Ford Unleashes F-150 Raptor R With 700 Horsepower, Baja Mode

Ford has long ruled the off-road pickup segment with the Ford F-150 Raptor, but the introduction of the Ram 1500 TRX two years ago changed everything. Now, the Blue Oval is dropping the gloves and ready to go blow for blow.

The new 2023 F-150 Raptor R is arguably the closest thing to the extreme desert-racing trophy trucks that compete in the Baja 1000. 

“Raptor R is our ultimate Raptor,” said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance chief engineer. “When customers experience Raptor R in the desert and beyond, it will make the hairs on the back of their necks stand up – and they’ll love every second of it.”

Photo: Ford

A Familiar V8

As we suspected, the heart of the Raptor R is a 5.2-litre supercharged V8 engine that comes from the Mustang Shelby GT500. A number of modifications have been made, of course, but the end result is 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. It’s kind of strange that Ford didn’t try to squeeze a bit more juice out of the engine in order to best the TRX, whose 6.2-litre Hellcat V8 cranks out 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.

Ford Performance engineers recalibrated the supercharger and installed a new pulley to increase torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range. Next, they upgraded the exhaust manifolds to a cast stainless steel design, including a unique oil cooler and filter. To help the engine breathe better, air intake volume is increased 66 percent via a wider air intake inlet and a higher-flow, higher-efficiency conical air filter.

As for the exhaust system, drivers can adjust the sound by switching between Normal, Sport, Baja and Quiet modes (the latter a blessing for the neighbours). These can be adjusted in the MyMode feature along with many different settings such as drive, steering, suspension and more, then saved as a single mode easily accessed with the press of the “R” button on the steering wheel.

Photo: Ford

Special Reinforcements

Naturally, the engine is just the start. The 2023 F-150 Raptor R also gets a recalibrated 10-speed SelectShift transmission, new front axle with a more robust, higher-strength carrier casting, larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft and specially tuned torque converter.

When it comes to the chassis, the five-link rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain, a Panhard rod and 24-inch coil springs. Advanced FOX Live Valve shocks are tuned to balance ride quality and roll control on- and off-road, Ford explains, with height sensors and other sensors monitoring terrain conditions independently hundreds of times per second to adjust suspension tuning accordingly. 

By the way, wheel travel is 13 inches in front and 14.1 inches in back—virtually identical numbers to the TRX. The F-150 Raptor R is the only one to come standard with 37-inch tires, though.

Photo: Ford

Unique Looks

Ford’s new off-road fighter further stands out with a larger, more aggressively styled power dome on the hood that sits nearly one inch taller than on the base Raptor, helping extract warm air from underneath. You can’t miss the unique bumpers, Code Orange accents including “R” badges all around and the special graphics package on the rear fenders featuring a design that mirrors the harsh, cracked desert earth. Two of the eight available body colours are new including Avalanche Grey and Azure Grey Tri-Coat.

Inside, the cabin boasts standard Recaro seats with a combination of black leather and Alcantara suede for added grip. Genuine carbon fibre adorns the doors, media bin door and upper parts of the instrument panel. Meanwhile, the 12-inch touchscreen is powered by SYNC 4 and benefits from Ford Power-Up over-the-air software update capability.

Ordering for the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R opens today and production will start late in 2022 at the Dearborn Truck Plant. No word about pricing yet. The base F-150 Raptor tops $96,000 including freight and PDI, while the Ram 1500 TRX is about $10,000 more expensive.

Photo: Ford
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