2022 Ford Bronco Raptor: Widebody, 37-Inch Tires, More Than 400 HP

Just look at those fender flares.

byLewin Day|
Ford News photo


The revived Ford Bronco won fans aplenty from the get-go because of its looks, its impressive off-road capabilities, and the fact that it's a convertible 4x4 whose name isn't "Jeep Wrangler." We knew Ford left a lot of performance on the table, though, and the Blue Oval itself has been teasing a Raptor variant for what feels like forever. Fortunately, the teasers are done with as the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor is here in full—and with a spec sheet like this one, it's only going to impress more.

Straight away, the Raptor variant is the most powerful street-legal production Bronco ever. You'd expect that, of course, and the rig's "more than 400" horsepower is produced by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. Tweaks have been made to this lump, which also appears in the Explorer ST, to help reduce induction losses. Ford then adds that it's taken the proper cooling measures to keep the truck going in high ambient temperatures. A 10-speed automatic handles the output from there, and a true dual exhaust system with active valving uses near-equal length pipes to let desert critters know you're coming through.

A strengthened transfer case was in order for this Bronco as well, and it touts a 3.06 4WD LO ratio with a crawl ratio of up to 67.7:1.

Then there's that truly unparalleled widebody, whose fender flares alone might be the most talked-about feature of the new Bronco Raptor. They had to be big—those tires are 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2s and they come standard—but the shape is really something. The Raptor's track width is increased by 8.6 inches over a standard Bronco's, and it's 9.8 inches wider overall; we've already seen it next to normal traffic and it looks gargantuan. Packed between these absurd tires and fender flares are a Dana 50 AdvanTEK solid rear axle and an upgraded Dana 44 front drive unit with upgraded halfshafts to withstand high-speed abuse.

Also to better handle fast-paced desert driving, the Bronco's frame has been strengthened. The fully-boxed steel base has new front and rear shock towers for better durability and increased wheel travel, while there have been further improvements made to the B-pillar crossbar and the C-pillar. The Raptor apparently totes a 50 percent increase in torsional rigidity over the base model, and the suspension is a whole lot more complex, too.

New-generation Fox equipment with Live Valve technology features 3.1-inch, internal bypass, position-sensitive dampers, a lot like the trick units you get on the F-150 Raptor. These can supposedly read the terrain ahead as fast as your brain can process visual information, a piece of trivia Ford has mentioned time and again though I've yet to prove myself. It's all part of the Bronco Raptor's High-Speed Off-Road Stability Suspension, or HOSS 4.0 setup. 

All these upgrades combine to give the Bronco Raptor a full 13 inches of wheel travel at the front, and 14 inches at the rear. That's an improvement over the base Bronco of 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Ground clearance is much improved too, standing at a full 13.1 inches, which is 4.8 inches taller than the base four-door truck and 1.6 inches more than a Sasquatch model with 35s.

Special bash and skid plates all along the drivetrain work together to create a Bronco that can take serious punishment offroad from big whoops and hard landings. We've already seen that the prototype Bronco Raptor can take a jump, just like its F-150 sibling, so expect to have a ball out on the dunes without going home on a tow truck.

As if it wasn't a given, a Raptor-specific Baja drive mode maximizes high-speed desert run performance and handling. It's pretty much the equivalent of full-send mode, which is what some people will surely keep it in 80 percent of the time. Delightfully, a new tow/haul mode means the truck can handle a 4,500-pound trailer—a 1,000-pound gain over any other Bronco. 

Body mods include the menacing hood and redesigned quarter panels made in composite material, along with those monster-sized fender flares at each corner. The flares come complete with aggressive cooling vents and are paired with other heat-extracting ducts in the body, too, so they really do serve a purpose.

Practical considerations include thick skid plates underneath as well as reinforced rock rails with removable running boards, all of which should help with rock crawling duties. Finer touches include Raptor-specific LED headlights with amber running lamps and new taillights at the rear. A graphics package will be available for those wanting to shout "Raptor!" from the rooftops as well.

The front end gets a modular steel bumper complete with tow hooks and removable end caps for the best clearance off-road, along with a set of removable Rigid LED fog lamps for visibility. 

Interior touches include a Raptor-exclusive performance view on the instrument cluster with clear speed and tachometer readings for high-speed driving. An optional High Package adds a new 12-inch touchscreen, an information on-demand panel, and exterior cameras for a 360-degree view around the vehicle. The Lux package takes things further, including a 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system and adaptive cruise control.

Code Orange accents are also par for the course, seen on the rotary dial, steering wheel stitching, and other touchpoints; even Code Orange seatbelts are available for a further pop of color. Meanwhile, there's plenty of carbon fiber around, used on grab handles, the shifter, and the steering wheel, with the latter sporting a thicker sport contour design for improved feel. The Ford Performance-designed front seats are also provisioned with aggressive side bolsters to keep passengers seated in the rough stuff. 

Overall, the Bronco Raptor is a major reworking of what was already an incredibly capable off-road vehicle. With the frame, suspension, engine, axles, wheels, and tires all seeing upgrades, the resulting fun-haver machine promises to be a scary-fast proposition when peeling out in the desert, while improving its articulation and abilities on the chunkier, slower trails too. More is better, as they say, and Ford looks to be delivering that in spades.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com 

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