The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Is a 700-HP Apex Predator

Ford’s Raptor R gives the Raptor a brutal V8 exhaust note and loads of power.

  • Ford’s Raptor R returns the V8 to the Raptor lineup with a variant of the 5.2-liter supercharged mill from the Mustang Shelby GT500.
  • The off-road truck features effectively the same suspension as a 3.5-liter-V6-powered Raptor that’s equipped with 37-inch tires, though it does have revised spring tuning to compensate for the engine.
  • The Ford Raptor R is expected to hit dealers before the end of the year with a starting price of $109,145.

    Ford’s F-150 Raptor launched back in 2010, carried SVT badging, and offered a choice of V8 engines: a 5.4-liter V8 if you didn’t want to tack on any extra charges, or a 6.2-liter V8 if you wanted the top dog Raptor. Ford’s V8 Raptor ran until 2014 before taking a short hiatus, returning in 2017 as a better truck in almost every way, but its turbocharged V6 exhaust note left a lot to be desired. While Ford has stuck with its EcoBoost for the Raptor, the company is again unleashing a V8 under its Raptor R’s hood for stepped-up performance.

    Diving into the heart of Ford’s latest Raptor, the 5.2-liter V8 goes by the nickname Predator and shares most of its hardware from the potent Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, though there are some minor alterations. The supercharger is effectively the same Eaton blower from the Shelby but now sports new badging. The harmonic balancer is different than in the Shelby’s mill, as well as the blower pulley. The different supercharger pulley helped Ford engineers move the power lower in the rev range than the Shelby, which is more beneficial than high RPM performance in this application. All of this works together to send 700 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque through the 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s not bad.

    Now, how does that stack up against the Raptor R’s two biggest competitors? The biggest thorn in the Raptor R’s side will probably be its EcoBoost-powered stablemate: the base F-150 Raptor. Ford’s 3.5-liter turbocharged Raptor sends 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque through a similar 10-speed transmission. The Raptor R’s other competition is Ram’s 1500 TRX. The Ram makes more power than the Raptor R, cranking 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter supercharged V8.

    With a tight race at to the top of the Baja-inspired super trucks, how does the Raptor R’s spec sheet translate to real-world performance? Well, it’s hilarious. Just like the Ram TRX, the Raptor R is as absurd a vehicle as you’re going to find. Power delivery is manageable, though that might be a challenge with the truck in its Baja exhaust mode. The Predator V8 sounds exquisite screaming through the Raptor R’s dual exhaust. Supercharge noise, too, makes its way into the cabin to remind you that your truck is ludicrous. Almost as surprising as the Raptor R’s exhaust note in Sport and Baja modes, the Quiet exhaust mode is a work of magic. On the highway, there’s almost no noise coming from the back of your Raptor, and you only hear a hint of burble and supercharger whine while you’re tipping into the throttle. All in, the exhaust of Ford’s Raptor R fixes the Raptor’s biggest problem: the exhaust note.

    The Raptor R gets airborne just as easily as its EcoBoost sibling despite packing around 100 more pounds.

    That said, power delivery is similar to the Ram TRX. The number differences are negligible, but both scuttle you away from a stop in a hurry. On road, Ford’s Raptor R does offer more acceleration than the less-powerful base Raptor, but stoplight acceleration doesn’t really matter. In the dirt, you really can’t go wrong with any of these Baja brawlers.

    Power aside, the Raptor R is effectively set up the same as the 37-inch-equipped Raptor. The suspension is largely unchanged, which means there’s a five-link suspension controlling the rear stick axle and a double-wishbone controlling the independent front suspension. Fox Racing shocks are electronically controlled and dampen on demand, just like in the base Raptor. This means that the only major change when you’re out in the dunes is the folks around you will hear you better with the screaming V8 and you have more power to get bigger air. From experience, the Raptor R gets airborne just as easily as its EcoBoost sibling despite packing around 100 more pounds.

    Yes. The Raptor R can still get air with its heavier powertrain.

    On road, the Raptor R is surprisingly livable. It’s not the easiest to maneuver in tight city centers, and seeing over the hood—which now features a bump to add extra engine clearance—can be challenging because of the Raptor R’s height, but the Raptor R’s throttle is easy to control and guide it around peacefully. At highway speeds, the large tires take some getting used to, and the Raptor R will want to wander slightly. Noise is an obvious problem from the BFGoodrich K02 tires, but Ford managed to keep wind noise at bay.

    Inside the cabin, the Raptor R is basically the same as the Raptor. There are some minor changes with badging, but the interior is still a truck despite the price increase. The front seats are bolstered well and hold you while ripping around off-road but are also comfortable and stylish. There is a distinct lack of soft-touch materials in the interior, which might confuse some at this price point. That said, you’ll be thanking Ford for the smooth plastic finishes when it comes time to clean out your Raptor R after a day on the trails or in the dunes.

    The Ford F-150 Raptor obviously already carries a premium price tag and will set you back $78,570. Adding the V8 tacks on $30,000 to the bottom line (or almost a second Ford F-150). Ford’s Raptor R starts at $109,145, and that price will go up with options and the inevitable “dealer market adjustments.” That’s a big jump even compared to Ram’s 1500 TRX, which starts just north of $80,000. Even with the big price tag, the folks at Ford are expecting a 25 percent mix of Raptor Rs for 2023.

    The big jump in price may be hard to justify because all of these trucks are supremely capable, hilariously fun, and pack a lot of attitude in the mall parking lot. That said, the days might be numbered for these absurd, V8-powered monsters, and this could be near the end of the road for over-the-top performance pickups with internal combustion powerplants. The moral of the story: The Raptor R is awesome, but you can’t really go wrong with any of these pickups.

    Did you think you’d ever see a $109,000 Ford F-150? Let us know your thoughts about the F-150 Raptor R below.

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