GO, NO GO: While the Bronco may not be headed Down Under, Ford did say it is interested in pursuing events like the Finke Desert Race in the future.
The all-new Ford Ranger Raptor is a truly radical redesign of the outgoing model, with nearly twice the power and suspected sub-six second 0-100km/h potential, but its wagon twin is still out of reach for Australians.
Despite sharing much of the Bronco Raptor’s DNA, Ford Australia CEO Andrew Birkic told Go Auto we will only get the Ranger Raptor for now.
“The Bronco is an amazing vehicle and we’re certainly proud of it,” he said.
“As you know it’s doing super well over in the US, but there is no right-hand-drive version. So, at this stage it’s not available.”
In the US a Bronco Raptor will set buyers back $US68,500 ($101,021), so the $85,490 price tag for the Ranger Raptor does represent strong value given how much is shared across the two vehicles.
If demand is anything to go by, with 5,000 orders placed so far, Australians are still more than happy with a ute-based Raptor.
The Ranger Raptor shares the same powertrain as the Bronco Raptor, albeit reworked and ever so slightly detuned. Despite spitting out a few less ponies though, the new Ranger Raptor has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Bronco and F-150 Raptor variants.
The locally developed Ranger Raptor scores Ford’s high performance 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, producing 292kW/583Nm, with impressive anti-lag potential.
The anti-lag system, switched on in the hardcore Baja mode only, keeps the turbochargers spinning for up to three seconds when off throttle, allowing for rapid pickup once back on the go pedal.
But in almost doubling the power compared with the outgoing Raptor, Ford needed to make various other changes to ensure a balanced and reliable package.
The 10-speed automatic transmission in the Ranger Raptor is now the beefier 10R60 model from the Bronco, not the 10R80 used in other models, and it’s paired an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case for low-range duties.
When asked if we may see a collaboration like the Herrod Performance R-Spec Mustang, Mr Birkic didn’t rule the possibility out but said it wasn’t likely in anytime soon.
“It’s a finely tuned balance and I think we’re in a good space. Look, you never say never but I don’t believe that we are working on anything in the short term.”
When asked about potential factory motorsport efforts at the official Raptor launch, Ford Performance Ranger/Everest customisation and special vehicle program manager, Justin Capicchiano, suggested the car-maker is interested, but didn’t confirm whether it would pursue events like the Finke Desert Race in the future.
“I think off-road racing is something we are really interested in,” he said.
“I haven’t got anything to commit to you today, but it’s something we are interested in.
“It’s a matter of finding the right experience for the truck, the right program, and the right timing. Once we’ve found those things, I think we will have more to say.”
When discussing the extensive off-road testing of the T6 Raptor platform, Mr Capicchiano highlighted the ute’s proven performance chops for should off-road racers be looking for their next base vehicle.
“We know what it’s capable of, and would I like to see customers racing these things? Hell yeah, I think it’d be awesome, and I think we’ve built a really strong foundation truck to go and do that.
“If I think about Finke and I think about the production class in Finke, it’s been won for the last seven years by a Mitsubishi Pajero.
“This thing has nearly 150 more horsepower than that, so does it make for a compelling vehicle to go and do that in? I think so.”
The Ranger Raptor has been called ‘hot hatch fast’ by Ford Australia representatives and media after an initial drive was offered to a select few in April, and we can’t wait to share our thoughts on the matter.
Stay tuned for the full GoAuto drive review Thursday September 8.