Inside the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R beats the heart of a Mustang Shelby GT500
Two years ago, Ram unleashed its most powerful pick-up truck yet called the TRX. Using a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Dodge Hellcat, the beast of a pickup makes a monstrous 711 PS along with 881 Nm of torque. As a result, it became the most powerful production pickup, beating the Ford F-150 Raptor whose 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 only makes 450 PS and 691 Nm of torque.
Not to be outdone by Ram, Ford started developing an even more powerful version of the already mighty F-150 Raptor. But instead of just having a six-cylinder under the hood, the Blue Oval went back to their roots and stuck a massive V8 in their latest Raptor.
This is the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, and it's gunning straight for the Ram TRX's throat. Instead of a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the Raptor R swapped it out with a beefy 5.2-liter supercharged V8 derived from the Mustang Shelby GT 500. It doles out a whopping 710 PS and a stump-pulling 867 Nm of torque. This equates to an increase of 260 PS and an additional 176 Nm of pull.
The automaker even put a unique dual exhaust system with a true pass-through muffler and active valve system. Depending on the drive mode chosen (Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja), drivers can choose how loud or quiet the Raptor R's exhaust can be.
Like most high-performance Ford vehicles today, the F-150 Raptor R comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission. But in order for it to fulfill its duties as a halo pickup truck, Ford Performance installed some key upgrades. It gets a larger aluminum driveshaft, a specially-tuned torque converter with a heavy-duty turbine damper, a four-pinion rear output assembly, and a new front axle with a higher-strength carrier casting to manage the powertrain's additional torque.
To ensure the V8 always delivers power to the wheels, Ford Performance recalibrated the supercharger pulley for off-road use and increased torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range. They also upgraded the exhaust manifolds to a cast stainless steel design, an oil cooler and filter, and a deeper oil pan for the Raptor R to take on aggressive grades while keeping the engine oil cooler. Last but not least, it now comes with a wider air intake inlet and a higher-flow conical air filter.
Apart from the souped-up drivetrain, Ford also upgraded the chassis and suspension of the Raptor R. The 5-link rear suspension gets extra-long trailing arms to better maintain axle position on rough terrain. It also gets a Panhard rod, 24-inch coil springs, and advanced Fox Live Valve shocks tuned to balance ride quality and roll control in both on- and off-road conditions. These electronically controlled dampers use suspension height sensors and other sensors to monitor terrain conditions independently, hundreds of times a second, while adjusting suspension tuning accordingly.
It wouldn't be complete if Ford didn't make some design changes for its most powerful pickup truck yet. To distinguish the Raptor R from the regular Raptor, it gets a more aggressively-styled power dome on the hood, a unique 'R' badge on the grille panted Code Orange, a special graphics package on the rear fenders, a distinct F-O-R-D grille, and black-painted bumpers, fenders, and fender flares that highlight the pickups more menacing looks.
The aggressive design also carries over into the interior of the F-150 Raptor R. Standard Recaro sport seats with leather and Alcantara ensure both the driver and front passenger are seated securely. There are even carbon fiber accents on the doors and instrument panel trim that convey this is no ordinary F-150. Meanwhile, the occupants are entertained by a 12-inch touchscreen powered by the latest SYNC4 system. It comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, as well as over-the-air (OTA) wireless updates.
With Ford already accepting orders for the F-150 Raptor R, will this be enough to scare the Ram TRX from its position as the most powerful production pickup truck? We'll find out soon.
If given the choice, which one would you pick? The Ram TRX or the Ford F-150 Raptor R? Let us know in the comments below.