WATCH | They've blown the doors off - Ford Bronco Raptor blasts the desert and rocks

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  • Ford Bronco Raptor is built for high-speed runs across desert dunes, but it's also capable as a rock crawler.
  • It is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol engine that punches out around 298kW paired with a 10-speed auto box.
  • Fox Racing shocks and unique suspension gizzards, bespoke for this model, come standard.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

We've reported on the awesome Ford Bronco Sport before, a vehicle we really want Ford to launch in South Africa, but we have an exceptional Bronco full-size model to tell you about this time. Untethered this week in the USA, the new Ford Bronco Raptor is ready to take lucky owners where roads don't exist - at a colossal rate of knots.

The Bronco Raptor has been built to conform to the rigorous demands of the off-road Ultra4Racing series in North America. In this motorsport series, a racing class called the ULTRA4-class has been introduced.

According to Hammerking, the organiser of the series, the defining characteristic of this class is that all vehicles must be capable of four-wheel drive. "Beyond that, the class is unlimited, they explain. "These cars come in all shapes and sizes and are capable of speeds over 160km/h and still contain gear ratios as low as 100 to 1 for technical rock crawling."

Read: OPINION | Ford's Ranger Raptor: the harder you drive it, the more rewarding it feels

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Engineered to take the pounding

Starting with the Bronco frame foundation, the Ford Performance team says it knew it needed a Raptor-specific version for increased suspension travel and track width for handling stability during high-speed desert runs.

The Bronco Raptor core is a fully-boxed, high-strength steel frame with new shock towers that increase wheel travel and off-road durability.

Heavy-duty bash and skid plates provide continuous driveline coverage from the front bumper to the back of the engine, transmission and transfer case. In the upper body, B-pillar crossbar and C-pillar reinforcement help deliver a greater than 50% total body-in-prime torsional rigidity increase over a standard Bronco four-door model.

Read: Ford officially launches Ranger Raptor Special Edition in SA - here's what you should

The F word of suspension systems come standard

Fox. Yes, the Bronco Raptor comes with a bespoke Fox Racing shock absorber and suspension setup. You'll see just how flexible the suspension setup is across different terrains in the video above.

The Ford Performance team collaborated with Fox to upgrade the High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension (HOSS) system with Live Valve technology. Like the F-150 Raptor truck's position-sensitive damping design, the Raptor HOSS 4.0 system features Fox 3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers (7.8cm in diameter) uniquely tuned at the front and rear and featuring integrated reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in the rear.

Additionally, suspension height sensors and other sensors at each corner monitor terrain conditions independently hundreds of times every second and adjust suspension tuning accordingly so drivers can go hammer down no matter what.

Read: The year of the pick-up? Four new big name bakkies to launch in SA in 2022

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Packed with features and interesting technologies

Bronco Raptor features a familiar heritage-inspired horizontal dashboard, integrating an all-digital 12-inch cluster. The cluster allows drivers to select from various views, including a Bronco Raptor-exclusive Performance View that emphasises tachometer and gear readings.

Base Bronco Raptor models have Black Onyx marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberised washout flooring. The dark interior is accented with Ford Performance Code Orange splashes on the driving mode rotary dial, dash vents, door netting, steering wheel stitching and Bronco logo on the instrument panel.

Even the push-button ignition lights up in Code Orange. Touchpoints such as the grab handles, steering wheel bezel and gear shifter wear low-gloss carbon fibre accents.

Owners can opt for upgraded features such as all-new laser-perforated Black Onyx Neo suede seats, vinyl-wrapped instrument panel topper, leather-wrapped outer seat bolsters and carpet flooring. A thicker and sport-contoured steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters and gloss black Raptor logo centre continues the Ford Performance treatment. 

Ford Performance-designed front seats are unique to Bronco Raptor, designed with aggressive foam side bolsters to help keep passengers firmly seated when the terrain gets nasty.

Read: More kit for your Hilux - SA's favourite bakkie now available with the 'GDV' touch

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Power will be impressive, they say

According to Ford's media material, to give the Bronco Raptor even more desert-running power, the Ford powertrain team developed the brand's twin-turbo 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine with specific Raptor-level tuning to meet Ford Performance standards.

"With a target of more than 298kW, Bronco Raptor will be the most potent street-legal Bronco ever, with intercooler and air-induction systems designed to endure the higher ambient desert temperatures," Ford explains.

For higher-speed desert capabilities or crawling over rocks, the compacted graphite iron-block engine, which saves weight while providing strength for added durability, is paired with a reinforced 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.

A dual-exhaust system, featuring first-for-Bronco active-valve technology, uses near-equal-length pipes for an improved exhaust note. The system allows drivers to alter the sound of their Bronco Raptor with four selectable exhaust modes, including Normal, Sport, Quiet and Baja.

Do you think the Ford Bronco Raptor would be the ideal sports utility vehicle for you? Let us know what you think about this exciting new model and whether Ford should launch it in SA in the comments section.

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