The new Ford Bronco easily falls into the “badass” category, especially when you’re talking about the Wildtrack model that gets the most rugged off-road package that the automaker will offer. For now, anyway, but odds are that Ford is holding back on announcing an even more extreme version of the new SUV.
Unfortunately, it seems, we’ll have to sit tight until next year for the debut of the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor which, like the Raptor versions of the F-150 and – for overseas markets – the Ranger pickups, will push things to the absolute limits.
If you want to get an idea of what is likely in store, check out the Bronco R Baja racer. From what we’ve been able to dig out from Ford and other sources, the 2022 Bronco Raptor will be set up to run pretty much flat out in desert environments while also handling all the rock-crawling challenges the Wildtrack is now designed to take on.
Among other things, expect even more ground clearance than the 11.6 inches you get with the Wildtrack edition, and standard tire sizes are likely to be somewhere in the 35 to 37-inch range.
As for the body itself, there have been some spy shots captured lately that appear to hint at more flared fenders and other aftermarket-style tweaks. The image above is one of several renderings imagined by wb.artist20 on Instagram that offer possible approaches.
We’ve been advised to check out what Ford has done with the current F-150 Raptor – and what’s to come with the 2021 remake – to understand what we can expect with a Bronco Raptor. And, yes, more flared fenders are part of the package. That would allow a wider track, front and back. The wheel arches betray the extra travel that the beefed-up suspension will offer.
There’ll likely be changes to badging, bumpers and more rugged skidplates, along with other steps to take the brutal impact forces one can expect on a high-speed desert run. While the signature round Bronco headlights will remain, a good bet would suggest additional lighting would come standard. When you’re running the desert at high speed you need to be able to spot obstacles as far off as possible.
We’re also anticipating modified air intakes, not only to help protect against dust but to handle the additional cooling and engine breathing that will be demanded under the conditions the Bronco Raptor will be tuned to operate in.
The powertrain is a matter of intense speculation. When the first Broncos reach showrooms late this year they will be offered with either a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four or the 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbo-six. By its very mission, Ford will certainly want an upgrade for Raptor that could push it up into the 400 horsepower range, we were told.
There’s a possibility of upgrading the 2.7-liter V-6, but Ford has some other options, including a 3.0-liter EcoBoost that currently makes as much as 494 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 F-150 Raptor, meanwhile, uses a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo-six punching out 450 hp. What seems unlikely is seeing Ford follow Jeep’s lead with the new V-8 Wrangler.
Meanwhile, a 10-speed automatic, as with the initial Bronco models, is likely to carry over, but not the optional seven-speed manual, we were told. Expect it to feed into an even more capable version of the 4X4 system set to be offered in the Bronco Wildtrack.
As for the suspension, when a vehicle is expected to take a beating like the Baja can hand out, just about everything would have to be upgraded, including axles and control arms and, of course, the shocks. The current version of the F-150 Raptor features ultra-tough live valve Fox monotube shocks. That electronically operated solenoid valve provides continuously variable compression damping that can, Ford explains, “automatically adjust to constantly changing conditions of demanding off-road terrain.”
As for interior revisions, expect to see the Bronco Raptor feature the most durable materials Ford can offer, as well as the ability to hose out all the dust that would accumulate after a long desert run. Modified switch gear could be in the offing to operate any additional lighting and other features.
As for timing, the initial order bank suggests Ford could have a tough time meeting all the demand for the initial line-up of Bronco models. So, don’t expect to see a Bronco Raptor debut for at least a year, with production in the works for the 2022 model year or later, we’ve been advised.