The Ford F-150 Raptor is getting a V8 very soon, Ford has officially confirmed. At the media event where journalists got to test drive the new 2022 Bronco Raptor (our review will be published shortly), the Ford Performance team gave attendees a tantalizingly brief look at the long-awaited, V8-powered F-150 Raptor R. I’m truly sorry, Ram 1500 TRX fans, but your favorite overpowered pickup won’t be the only supercharged V8 around for long.
Ford confirmed a V8-powered Raptor was imminent when this generation of the off-road pickup debuted back in early 2021, but this was our first real-world look at the F-150 Raptor R: Ford let a pair of these V8 Raptors loose to rip around on a dry lakebed in Johnson Valley. It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reveal.
Two F-150 Raptor Rs came bombing down the desert, cutting circular swaths in opposite directions. The sandstorm they brought was the perfect cover — the stubborn cloud hung in the air like our unanswered questions.
Ford product communications representative Mike Levine said, “We’re not stopping with the Ford Bronco Raptor. The Raptor line continues with the F-150 Raptor R. Details to come.” He offered no further details. I asked if they could bring out the trucks again and let me stand in the middle of the lakebed, but the answer was no. Fair enough.
So, Ford is not releasing F-150 Raptor R specs or figures just yet. Given that the Raptor R comes from Ford Performance, the same team that worked on the Mustang Shelby GT500, we suspect the Raptor R could use a version of the GT500’s engine. Specificially, that’s a supercharged 5.2-liter Predator V8, making 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque in the Mustang. We suspect those figures could change somewhat when that engine finds its way into the F-150 Raptor R’s engine bay.
Ford’s brief Raptor R reveal provided the best evidence yet that the V8-powered truck does, in fact, have the same engine as the Mustang GT500. It’s all in the exhaust note. From afar, the growl of the Raptor R’s engine sounds deep but muffled — like the GT500, but unlike Mopar’s supercharged V8, the Raptor R made very little blower noise under load.
Assuming this top-dog F-150 will keep pace with its Bronco Raptor sibling, we expect the F-150 Raptor R will come with 37-inch tires and an off-road-optimized suspension. The upcoming Bronco Raptor is also equipped with a true dual exhaust, something we expect to see on the V8 Raptor — remember, Ford worked extra hard to get the twin-turbo V6 in the standard Raptor sounding good, so we expect the same emphasis on sound from the V8.
The only thing we know for sure is the V8 F-150 Raptor R is almost here, and yes, it will be street legal. You’d think having so many variants would stretch the Ford truck thin. The F-150 now covers a broad spectrum, with the electric F-150 Lightning at one end, and the supercharged V8 Raptor R at the other. The former conforms to the paradigm of a ubiquitous fully-electric vehicle, and the latter seems like a swan song to combustion-powered performance.