Ford Bronco production barely began more than a year ago, but already, there’s a hardcore Raptor version jumping into view. Like the F-150 Raptor it’s powered twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 instead of a V8, but with a twist - the burlier Bronco has shirked Ford’s 3.5-litre six-banger for the 3.0-litre version with an upgraded intercooler and air intake. It’s all for those higher temperatures in the desert, y’see.
The V6 uses a compacted graphite iron block rather than aluminium as found on the bigger engine, and it’s not quite as powerful. Still, the promised output of over 400bhp is healthy enough, and similar to what you get from a Coyote V8. It will have over 2.5 tonnes of vehicle to move, so expect straight-line performance to be brisk rather than shockingly fast.
In any case, speed isn’t why you buy one of these - what a Raptor can do on the rough stuff is far more important, and here, the Bronco is well covered. Its suspension setup was co-developed with Fox, featuring 79mm thick ‘3.1 Internal Bypass Semi-Active Dampers’. The front and rear control arms and the shock towers meanwhile are unique to the Raptor, allowing for 330mm of travel at the front and 356mm at the back.
That’s 60 per cent and 40 per cent more (respectively) than a boggo Bronco manages. The front and rear tracks are also 218mm wider, and the ride height is up by 112mm to 332. In case the latter isn’t quite enough, new bash plates will protect the underside of the vehicle.
Further helping prevent off-road breakages, the Bronco has a tough steel ladder frame and reinforcements on the upper body, B-pillar crossbar and C-pillar. All in, you’re looking at a 50 per cent increase in torsional rigidity.
Feeding the V6’s brawn to the tarmac/mud/dirt/snow is a 10-speed automatic gearbox, a Dana 50 drive unit on the solid rear axle, and a Dana 44 with upgraded half shafts at the front. At each corner is a 17-inch beadlock compatible wheel shod in a 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tyre.
Inside, the Bronco Raptor does plenty to make your off-piste adventures as comfortable as possible. There’s a new 12-inch digital instrument cluster featuring a Raptor-exclusive ‘Performance View’, alongside which is a 12-inch infotainment setup working with Ford’s Sync4 software and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system.
There are Black Onyx “marine-grade” vinyl seats, and rubberised flooring you can take a hose to should the need arise. The bespoke steering wheel features a pair of paddle shifters and operates a new steering rack influenced by the one found on the F-150 Raptor.
Orders will open in March, with the first cars in the hands of customers from summer 2022. Given that Ford is yet to bring any kind of Bronco to Europe (something which hasn’t been ruled out, at least), we’re not expecting the Raptor to come to the UK in any official capacity. A shame, but we are set to receive the incoming, all-new Ranger Raptor here.