In the competition for the top spot in the desert-racing pickup category, the difference between the top models, Ford's Raptor R, introduced yesterday, and Ram's 1500 TRX, isn't very much. Indeed, the distance between the F-150 Raptor R and the TRX is paper-thin.
In our story, Friday announcing the upcoming Raptor R intro Torque News speculated on the type of transmission that would link whatever powerplant that Ford stuffed into the engine bay while not focusing on the size of the engine. The reason, frankly, is that we didn't know – at that moment – just what would be powering the F-150 Raptor R, but now we do, thanks to the reporting of Automotive News.
According to the trade paper, Ford has crammed its 5.2-liter V-8 into the Raptor R. The 5.2-liter won't kick the Raptor R into top place in the horsepower wars now underway in the desert racing world. The difference between the Ram 1500 TRX and the Raptor R is minuscule.
Ford’, TRX Nearly The Same Powerwise
Ford's powerplant will crank out 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque, compared to the Ram offering's 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. In other words, if you have a tree stump that needs pulling, either vehicle will do its best to make that stump a hole in the ground.
From an ultimate performance aspect, the TRX and the Raptor R are on the same level, but the Raptor may be more agile. Ford notes that the "expected curb weight of 5,950 pounds … will make it [the Raptor R] a more agile, durable beast." The Raptor R will weigh about 400 pounds less than the TRX.
Automotive News, quoting Tony Greco, program manager for the F-150 Raptor, noted, "In the end, two or three horsepower doesn't really matter. It comes down to the power-to-weight ratio. It's a nimble, nimble monster, and that's what it takes to be fast in the environment we want to compete in and dominate."
As with the other Raptors, developed by Ford, the Raptor R is "meant for desert-racing enthusiasts." It is the automaker's "most powerful Raptor-badged vehicle to date." And while the "brand has been a hit for Ford and was recently expanded to the Bronco nameplate, enthusiasts have been clamoring for V-8 power for years," according to Automotive News.
The ‘Ultimate Raptor’
Carl Widmann, Ford's Performance chief engineer, noted in a statement that "Raptor R is our ultimate Raptor. When customers experience Raptor R in the desert and beyond, it will make the hairs on the back of their necks stand up."
Automotive News noted, "Ford already uses the 5.2-liter V-8 engine in the Mustang Shelby GT500, but officials say it's been upgraded for off-roading in the Raptor R."
Among the technical changes on the Raptor R, Automotive News said, is that the "superchanger has been recalibrated, and engineers installed a new pulley to increase power and torque density." Also, the engineering team "upgraded the engine's exhaust manifolds with a stainless steel design and unique oil cooler and filter." The engineers also increased the "air intake to help keep the engine cooler."
The Raptor R "features a new front axle with higher-strength carrier casting, as well as a larger diameter aluminum driveshaft and specially tuned torque converter."
Raptor R Suspension Features
Equipped with standard 37-inch tires, the Raptor R features a five-link rear suspension, which "debuted on the 2021 Raptor." The rear suspension also features "longer trailing arms and taller coil springs to enhance the stability, as well as advanced, specially tuned Fox live valve shocks."
From a design standpoint, the Raptor R pretty much sticks to the script of all other Raptors, though its hood is an inch higher than the base Raptor. The Raptor R also features "unique badging and accents."
Greco noted that the engineering team "didn't want to make it about the aesthetics. We wanted to make it about what's under the hood."
Todd Eckert, Ford's truck group marketing manager, said at this weekend's Raptor R intro that the automaker that he's not very "concerned about slicing the market too thin because Raptor appeals to a specific type of enthusiast who enjoys desert racing. Ford has continued to expand its vehicle lines "with new variants and sub-brands such as Timberline, FX4, and Tremor."
Ford Brands Meet Customer Needs
Eckert concluded that Ford has "really tried to scale them [the sub-brands] to hit the right customers in terms of the experience they're looking for. Off-roading is important" to truck owners. "We want to have offerings to choose the right experience for them and their needs."
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.