When Ford finally took the wraps off the revived Bronco family in August of 2020, there was generally broad acclaim for what the automaker had created. However, if there was a note of disappointment, it was the lack of a high-performance variant. Given the success of the F-150 Raptor since its debut as well as the Ranger Raptor overseas, most people expected a Bronco Raptor as well. Now that Ford has seemingly overcome some of the early production delays and quality issues with the big Bronco, it’s time to finally bring forth that Bronco Raptor.
Like the F-150 Raptor, the Bronco variant has been tuned more as a desert racer than a high-performance street SUV and that’s perfectly aligned with the character of the Bronco. This is after all Ford’s response to the success of the Jeep Wrangler. Thus many of the same types of the changes you’ll find on the pickup have been applied here.
First and foremost is a reworking of the suspension system and a substantial 9.8-inch increase in width. The fully-boxed in frame has been beefed up including new shock towers to accommodate more wheel travel and higher forces. Skid plates cover the area from the front bumper to the back of the transfer case to protect the driveline from rocks and debris this thing can crawl over. A new B-pillar crossbar and C-pillar reinforcements boost torsional rigidity of the body by half.MORE FROMFORBES ADVISORByAmy DaniseEditorByAmy DaniseEditor
The same Ford Performance axles used on the Bronco DR off-road race truck are also used on the Raptor with the rear being upgraded from other models with a Dana 50 heavy duty AdvanTek unit with a larger 235-mm ring gear. The new axles and suspension components increase the track width at both ends of the Raptor by 8.6-inches compared to the base Bronco. The new control arms that help push the wheels out also provide 13-inches of wheel travel at the front and 14-inches at the rear.
All of this contributes to a 4.8-inch boost in minimum ground clearance to 13.1-inches. The new gearing of the Raptor that helps to enable high speeds across the desert does bite into the 4WD-lo crawl ratio, dropping it from 94.75:1 on the Sasquatch to a still impressive 67.7:1 and easily beating the 57.3:1 of the Jeep Gladiator Mojave.
The Raptor rolls on standard 37-inch BF Goodrich K02 all-terrain tires and Ford is offering two different 17-inch bead-lock capable wheel options. As with the F-150 Raptor, the Bronco is fitted with Fox dampers with live valve technology. In this case the Fox 3.1 units have an internal bypass and semi-active adjustment. The front dampers have integrated reservoirs while the rears are remotely mounted.
In place of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 of lesser Broncos, the Raptor gets the larger 3.0-liter version found in the Explorer ST. At this point Ford is only saying that the Raptor will have over 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, but somewhere in the 420-425 range seems likely. All of this will go through an uprated version of Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.
Creating a Raptor requires more than just changing the underpinnings, it also needs to look distinct from its lesser siblings. Like the pickup Raptors, the Bronco gets a new black grille with large FORD block letters. New headlamps with amber daytime running lamps replace the white versions of standard Broncos. The modular steel bumper has integrated tow hooks and removable end caps to increase the approach angle when crawling over rocks. The hood and front quarter panels switch from metal to composite sheet molding compound and feature integrated vents to extract hot air. The wider fender flares to cover those big new tires and expanded track are also molded from composites.
Inside, the Bronco gets a similar treatment to the F-150 Raptor with code orange stitching and carbon fiber trim. The front seats are much more heavily bolstered than other Broncos to keep the driver and front passenger in place. The Bronco Raptor is only available as a four-door.
There’s no word on pricing yet but it’s probably a safe-bet that it will start at at least $60,000. Ford will start taking orders in March 2022 and most of the 2022 model year deliveries are expected to go to existing reservation holders based on their position in line. Deliveries will start this summer.