stance is covered by new sheet molding compound plastic front fender flares and rear fenders.
The axles carry larger front and rear driveshafts to handle the engine’s increased torque. The clutch is also upgraded to withstand the demands of high-performance desert events, and Raptor’s transfer case also features a 3.06 4x4 low-range ratio for up to 67.7:1 crawl ratio.
The Bronco Raptor’s massive 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires (37x12.50R17LT) are standard equipment. The truck includes heavier-duty inner and outer tie rod ends to help keep those tires pointed in the intended direction.
The nearly equal-length dual-exhaust system features active-valve technology for an improved exhaust note. Drivers can select among four different exhaust sound modes: Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja. So long as “Normal” means “Morning cold start and depart the street without annoying neighbors,” that should be enough options.
As a Bronco, the driver can also select among drive modes on the truck’s Terrain Management System. Ford calls these the G.O.A.T. Modes (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) that help drivers better navigate off-road. It features seven driver-selectable modes including a uniquely tuned Baja Mode that activates a turbo anti-lag calibration to maximize performance over high-speed desert runs.
There is also a Tow/Haul mode, which helps enable a tow rating of 4,500 pounds, a 1,000-pound improvement over the base model. Trail Control, Trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal Driving are the other choices.
While we look forward to the chance to experience a Bronco Raptor in person, customers won’t want to wait until then to order if they are serious, judging from how difficult it is to get popular models these days. Customers can begin placing orders in March. A majority of the 2022 model year Bronco Raptor allocation will go to existing reservation holders based upon their original reservation timestamp, according to Ford. Deliveries are expected to start in the summer. It looks like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be one of them, judging from his Tweet. Be sure to click through the slide show for a look at the images of the bare chassis' technical details to see why he wants one.