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Potential buyers of the wildly popular Ford Bronco have a new high-end option to consider if they want to take it up a notch or 10. The Bronco Raptor provides off-roaders with next-level performance in the form of the world's first Ultra4 Racing-inspired SUV. Ford Performance, the same team that produces the F-150 Raptor, designed and engineered Bronco Raptor specifically for hardcore off-road enthusiasts.
Ultra4 Racing is the epitome of grueling off-road competition, featuring demanding races such as the famed King of the Hammers in the Johnson Valley in California, where Bronco Raptor will be on display on Feb. 3. Ford and Bronco are the official truck and SUV of the Ultra4 series.
To build the world's first Ultra4-inspired SUV, Ford Performance set the bar high. Bronco Raptor had to be even faster and bring more off-road capability, agility, and maneuverability than Bronco already delivers.
"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."
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. At the Raptor core is a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame with new shock towers that increase wheel travel and off-road durability. Heavy-duty bash and skid plates provide continuous driveline coverage from the front bumper to the back of the engine, transmission, and transfer case. In the upper body, B-pillar cross-bar and C-pillar reinforcement help deliver a greater than 50% total body-in-prime torsional rigidity increase over a standard Bronco four-door model.
Competition-level, Ford Performance-developed axles, also used on the Bronco DR race truck, further deliver on the Ultra4 inspiration. The solid rear axle is upgraded to a semi-float Dana 50 Heavy-Duty AdvanTEK with 235-mm ring gear, while the Dana 44 AdvanTEK front-drive unit includes upgraded half-shafts with 210-mm ring gear. These upgraded front and rear axles increase the track width by 8.6 in. over a base Bronco (73.6 in. vs. 65 in.) for even more sure-footed confidence. Larger front and rear driveshafts support increased wheel torque. Bronco Raptor also runs with a minimum ground clearance of 13.1 in., 4.8 in. more than a base four-door model.
An advanced 4x4 system with three modes includes a higher-capacity clutch designed to withstand the demands of high-performance desert events. The upgraded transfer case also features a 3.06 4x4 LO ratio for up to 67.7:1 crawl ratio.
The Ford Performance team collaborated with FOX to upgrade the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system with Live Valve technology. Similar to the F-150 Raptor truck's position-sensitive damping design, the Raptor HOSS 4.0 system features FOX 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers (3.1-in. diameter) that are uniquely tuned at the front and rear and feature integrated reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in rear. Suspension height sensors and other sensors at each corner monitor terrain conditions independently hundreds of times every second and adjust suspension tuning accordingly.
Unique Ford Performance-designed front and rear control arms help deliver maximum wheel travel of 13 in. in front and 14 in. at the rear, or 60% and 40% more, respectively, than a Bronco base model. The vehicle's standard BFGoodrich 37-in. KO2 all-terrain tires (37x12.50R17LT) are the largest of any production SUV in America. Two Ford Performance-designed 17-in. x 8.5-in. beadlock-capable wheels are available. An electric-power steering rack and housing influenced by F-150 Raptor, as well as larger-diameter inner and outer tie rod ends, were added to further upgrade Bronco Raptor.
To give Bronco Raptor even more desert-running power, the Ford powertrain team developed the proven twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with specific Raptor-level tuning to meet Ford Performance standards. With a target of more than 400 hp, Bronco Raptor will be the most powerful street-legal Bronco ever, with intercooling and air-induction systems designed to endure the higher ambient desert temperatures.
For higher-speed desert capabilities or crawling over rocks, the compacted graphite iron-block engine, which saves weight while providing strength for added durability, is paired with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. A true dual-exhaust system, featuring first-for-Bronco active-valve technology, uses near-equal-length pipes for an improved exhaust note. The system allows drivers to alter the sound of their Bronco Raptor with four selectable exhaust modes, including Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja.
Bronco Raptor builds on the brand's exclusive G.O.A.T. Modes (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) Terrain Management System designed to help drivers better navigate in off-road driving. Seven driver-selectable modes include a uniquely tuned Baja Mode that activates a turbo anti-lag calibration to maximize performance over high-speed desert runs. New to Bronco is Tow/Haul mode, which helps enable a tow rating of 4,500 lb, a 1,000-lb improvement over the base model. Trail Control, Trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal Driving are also included.
Familiar Ford block lettering at the front stretches across the signature two-piece rectangular grille. Model-specific LED headlights featuring amber daytime running lamps and integrated amber marker lamps further tie in the DNA of Raptor to provide a menacing look. A heavy-duty modular steel front bumper by Ford Performance features tow hooks, removable bumper end caps for improved off-road clearance, integrated removable Rigid LED fog lamps, and Rigid off-road lamps for greater illumination.
The hood on Bronco Raptor is made of sheet-molding compound, offering the design team the ability to dramatically sculpt its muscular shape. An integrated hood vent is molded-in-color Carbon Black and fender vents are painted body color. Raptor logos on the left and right of the hood bulge hint at the twin-turbo power underneath.
Bronco Raptor leverages the Bronco SUV's patented off-road modular design, stripped it to its base, and replaced components with unique-to-Raptor front and rear quarter-panels, fenders, fender flares, and door appliques. Sheet-molding compound is once again used to sculpt the wider front fenders and integrated bodyside heat-extraction ducts, which provide additional engine cooling. Sheet-molding compound rear-quarter panels are equally bolstered for a muscular look. Together with fender flares, Bronco Raptor sits 9.8 in. wider than a standard Bronco. Bronco Raptor-specific reinforced rock rails with removable running boards increase rock crawling capability.
Exterior colors include Hot Pepper Red Metallic, Velocity Blue Metallic, Eruption Green Metallic, Shadow Black, Iconic Silver Metallic, Area 51, Cactus Gray, Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat, Oxford White, plus Ford Performance-exclusive Code Orange paint.
Inside, Bronco Raptor features a familiar heritage-inspired horizontal dash, integrating an all-digital 12-in. cluster. The cluster allows drivers to select from various views, including a Bronco Raptor-exclusive Performance View that emphasizes tachometer and gear readings and allows the customization of gauges.
Base Bronco Raptor models are equipped with Black Onyx marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized washout flooring. The dark interior is accented with Ford Performance Code Orange splashes on the G.O.A.T. Modes rotary dial, dash vents, door netting, steering wheel stitching, and Bronco logo on the instrument panel. Even the push-button ignition lights up in Code Orange. Touchpoints such as the grab handles, steering wheel bezel, and gear shifter wear low-gloss carbon fiber accents.
Owners can opt for upgraded features such as all-new laser-perforated Black Onyx Neo suede seats, vinyl-wrapped instrument panel topper, leather-wrapped outer seat bolsters, and carpet flooring. A thicker and sport-contoured steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters and gloss black Raptor logo center continues the Ford Performance treatment. Ford Performance-designed front seats are unique to Bronco Raptor.
Bronco Raptor comes standard with a High Package that includes SYNC4 with 12-in. touchscreen with swipe capability, information on-demand panel, and enhanced voice recognition. Other technology features include an exterior camera with 360-degree viewing capability. The Lux Package is available for customers looking for even more human-centered technology, such as an available 10-speaker B&O audio system and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Ford did not release pricing, but Car and Driver says the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor will start at $69,995.
Customers can begin placing orders in March. Go to ford.com/bronco/ for updates. There is no official Ford page for this vehicle yet -- you will just have to check back or sign up for updates.
Sources: Ford Motor Co., Car and Driver
Published February 2022