UPDATE 12/27/22: This assessment has been up to date with instrumented check outcomes.
The day started with climate to scare Gordon Lightfoot, when the gales of November got here early at Michigan’s Silver Lake Dunes. Ultimately, the rain abated, however the towering dunes had been so totally soaked that there was nearly an excessive amount of traction. Not an excessive amount of for the man within the rental Buick Encore, we guess, however sufficient to make even the steepest of dunes however a minor inconvenience to the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R. Once you’ve bought 700 horsepower and 37-inch beadlocked tires, moist sand might as effectively be a foot-thick lane of interstate slab.
The Raptor R is the long-awaited however perhaps not inevitable zenith of the Raptor model. In a world with no Ram TRX, would Ford drop a Shelby GT500 engine in a Raptor? Science tells us that the mere act of remark influences outcomes, and we now have to assume Ford noticed Ram promoting all of the $90,000-ish vehicles it may construct and mentioned, “You understand, perhaps we must always do this.” And whereas Ram will not say what number of TRXs it has offered, the Stellantis trophy truck had a wholesome head begin on the Raptor R—we have already wrapped up our 40,000-mile check in our long-term TRX.
So it is a bit bit curious, given the obviousness of the Raptor R’s competitors, that Ford did not go for horsepower bragging rights. With the TRX making 702 horsepower, why not give the Raptor R 703? That may have been hilarious, and possibly one thing Ram would possibly do. As a substitute, Ford arrived at a good 700 horsepower at 6650 rpm, and its powertrain engineers make full sense once they say you could’t inform the distinction between 700 horsepower and a bit greater than 700 horsepower. However vehicles like this aren’t about making sense, until you commute to Mike’s Sky Ranch in Baja. They’re about large numbers and loud noises and taking grime that was over right here and throwing it approach over there, after which doing a little candy jumps. The Raptor R is spectacularly effectively outfitted to deal with all of that, even with out horsepower bragging rights.
For Raptor obligation, Ford’s supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 will get a truck tune that fattens up the torque curve, delivering 640 lb-ft at 4250 rpm. The blown 5.2 gulps air so ferociously that Ford needed to reinforce the Raptor’s consumption ductwork as a result of the EcoBoost-spec plumbing was distorting below heavy throttle. A brand new supercharger pulley will get the enhance ramped up sooner, all the higher for spinning these 4 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires. As a result of the V-8 provides 100 kilos to the entrance finish, spring charges are elevated, and there are some beefier body brackets, however the suspension largely carries over. The bottom Raptor, with its 450-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, is on the market with both 35-inch tires or 37s, however the Raptor R will get solely the 37s. That prices it an inch of entrance suspension journey however delivers 13.1 inches of floor clearance and, Ford admits, simply helps it look superior. The 35s are rational, however the 37s say it is “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!” And despite the fact that your ticket buys the entire seat, you may solely want the sting.
The Raptor R, like its EcoBoost counterpart, is gloriously adaptable to no matter terrain you care to assault. The switch case provides rear drive, auto four-wheel drive, high-range four-wheel drive (bodily locked entrance to rear), and low-range four-wheel drive. You may as well manually lock the rear differential, although not in two-wheel drive. The steering effort, Fox Dwell Valve dampers, and exhaust sound all are independently adjustable through steering-wheel buttons, which embody an R button to your favourite preset modes. And there are drive modes galore to tailor responses for the scenario at hand. Baja is our favourite. Wandering into Tow/Haul mode events a shock of recognition—oh yeah, it is a truck, a helpful factor that may tow and/or haul! It is not only for sending the Raptor R into low orbit off Silver Lake Dunes, though it is mighty good at that too. However so is an EcoBoost Raptor.
The place the Raptor R distinguishes itself is while you flatten the accelerator, and the dual four-inch exhaust cannons hearth a fusillade of V-8 fury, and your shoulders are buried into the Raptor R embroidery on the higher seatback whereas the 10-speed computerized shuffles gears faster than a blackjack shoe rearranges the playing cards on the Golden Nugget. The entrance finish climbs towards the sky, and the steering wiggles a bit bit in your palms because the Raptor searches for traction. Passing energy is explosive, with the towering Ford leaping from 30 to 50 mph in 2.2 seconds, the identical time we recorded from the 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista. Even on sand, it feels violently fast. What it seems like, actually, is an F-150 Lightning Prolonged Vary with far more noise and drama. The Ford engineers available agreed that Raptor R versus Lightning could be a great race.
However Raptor R versus TRX is a good higher one, and the Ford holds a slender edge in acceleration checks. The Raptor R hits 60 mph in simply 3.6 seconds, 0.1 second forward of the TRX, and blazes by way of the quarter-mile in 12.0 seconds at 112 mph, nipping the TRX’s 12.3-second run at 111 mph. And people numbers do not absolutely talk the Raptor’s benefit, since Ford’s 114-mph velocity limiter begins shutting down the occasion earlier than the quarter-mile is full. Rewind the tape and we see that at 110 mph, the Raptor has a wider lead, requiring simply 11.1 seconds, in contrast with the Ram’s 11.8 seconds. Additionally, the Raptor lacks a launch-control mode and says no to brake torquing. As a substitute, oddly, the quickest launches occur utilizing the auto-hold operate. These two issues clarify why there is not a wider hole from a truck that weighs 6077 kilos—which is 704 kilos slimmer than the TRX. That comparatively lithe curb weight did not translate to stinginess on the pumps, although, with the Raptor R merely matching the TRX’s 10-mpg noticed gas financial system.
Given the well-watered state of the dunes, indulging our juvenile urge to throw sand required operating in rear-drive mode. Which is how we found that, along with the digital locker, there is a brake-based limited-slip operate for the open rear differential. The brake-based system works when one facet or the opposite experiences a flare in wheel velocity, and the brake on that facet offers a squeeze to ship energy again to the opposite facet. This method is working within the background even when the AdvanceTrac stability-control system is totally disabled. So if, say, you wish to roost some dunes in two-wheel drive, the place the rear locker cannot be engaged, the rear brakes might be getting a exercise.
It’s true that Automotive and Driver is staffed by a pack of feral, half-mad maniacs, and that no regular driver would ever expertise this specific drawback (we’re paraphrasing what Ford mentioned to us). To which we are saying that 700-hp pickups do not precisely entice the left-brain thinkers amongst us, and Raptor R homeowners will wish to drift it in rear-drive mode, most likely on the best way out of the dealership parking zone (most lateral acceleration is a mere 0.71 g). So why not simply enable the locking diff to interact in two-wheel drive? Ford says that is not the best way it really works proper now, however the firm is all the time listening to its clients. So if you need a locking diff in rear-drive mode, petition your native Ford consultant. What do we wish? Roosty drifts! When do we wish them? As usually as attainable!
Out on the pavement, the Raptor’s stopping energy is—shock, shock—very near that of the TRX. Halting the Raptor R requires 205 ft at 70 mph and 430 ft from 100 mph, each of that are barely lengthier than the TRX’s stops. The Ram betters the Ford by seven ft from 70 mph and three ft from 100 mph.
In the event you’re trying to spot a Raptor R within the wild, it will not be straightforward. Initially, apart from its bulging hood, the Raptor R appears to be like very very like an EcoBoost Raptor with the 37-inch tire package deal. The vehicles at Silver Lake had been additionally emblazoned with the graphics package deal that riffs on the Raptor “digital mud” sample by setting up the black a part of the graphic out of tiny 8s. On the driving force’s facet of the truck, the Raptor brand renders the second “R” in Raptor Orange, which appears to be like nice until the truck is identical coloration, by which case it appears to be like such as you’re driving a Rapto. (On the passenger’s facet, the primary R is orange, so on that facet you have bought an “aptor.”) However you possibly can delete the graphics for no price if you happen to desire to let the 5.2-liter Predator converse for itself. Which, at extensive open throttle, it does at an 83-decibel bellow—the identical quantity we measured from a sure different supercharged four-by-four mega-pickup.
There additionally will not be one million Raptor Rs to identify, provided that the bottom worth is a cool $109,145. Whether or not that roughly $30,000 greater than a base Raptor (and $26K greater than a TRX) sounds price it or completely ridiculous is determined by your standpoint, and perhaps whether or not your neighbor has a TRX and is overdue for a FoMoCo riposte to these 6 a.m. Hellcat chilly begins. It’s tempting to conclude that since Ram constructed the TRX and Ford constructed the Raptor R, that is the place this ends, however we suspect not. GM, what say you?
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R
Car Kind: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
Base/As Examined: $109,335/$112,125
Choices: moonroof and energy tailgate, $2195; spray-in bedliner, $595; graphics delete, $0
supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port gas injection
Displacement: 315 in3, 5163 cm3
Energy: 700 hp @ 6650 rpm
Torque: 640 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Suspension, F/R: management arms/reside axle
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in vented disc/13.2-in vented disc
Tires: BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
37×12.5R-17LT 116S M+S 3PMSF FP
Wheelbase: 145.4 in
Size: 232.6 in
Width: 87.0 in
Peak: 80.6 in
Passenger Quantity: 136 ft3
Curb Weight: 6077 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.6 sec
100 mph: 9.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.0 sec @ 112 mph
Outcomes above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 4.1 sec
Prime Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec
Prime Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.7 sec
Prime Velocity (gov ltd): 114 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 205 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 430 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.71 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Noticed: 10 mpg
75-mph Freeway Driving: 14 mpg
75-mph Freeway Vary: 500 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 12/10/15 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
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