Hard-core 556kW V8 pick-up is odds on for Australia but could cost $200K
Is this ultimate tradie toolbox? You better believe it.
Blending battle-ready body-armour and go-anywhere tyres and suspension with a big blown V8, the new Ford F-150 Raptor R has been spied undergoing testing in the US and it’s very likely to make its way into Ford’s Australian showrooms with a full factory warranty.
Not content to play second fiddle to the circa-$180,000 RAM 1500 TRX, which is finally set to become officially available in Australia in coming months, the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor R could give its arch-rival a kicking thanks to a recent heart-transplant.
These recent spy photos show what appears to be a pre-production version of the range-topping Raptor R version of the 14th-generation Ford F-150, which is expected to swap out its 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 (335kW/690Nm) for a fire-breathing 5.2-litre supercharged V8 that should be good for a spleen-popping 556kW of power.
In case you missed the promotional barrage, the all-American Ford F-150 pick-up will return to Ford dealerships in Australia mid-way through 2023 via a local conversion program, and it’s almost certain that high-end model-grades like the F-150 Raptor and Raptor R will also be sold here, given the Aussie car market’s appetite for high-end utes.
While the pre-production Raptor R pictured here looks almost identical to a standard V6-powered F-150 Raptor, sharp-eyed readers will note the taped-over ‘R’ badge on the grille.
Ford has not yet officially confirmed either F-150 Raptor variant for Australia, but compared to the standard Raptor the R will bring several enhancements headlined by the fitment of a return to V8 firepower – widely expected to come in the form of the hand-built 556kW/847Nm unit from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.
Outputs for the Ford F-150 Raptor R are still unknown but you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll outdo the RAM 1500 TRX’s ballistic 522kW/868Nm figures from its outrageous 6.2-litre supercharged Hellcat V8.
It remains to be seen whether the F-150 Raptor R it can snatch the title of world’s fastest pick-up truck from the TRX, the bigger engine in which combines with 4×4 traction and an eight-speed transmission to ensure a 0-97km/h sprint of just 4.5 seconds and a 190km/h top speed.
Ultimately, Ford’s four-decade domination of North America’s full-size pick-up market means it’s unlikely to give the RAM 1500 TRX bragging rights for very long.
That said, these eye-popping performance numbers may become academic when quad-motor high-performance electric utes start rocking up at the drag strip on Friday nights.
Beyond the brutal V8 engine, other changes for the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R are set to include enhanced suspension via stronger trailing arms, unique wheels (and potentially tyres), a subtle new look including ‘R’ badging and a new grille design, plus several cabin enhancements.
Production is expected to take place at Ford’s Dearborn F-150 truck plant in Michigan and, given the predatory pick-up’s race-bred engine, it’s likely to be a very expensive and in-demand vehicle, which means it could take its sweet time making its way to Australia.
Given the RAM 1500 TRX price could hover around the $180,000 mark in Australia, there’s no reason to suggest a Shelby Mustang-powered Ford F-150 Raptor R won’t cost around $200,000 to get on the road.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R’s global reveal is expected to occur later in 2022, before it hits at least the US market as a 2023 model year vehicle.
Can Ford flip pre-history on its head and demonstrate that a raptor can indeed slay a T-rex? If so, expect significant backlash from palaeontologists everywhere.