2023 Ford F150 Raptor R, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2023 Ford F150 Raptor R First Look: Who’s the Predator Now?
Raptor 37 Chassis + Shelby GT500 V-8 = T-Rex Predator
Stellantis’ love of “Easter eggs” compelled designers of the Ram 1500 TRX to include a graphic of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing a comparatively tiny velociraptor in the center console, with a more graphic image of a raptor being chomped by a T-Rex under the hood. Yes, that Hellcat-powered desert destroyer clearly caught Ford—which invented the factory Baja-racer category with its F-150 Raptor—flat-footed.
But Ford is ready to more than even the score this fall with the introduction of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, powered by the aptly named “Predator” supercharged V-8 borrowed from the Shelby GT500 and significantly modified.
Raptor R Power & Torque
Let’s not bury the lede here: In an F150 Raptor R, the 5.2-liter Predator V-8 makes 700 hp at 6,650 rpm (down from the GT500’s 760 hp at 7,300 rpm) and 640 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm (up from 625 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm). This recalibration reflects the mission shift from track star to Baja 1000 trophy truck.
They also allow this engine to haul 1,400 pounds of payload, lug an 8,700-pound trailer, and pass Ford’s rigorous pickup-truck durability test cycles while spinning four gigantic 37-inch diameter tires (10 inches larger than a GT500 tire).
And though that modest increase in peak torque may seem unimpressive, we’re assured that torque increases by an average of 25 percent across the entire rev range. (Save your Googling—the TRX’s pushrod engine makes 702 hp at 6,100 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm, and its payload and tow ratings are 1,300 and 8,100 pounds.)
How Fast Is The Raptor R?
The same 120-mph governed top speed as the Raptor 37 will apply, but, weighing in at around 6,100 pounds, the weight-to-power ratio drops from the 3.5-liter Raptor 37’s 13.3 lb/hp to 8.6, so we’re confident the 0-60-mph time will drop from the 37’s 5.6 seconds to perhaps 3.8 seconds or quicker.
For those keeping score at home, the 6,760-pound (9.6 lb/hp) Ram TRX needs 4.1 seconds. You’ll basically need four electric motors to go faster in a pickup truck. (The Rivian R1T: 8.6 lb/hp, 3.1 seconds to 60 mph).
Dialing Up The Raptor R’s Torque
Nobody’s bombing across a desert at 180 mph, so high-rpm power is deemphasized. Reducing the redline from 7,500 to 7,000 rpm allowed the supercharger pulley diameter to shrink, which means the Eaton TVS R2650 blower spools up more quickly at lower rpm (boosting low- and mid-range torque) without fear of over-revving at the top end. Breathing is also improved with a new conical air filter that improves airflow by 66 percent.
On the exhaust side are new cast stainless-steel headers feeding a dual exhaust system that includes a true pass-through muffler where sound pulses from each bank can intermingle. These cast headers don’t flow quite as freely as the GT500’s tubular ones, but they can survive repeated Davis-dam, max-towing pulls. Gone is the V-6 Raptor’s exhaust-pipe trombone loop, and the active noise valve feature is recalibrated for the R.
The engine’s lubrication circuit is significantly enhanced with a deeper, higher-capacity oil pan and a bar-plate oil-to-water cooling system that’s integrated into the engine cooling circuit—a setup that works better for towing than the GT500’s track-optimized oil-to-air cooler. There’s also a new viscous aluminum crankshaft balancer.
You can’t simply yank out a 450-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo V-6, slap in a 700-hp/640-lb-ft V-8, and then send it off with a factory warranty. The 10-speed automatic’s torque converter is fortified with a heavy-duty turbine damper and a beefy four-pinion output assembly. The shift programming is tuned to deliver the quickest shifts of any Ford 10-speed.
The torque is then transmitted aft through a larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft, and forward to a new front axle featuring a strengthened spider-gear carrier and structurally reinforced front cover.
Ford basically introduced the Raptor R’s chassis last year, dubbed Raptor 37 to denote its class-largest tires. To that already reinforced platform’s reinforced jounce bumper mounts, stronger front Fox shocks, and a new crossmember, trailer hitch, and winch mount for the underslung 37-inch spare, the R adds only unique calibration of the Fox Live Valve shocks and front springs that are stiffened by 5 percent to accommodate the roughly 80 additional pounds of the V-8 powertrain.
Outside, the Raptor R is distinguished by Code Orange front tow hooks and an orange R on the grille, a 1-inch-taller power dome in the hood (for looks as the engine requires no extra clearance), and unique graphics. The hood and rear flanks get appliqués that look like a cracked desert floor filled in with a zillion little 8s and one single “V” on the driver-side rear.
Inside, there’s a full black-out package with gloss black dash panels, carbon-fiber accents with a unique “triaxial” weave, and unique standard Recaro seat coverings. The black leather and Alcantara upholstery is accented with Code Orange stitching and the seatbacks are embroidered with a RAPTOR logo featuring an orange R at the end.
How Soon And How Much?
The order banks are open now for dealer deliveries starting in fall 2022 at a somewhat eye-watering all-inclusive price of $109,145. Buyers’ only options will be the choice of eight colors (including an exclusive Avalanche Gray) and a panoramic sunroof likely to cost somewhere around $1,495 as it does on lesser F-150s.
A similarly configured TRX rings in at around $102,000, so that’s either a bold ask, it’s factoring in considerable inflation, it aims to deprive dealers of their markup, or maybe it’s Ford’s subtler answer to Ram’s T-Rex versus raptor Easter egg graphics.
|2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Specifications||2021 Ram 1500 TRX Specifications|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||5.2L/700-hp/640-lb-ft port-injected supercharged DOHC 32-valve V-8||6.2L/702-hp/650-lb-ft port-injected supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8|
|TRANSMISSION||10-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||6,000 lb (57/43%, est)||6,760 lb (56/44%)|
|WHEELBASE||145.4 in||145.1 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||232.6 x 86.6 x 80.7 in||232.6 x 87.0 x 80.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.8 sec (MT est)||4.1 sec|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet rated||10/14/12 mpg|
|EPA RANGE||450 miles (est)||396 miles|
|ON SALE||Fall 2022||Now|
- The 2023 Ford F150 Raptor R arrives with a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 that makes 700 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.
- Along with a restored roar, every Raptor R has 37-inch tires and subtle visual cues that differentiate it from the V-6 version.
- The 2023 F-150 Raptor R starts at $109,145, with orders open now and production starting this fall.
As Jeff Goldblum’s character says in the original Jurassic Park, “If there’s one thing that evolution has taught us, it’s that life will not be contained . . . life finds a way.” Well, Ford finally found a way to fit the F-150 Raptor with a proper V-8 again.
And it’s not just any V-8—it’s the supercharged 5.2-liter from the Shelby GT500, also known as the Predator. The epic engine upgrade is the justification for the new 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R. It also rings the bell signaling the start of the heavy-weight title fight that truck nuts have been waiting for: Raptor versus TRX.
A Predator in a Pickup Truck
As had been rumored and later confirmed, the Raptor R is powered by Ford’s Predator V-8. However, there are some significant differences between the pickup-truck version and the one under the Shelby GT500’s hood.
In the mightiest Mustang, the blown motor makes 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. In the Raptor R, the supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 makes 700 horses and 640 pound-feet. For further comparison, the regular-strength Raptor’s twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 makes 450 horses and 510 pound-feet.
The new power figures are a result of Ford’s tailoring the truck’s engine for optimal performance in conditions that it’ll actually be driven in. Think pounding across the desert or crawling over obstacles rather than racing around a track or operating at triple-digit speeds.
The Raptor’s new engine still pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. However, the transmission has a new calibration and an upgraded torque converter. The Raptor R also has a new, stronger front axle and a thicker driveshaft.
Huge power figures are fun to boast about, but a truck like the F-150 Raptor needs a roar to back up the specs. While the regular Raptor’s twin-turbo V-6 has better vocals than the previous generation, its soundtrack is still more Fleetwood Mac than Metallica.
Thankfully, the R-rated Raptor’s V-8 and redesigned exhaust give this truck the sound and fury to rival the 702-hp Hellcat-powered Ram TRX. We’ve heard the Raptor R in person and can confirm that it’ll wake the neighbors and scare children. It also has a mode for quieter cold starts to show some respect.
Big Power Comes with the Biggest Tires
By now, Ram stans are probably gloating about the fact that the TRX is still more powerful than the V-8 Raptor. While that is true, it’s not that simple. The 5.2-liter Predator engine has a lighter aluminum block; the 6.2-liter Hellcat engine has a heavier iron block. Ford says the F-150 Raptor R has a 5950-pound curb weight.
Ram lists the TRX’s curb weight as 6350 pounds. Based on those manufacturer claims, the V-8–powered Raptor has a better power-to-weight ratio of 8.5 pounds per horsepower versus the TRX’s 9.0 pounds per horsepower. Also, when it comes to off-road trucks named after prehistoric killing machines, the Raptor R has bigger claws.
Massive 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires are fitted to every Raptor R. You won’t currently find rubber that tall on the Ram TRX or any other factory-built truck. The huge BFGs are the same ones that are available on the V-6 Raptor. In fact, with the 37s included, the two models have the same 13.1 inches of ground clearance and virtually identical suspension setups.
The biggest difference is that Ford gives the R version specially tuned dampers and 5 percent stiffer front springs to better handle the extra weight of the V-8, although we’re told it adds less than 100 pounds overall.
How to Spot an F150 Raptor R in the Wild
Because Ford didn’t want regular Raptor owners to regret not having the more powerful version, it chose not to make the two trucks look vastly different. However, the company still wanted Raptor R owners to have something that distinguished their trucks as the big-motor models. One of the most telltale signs is the taller power dome on the hood, which sits about an inch higher than on V-6 versions.
The 2023 Ford F150 Raptor R starts at $109,145. That’s about $27K more than a ’22 Raptor with the 37-inch-tire package, which has an $81,705 price tag with no other options. Orders for the Raptor R are now open, and Ford’s off-road supertruck is set to start production this fall.
2023 Ford F150 Raptor R, On Youtube