2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R revealed with supercharged V8


Ford has inserted the 522kW supercharged V8 from the Shelby Mustang GT500 into the F-150 Raptor pick-up – but an Australian launch is yet to be confirmed.

Alex Misoyannis

The V8-powered 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R has been revealed, as the most powerful vehicle to wear the Raptor badge – but an Australian launch is yet to be locked in.

As promised a year ago, the F-150 Raptor R returns a V8 to Ford’s F-150 Raptor off-road pick-up – after two generations of 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6s – using the 5.2-litre supercharged V8 heart of America’s Mustang Shelby GT500 muscle car.

Built to rival the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 Ram 1500 TRX, the F-150 Raptor R develops 522kW and 868Nm – an increase of 192kW/177Nm over the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 F-150 Raptor, but down 1kW/14Nm over the Ram.

While the Ram is now on sale in Australia through a factory-backed, right-hand-drive conversion process, Ford Australia has not confirmed plans to offer the F-150 Raptor R as part of the ‘remanufactured’ local F-150 range – due here next year with twin-turbo V6 power.

Speaking to media earlier this year, Ford Australia president Andrew Birkic said the company would focus on getting production of the standard F-150 XLT and Lariat range up and running, before introducing other variants.

“Let’s get [the standard Ford F-150] down the line. Let’s spend the time on the remanufacture, let’s get it out to our customers. And then I think we’ll move on to the next step. So there’s no hard and fast timing. What we want to do is ensure the process is robust and we do it really well,” Birkic said.

While the F-150 Raptor R is a touch less powerful (and more expensive) than the Ram, US media outlets report Ford’s hero pick-up weighs about 2700kg (5950lb) – a not-insignificant 220kg less than the TRX (2920kg/6439lb), or nearly 10 per cent.

That should translate to a marked improvement in the 0-100km/h acceleration time, compared to the 4.5-second 0-60mph (97km/h) quoted for the Ram 1500 TRX – though Ford doesn’t claim an official figure.

Compared to the Mustang GT500, the 5.2-litre ‘Predator’ V8 in the Raptor R has been retuned for off-road use, with more torque (but less power) than the Shelby, upgraded supercharger and intake parts, and a new oil system.

Power in the F-150 Raptor R is sent to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission – strengthened to support the V8’s torque, with a larger driveshaft and heavy-duty torque converter – and a full-time four-wheel-drive system.

It breathes through a unique dual exhaust system with active valves – controlled through four settings (Normal, Sport, Quiet and Baja), as part of a number of drive modes, with a ‘R’ shortcut button on the steering wheel.

Under the skin, the V8 Raptor R shares the V6 Raptor’s electronically-controlled Fox Live Valve shock absorbers, with suspension height and other sensors to monitor the terrain and adjust themselves “hundreds of times a second”.

Rear coil springs measuring 610mm aid up to 330mm of front and 356mm of rear wheel travel – while Ford claims 333mm of ground clearance, a 33.1-degree approach angle, 24.4-degree breakover angle and 24.9-degree departure angle.

Fitted as standard are 17-inch “beadlock-capable” matte black alloy wheels and 37-inch (940mm) BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tyres, both typically optional on the twin-turbo V6 F-150 Raptor.

Despite over 50 per cent more power under the bonnet, the F-150 Raptor R’s brakes are unchanged from the V6 model, with 350x34mm front and 336x20mm discs clamped by two-piston front and one-piston rear calipers.

The Ford F-150 Raptor R receives the same wide-body treatment as the standard F-150 Raptor, with the signature ‘FORD’ grille, wider arches, off-road bumpers, and large bonnet vent.

Visual differences between the V8 Raptor R and V6 Raptor comprise a 25mm-taller ‘power dome’ intake on the bonnet, a black finish for the grille, bumpers and flares, R badges in Code Orange, and a unique optional graphics package.

Inside, standard Recaro sports bucket seats are trimmed in leather and suede, while “genuine” carbon fibre is applied across the doors, dashboard and upper instrument panel.

Standard features include a 12-inch centre touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, off-road cruise control, a one-pedal rock crawling mode, and a Trail Turn Assist system that “allows drivers to shrink their turning radius on tight turns” by braking the inside rear wheel.

Eight exterior colours are available, including two new finishes: Avalanche (grey) and Azure Gray Tri-Coat.

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is now available to order in the US, ahead of first deliveries later this year. An Australian launch is yet to be confirmed.

Prices in the US are set to start from $US109,145 ($AU159,500) – $US30,000 ($AU44,000) more than a Ram 1500 TRX, though the latter requires about $US20,000 ($AU29,000) in options to match the Raptor R’s standard equipment levels.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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