2023 Ford Bronco Raptor Caught Havin’ Itself a Time Off Road

At this year’s SEMA show, the aftermarket extravaganza that made a roaring comeback this year after being derailed, like so much else, in 2020, Ford Broncos were everywhere. There were customized and accessorized Broncos, as well as a handful of Ford F-150 Raptors and even a few new Maverick pickups. But what wasn’t present at the 2021 SEMA show, decked out in new performance parts or customized by the industry’s best off-road outfitters? The Ford Bronco Raptor, because it’s not available, yet.  Nor has it made a formal debut. While we wait for that, and the Bronco Raptor’s surely strong presence at the 2022 SEMA show, we can at least feast our eyes on this good look at a prototype.

Ford previously confirmed that the fabled Bronco Raptor would exist, and its CEO Jim Farley even shot out a cheeky “Hold on to your butts” tweet in September. The company had since gone silent about its most recent off-road project, until now. The Bronco Nation reports of a firsthand encounter with the four-door Ford Bronco Raptor at a secret location earlier this month. While it remains pretty mum on any specific details about the Bronco Raptor, a collection of pictures (apparently “official photos”) quench our thirst, for now at least.

We can’t quite distinguish the patterns of the camo’d body panels; regardless, the camo isn’t hiding much at all on this Raptor. The completely exposed front end reveals a unique bumper (with black, not red, tow hooks) and a special Raptor grille with amber marker lights, a key styling cue that’s often copied by Raptor-wannabe rigs. Bulgier fender flares cover the wider, burlier stance resulting from the beefier suspension attached to 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 tires.

The Bronco Raptor’s powertrain details are forthcoming, but it might be powered by an upgraded twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine pushing 350-400 hp. This engine produces 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque in its standard form in the regular Bronco. Another reasonable engine option would be the 400-hp 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 from the Ford Explorer lineup, for example. It’s an unlikely candidate, but the F-150 Raptor’s 450-hp, 510-lb-ft twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 would be the coolest EcoBoost option.

As for a V-8 Bronco Raptor, even if Ford says no we will forever say yes. The Ford Bronco DR (Desert Ready), powered by a Coyote 5.0-liter V-8, has already paved the way for the V-8 option, and Ford may be coming out with an F-150 Raptor R, powered by a blown 5.2-liter V-8 (out of the Mustang Shelby GT500).

The competition is also doing the V-8 thing: Ram stuffed a 702-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 into its Ram 1500 pickup, Jeep jammed a 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 into its Wrangler, and Land Rover slammed a supercharged 500+hp 5.0-liter V-8 into its Defender V-8.

Could the Ram 1500 TRX, Jeep Wrangler 392, Land Rover Defender V-8, and forthcoming F-150 Raptor R theoretically pave the way for a V-8 Bronco Raptor (perhaps called the Bronco Raptor R?)? We’d like to think so.

We don’t know when we’ll see the Ford Bronco Raptor hit dealerships, but based on Ford’s glitches in getting Broncos into the hands of customers, any sign of the Bronco Raptor in 2022 would be buckin’ great.

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