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Ford's Bronco Gets a High-Performance Makeover With the Launch of the 400+ HP ‘Raptor' Edition

Ford's Bronco Gets a High-Performance Makeover With the Launch of the 400+ HP ‘Raptor' Edition

Author: Eric Walz   

Ford Motor Co unveiled the Bronco Raptor on Monday, the newest version of the resurrected Bronco SUV, which was one of the biggest vehicle launches for the automaker in 2021.

With the addition of Bronco Raptor, Ford expands its Raptor high-performance off-road vehicle portfolio, which also includes F-150 Raptor for North America and Ranger Raptor for global markets.

The Bronco Raptor is the most powerful street-legal Bronco ever, according to Ford. The automaker also says it's the world's first Ultra4 Racing-inspired SUV. It was designed and engineered by the automaker's high-performance division Ford Performance for serious off-road enthusiasts by delivering a higher level of performance and ruggedness.

The Bronco Raptor comes with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter engine that was specifically tuned to meet the high standards of Ford Performance with a target of 400+ horsepower. The turbo-charged engine features intercooling and air-induction systems designed to keep it cooler in higher ambient desert temperatures.

The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission tuned by Ford Performance.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor_details_04.jpg

The Bronco Raptor's turbo-charged engine features intercooling and air-induction systems.

Ford and Bronco will be the official truck and SUV of the Ultra4 series, which is a grueling off-road competition. Each year its features the famed "King of the Hammers" in the desert regions of Johnson Valley in California. King of the Hammers is considered the toughest one-day off road race in the world. It combines desert racing and rock crawling. It takes place each February in Johnson Valley.

The new Bronco Raptor will be on display at the event on Feb. 3.

"Raptor is the apex of our off-road lineup and is now a full lineup with race proven content and design that you can't get from anyone else," said Jim Farley, chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company. "Only Ford could create a Bronco Raptor."

The new Ford Bronco, such as the Outer Bank and Badlands editions, are already built for off-road adventures, but the Raptor edition takes this up to the next level. Ford Performance added more off-road capability and agility than the Bronco already delivers.

The Raptor builds on the Bronco's exclusive Goes Over Any Type of Terrain (G.O.A.T.) Terrain Management System, which is designed to help drivers better navigate off-road. 

Seven driver-selectable modes include a specially tuned Baja Mode that activates a turbo anti-lag calibration to maximize performance over high-speed desert runs. Trail Control, Trail Turn Assist and Trail One-Pedal Driving are also included.

"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."

A High Performance Makeover for the Bronco Raptor

Starting with the Bronco frame foundation, the Ford Performance team knew it needed a Raptor-specific version for increased suspension travel and track width for handling stability during high-speed desert runs. 

The core of the Bronco Raptor features a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame with redesigned shock towers that Ford says increases wheel travel and off-road durability. The Ford Performance team also added heavy-duty bash and skid plates to protect the driveline from the front bumper to the back of the engine, transmission and transfer case. 

The Bronco Raptor gets additional B-pillar and C-pillar reinforcement, which Ford says results in more than 50% total body-in-prime torsional rigidity increase compared to the standard Bronco four-door model. 

Ford also added competition-level axles, which are more rugged. The solid rear axle for the Raptor was 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 mm ring gear. The Dana 44 AdvanTEK axles are also used by Jeep for the Wrangler, which is a close competitor to the new Bronco family of SUVs. 

The upgraded front and rear axles also increase the track width by another 8.6 inches to 73.6 versus the 65-inch track width of the base Bronco. The wider stance gives the Raptor better stability and handling for serious off-road adventures.

The larger front and rear driveshafts support increased wheel torque. The Bronco Raptor has a minimum ground clearance of 13.1 inches to travel over rugged terrain, which is 4.8 inches more than the base four-door Bronco.

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Ford Performance also redesigned the Raptor's front and rear control arms, which deliver maximum wheel travel of 13 inches in front and 14 inches at the rear, which is roughly 60% and 40% more than the Bronco base model. Ford also added an electric-power steering rack and housing and larger-diameter inner and outer tie rod ends. 

Ford Performance also added an advanced 4x4 system with three drive modes, as well as a higher-capacity clutch designed to withstand the demands of high-performance off-road events like King of the Hammers.

"As the most badass Bronco yet, the Bronco Raptor design is extreme," said Paul Wraith, Bronco design chief. "It's muscular, while maintaining an underlying simplicity with performance-focused details added only for outstanding high-speed capability."

The Ford Performance team collaborated with suspension company FOX to upgrade the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system with Live Valve technology.  The Raptor HOSS 4.0 system features Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers that are tuned at the front and rear and feature integrated reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in rear. 

The setup is similar to the F-150 Raptor's position-sensitive damping design. The system uses suspension height sensors at each corner, which monitor terrain conditions independently hundreds of times every second and adjust suspension tuning accordingly. These shocks provide a smooth and comfortable feeling on the pavement with aggressive control and stability at high speeds off-road.

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The Bronco Raptor also comes with a dual exhaust system that features active-valve technology and near-equal-length pipes for an improved exhaust note. The system allows drivers to alter the exhaust note with four selectable modes, including Normal, Sport, Quiet and Baja.

The Bronco Raptor comes with standard 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires (37x12.50R17LT), which are the largest for any production SUV in America, according to Ford. 

The original Ford Bronco was launched in 1966 as a rugged, all-purpose adventure vehicle. It was discontinued in 1996 after a 30-year run. Ford announced it was coming back in 2019. The company said it purposefully designed the new versions to capture the appeal and DNA of the original, but with more modern technology aimed at today's outdoor enthusiasts.

Customers can place their Bronco Raptor orders in March. However, Ford said that a majority of the 2022 model year Bronco Raptor allocation will go to existing reservation holders based upon their original reservation timestamp. Ford says it will send communications later this month soliciting reservation holders' interest in Bronco Raptor. 

Deliveries of the Bronco Raptor will start in the summer.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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