After eight years without one, the Ford F-150 Raptor lineup finally has a V8 again. It's potent, too, with 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque coming from 5.2 liters of displacement and an Eaton supercharger. Really, the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is just what we expected, and that's a good thing—just know it'll cost you at least $109,145 to buy one.
It builds on everything the regular Raptor does so well, all while offering the best features as standard. That means every R model gets 37-inch BF Goodrich tires, resulting in 13.1 inches of ground clearance, 33.1 degrees of approach angle, 24.4 degrees of breakover, and 24.9 degrees of departure. The Fox Live Valve shocks also stick around, which are worth talking about at length, along with the stellar five-link coil rear suspension that provides 14.1 inches of travel out back. Oh, and don't forget that Panhard bar.
The honkin' engine is the main draw, though. It's shared with the Mustang Shelby GT500, and although the Predator V8 makes 60 fewer horsepower in this application, torque is up by 15 pound-feet. That's on purpose as trucks perform different jobs than sports cars. The F-150 Raptor R also uses a stronger version of the same 10-speed transmission that's in the non-R model, so no dual-clutch here. A new torque converter packages a heavy-duty turbine damper and four-pinion rear output assembly, which is all to say it's better suited to manage the gobs of extra power. In turn, it spins a larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft.
While Ford will tell you every chance it gets about how the F-150 Raptor R was developed in the desert, it really does make a difference in how the performance pickup operates. By testing in places like Johnson Valley, California—where they race King of the Hammers—Ford learned what it takes to keep everything in one piece. The development team also found what it takes to keep that big, boosted power plant cool.
There are R-specific upgrades in place specifically for cooling, like a deeper oil pan meant to assist on steep grades as well as an improved oil cooler. The rig's air intake volume is up 66 percent, too, thanks to a wider inlet. Finally, what Ford's calling the power dome on the hood extracts warm air from underneath, meaning it contributes to more than just aesthetics.
Almost everything that takes an impact at speed has been strengthened. Ford tells me that the axles are built in-house at its Sterling Axle facility, and while they're similar to the EcoBoost Raptor's, they've been appropriately reinforced. Then, the independent front suspension features double wishbones, steel upper control arms, and aluminum lower control arms for weight savings. Ford has been in the high-speed Baja segment for nearly a decade now and is on its third-generation F-150 Raptor, so it's got a pretty good idea of what needs to be done from a performance and durability standpoint.
It'd be wrong to call the F-150 Raptor R subtle, though the visual changes aren't super noticeable unless you know what you're looking for. It has Code Orange accents both inside and outside, including on the tailgate, front grille, and bedside graphics that you can go with or without. That power dome also stands roughly an inch higher than the EcoBoost-powered truck's, but until you hear the V8's deep exhaust note, you might not know it's an R until it's already past.
A full four-door crew cab with a 5.5-foot bed is the only configuration available, which is pretty much a given at this point. Once you climb into that cab, you'll see maybe the furthest thing from a barebones command center. It's got Recaro seats as standard that are covered in black leather and Alcantara, plus legit carbon fiber inserts on the door panels, media bin door, and parts of the dash. Then there's the 12-inch infotainment screen, which is horizontal instead of vertical like the larger 15-inch display in some higher-trimmed F-150s.
A crispy clear driver information screen fills you in on everything from speed to revs, telemetry, temperatures, and so on. That's also where you see the truck's different modes for the steering, exhaust, and Fox suspension, which can be toggled via buttons on the steering wheel. You can even configure each one individually and save your selections as a preset so when you pick the dedicated R mode, it dials up your preferences in a jiffy. If you want comfort steering, a soft suspension, and loud exhaust, for example, you could do that.
Circling back to F-150 Raptor R's $109,145 base price, that's about $27,000 more than a normal Raptor on 37s. It's also a good deal more than the Ram TRX, which starts at $80,685. Regardless, the order banks are open now, and production is set to begin this fall.
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