There's a lot going on under the Raptor's bulging skin.
Revealed this week, the Ford Bronco Raptor blows just about every other SUV out of the water when it comes to its off-roading capabilities. Compared with other Broncos, the Raptor can climb over bigger obstacles, tow more, and go blasting across desert dunes at a vastly more rapid rate, and without any worry that its underpinnings can't take the heat. These abilities are thanks to numerous new features and technologies that Ford has thrown at the Bronco Raptor, and we've outlined five of the best of them right here.
One wouldn't expect a rugged SUV like the Bronco Raptor to have much more than the badge on its nose in common with the low-slung Ford GT race car, but the Blue Oval has surprised us by incorporating some motorsport-derived trickery in the Raptor. The anti-lag system for the turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine essentially cuts the time it takes for the turbos to do their job and deliver boost. Using a throttle bypass, the Bronco Raptor's system keeps the electric throttle open even when the driver doesn't have his foot on the gas. This keeps the compressors spinning, dramatically reducing the time it takes to provide boost when getting back on the power. Spark and extra fuel aren't required as in some other designs as the Raptor's injectors remain idled when the anti-lag system is active.
Of course, this anti-lag system only initiates in Baja Mode, one of the G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type Of Terrain) driving modes that's standard on the Bronco. Baja Mode was specifically designed to maximize performance during high-speed desert runs. By contrast, the Ford GT's anti-lag system springs into life in Track or Sport modes. In both cases, each system does a similar job despite the vastly different applications of each car.
The Bronco DR (Desert Racer) race truck was revealed late last year with V8 power, 37-inch tires, and competition-level, Ford Performance-developed axles. The Bronco Raptor hasn't inherited the DR's V8, but it does have those massive tires and the uprated axles. The rear solid axle was upgraded to a semi-float Dana 50 Heavy-Duty AdvanTEK design with a 9.3-inch ring gear. On the opposite end of the body, there is a Dana 44 AdvanTEK front-drive unit with an 8.3-inch ring gear and sturdier half-shafts. Together, the upgraded axles have increased the track width by 8.6 inches over the base Bronco. This helps to accommodate the chunky rubber but also endows the Bronco Raptor with superior stability and handling during high-speed desert runs. The wider the track, the better the grip and the less unnecessary weight transfer. At a portly 5,733 pounds, the Bronco Raptor needs all the help it can get to manage its considerable mass.
To withstand the loads that it will be subjected to and clamber over steeper obstacles than other Broncos, all of the Bronco Raptor's suspension components had to be beefed up substantially. For this reason, Ford Performance joined forces with Fox to equip the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) with Live Valve technology. The HOSS 4.0 design features Fox 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers with a 3.1-inch diameter. In front, there are integrated reservoirs and at the back, there are remote reservoirs. Various sensors at every corner constantly monitor the condition of the specific terrain, literally 500 times per second, and adjustments to the tuning are made to compensate.
Together with unique front and rear control arms, it all adds up to 60% more wheel travel in front (13 inches) and 40% more at the back (14 inches) compared to the base Bronco. That helps the tires maintain contact with the ground for longer, improving traction.
No other SUV sold in the US has larger tires than this new Bronco Raptor. This comes after the F-150 Raptor made a splash with its optional 37-inch tires. On the Bronco Raptor, you don't need to pay extra for them. Besides adding considerably to the powerful visual punch of the Bronco Raptor, those tires add genuine capability to the SUV. The KO2 all-terrain tires from BFGoodrich (37x12.50R17LT) are wrapped around available 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, available in two designs. Larger tires not only improve ground clearance but enhance traction. These tires surpass the 35-inch rubber that's available on lesser Broncos when equipped with the Sasquatch Package.
While many hoped the Raptor would arrive with a distinctive V8 roar, all is not lost thanks to the true dual-exhaust system. For the first time on any Bronco, the Bronco Raptor's exhaust utilizes active-valve technology and pipes that are nearly the same length for a sportier exhaust note. Four modes - Normal, Sport, Quiet, and Baja - allow drivers to alter the sound of the V6-powered Bronco Raptor as they wish. The exhaust tone gets noticeably deeper as you work your way from Quiet mode through the others. Together with seven selectable G.O.A.T. driving modes, it's another facet of the Bronco Raptor that is customizable to suit a broad range of conditions and driver preferences.