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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Roughened-up new Ford Bronco Raptor touches down

Most hardcore Bronco ever made a possible preview of the incoming new Ranger Raptor.

With close to two years having passed since the debut of the revived Ford Bronco, the Blue Oval has officially ended speculative reports dating back over twelve months by revealing the first ever Bronco Raptor.

Initially thought to be called Warthog, a claim Ford denounced in September last year with the release of a teaser video, the Bronco Raptor follows the same approach as the F-150 Raptor and Ranger Raptor by being skewed towards high performance off-road.

Said to have been inspired by Ultra4 Racing series in the United States, the Raptor has undergone a series of revisions to make it, according to Ford, the “ultimate vehicle for hardcore off-road enthusiasts who demand something more”.

Ford Bronco Raptor revealed
Heavy-duty rear suspension and wider track has upped wheel travel by 356 mm.

Likely to provide a possible preview of the new Ranger Raptor due out next month, the majority of the changes have taken place underneath the Bronco Raptor’s skin.

Mounted on 17-inch Ford Performance alloy wheels wrapped in 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tyres, the Raptor has had its steering retuned, its tyre rods upgraded and its chassis reinforced with thicker steel and new shock absorber towers.

In addition to having its wheel arches extended to accommodate the 37-inch wheels, reportedly the largest ever fitted to a production SUV in the United States, Ford has also widened the Bronco’s front and rear track by 218 mm, added heavy-duty front and rear skidplates and improved torsional rigidity by a claimed 50% thanks to strengthened B-and C-pillars.

Ford Bronco Raptor revealed
Like with the standard Bronco, the Raptor’s doors and roof can be removed completely.

While still outfitted with the Fox Racing position sensitive damping shocks as the Ranger Raptor and F-150 Raptor, the tuning has been revised to better suit the Bronco.

Unique to it though are new front and rear control arms designed by Ford Performance that improve wheel travel by 330 mm and 356 mm respectively, as well as a heavy-duty Dana 44 AdvanTREK axle at the front and Dana 50 AdvanTREK unit at the rear.

Boasting a ground clearance of 333 mm, 121 mm more than the standard five-door Bronco, the Raptor’s final enhancements include longer front and rear driveshafts, a revised transfer case and a model first dual-valve exhaust system with four modes; Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja.

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Also retained is the G.O.A.T or Go Over All Terrain management system, which features a retuned Baja setting as well as a Bronco first Tow/Haul that allows for a towing capacity of 2 042 kg.

Besides the extended wheel arches and plastic cladding, as well as the larger wheels, the Raptor’s other exterior modifications include the block letter FORD grille, an amber daytime running light integrated into the main headlight, a carbon black bonnet vent, heavy-duty steel bumpers that can be removed when going off-road, and wider rear wheel arches.

Compared to the exterior, the Raptor’s interior is more restrained and garnished with Black Onyx “marine-grade” vinyl seats, gloss carbon fibre detailing on the grab handles, gear lever and steering wheel and Code Orange stitching on the instrument panel, around the G.O.A.T dial, on the doors, steering wheel and around the air vents.

Ford Bronco Raptor revealed
Position sensitive damping Fox Racing shocks have been recalibrated to cope with strenuous off-road driving.

Along with the aluminium gear paddle shifters featured on the F-150 and Ranger, the five-door only Bronco Raptor also features the Ford Performance specific 12-inch digital instrument cluster and Ford Performance branded door sills.

Standard specification includes the 12-inch SYNC4 touchscreen infotainment system, surround-view camera and from the options list, the Lux package that adds adaptive cruise control and a ten-speaker B&O Play sound system.

While on track to take aim at the Jeep Wrangler 392, Ford, unsurprisingly, has opted not to equip with the Bronco Raptor with a V8 engine.

Ford Bronco Raptor revealed
Interior has been not be altered much from the standard Bronco.

Instead, it has settled on the same unit likely to power the Ranger Raptor; the twin-turbo 3.0 EcoBoost V6 used in the Explorer ST. Producing an unchanged 298kW/563Nm, the mill is paired to a recalibrated version of the familiar General Motors co-developed ten-speed automatic gearbox. No other performance figures were revealed.

Going on sale in the United States from March, the Bronco Raptor will have a choice of no-less than seven colours; Oxford White, Shadow Black, Cactus Grey, Area 51, Code Orange, Iconic Silver Metallic, Hot Pepper Red Metallic, Velocity Blue Metallic, Eruption Green Metallic and Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat.

Pricing is anticipated to start at $68 500 (R1 045 667) but while based on the same platform as the now outgoing T6 Ranger and Everest, sales, like those of the standard Bronco, won’t take place in right-hand-drive markets.

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