Let’s face it, the Ford Bronco would likely sell like a whole hotcake if they were to introduce it in South Africa. It’s handsome, practical, well-packaged and seemingly capable off-road, and it’s no secret that ’the Blue Oval’ has quite the fanbase in South Africa.
Add to that the fact that you can take the doors off and still have side-mirrors and you have what we might like to call ‘a winner’. Convinced? Well, just in case you needed a little more convincing, there’s a new Bronco Model and it’s called the Bronco Raptor. Raptor…you may have heard the name.
The Ford Ranger was hardly a bad seller in South Africa, if you need reminding, just have a look here, but the demand for a performance version definitely existed. Enter the Ranger Raptor. A Ranger, with the words Raptor across the grille, much like the F-150 Raptor, but also with the mechanical gubbins to actually make it a more performance-focused version of the Ranger and not just your cousin’s WildTrack with a turbo-popping, warranty voiding aftermarket ‘Raptor’ grille…
Back to the Bronco – I’m sure someone who owns one uses that line all the time – Bronco demand went through the roof the moment they announced the off-roader and has remained there since. Again, however, the graph readers and money minders figured out that a performance version would be a smart move, and so here it is, and this is why it is just too cool for the 26 letters on this qwerty keyboard.
Its powered by 3,0-litre EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6, rumoured to put out over 300 kW and around 550 N.m. With the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon offering a 350 kW rip snorting V8, there may be a few people who have raised an eyebrow at that fact, however the reason for the Bronco Raptor featuring a V6 as opposed to V8 is more about practicality and less about emissions of fuel consumption…
The Ford Bronco production line has already been tooled to accommodate a range of engines, including the 2,3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder a la Mustang and the 2,7-litre EcoBoost V6, from which the Bronco Raptor’s 3,0-litre mill is derived. Essentially, it’s easier for them to make the Bronco Raptor with a V6 and in this time of microchip shortage and 3 year waiting lists, that’s a smart move on Ford’s part.
While on the topic of the engine, Ford note that over the Explorer ST with which it shares its engine, it will also feature “a true-dual exhaust system, along with additional cooling and a specific tune to add power.”
Ford Bronco Raptor’s track is 218 mm wider than that of the standard Bronco and power is sent to all four wheels through an upgraded two-speed transfer case, connected to a new Dana 50 Heavy-Duty AdvanTEK live axle at the rear and a Dana 44 AdvanTEK differential at the front. Ford says that they’re the same units found in its Ultra4-class Bronco race trucks, which is nice.
Other notable changes over the standard Bronco are a 50% increase in torsional rigidity, beefier shock towers to handle all of the jumps/ YouTubers on their farms, and a trick suspension system. Developed by Fox Racing, the HOSS (High-performance Off-road Stability Suspension) uses internal bypass semi-active dampers which are nearly 8 cm in diameter. The reservoirs are integrated into the shock body at the front, but remotely mounted in the rear. With unique tuning front and back, they use sensors at each corner of the ‘Raptor in order to monitor terrain conditions “hundreds of times every second,” according to Ford, to then adjust stiffness accordingly. In conjunction with Raptor-specific control arms, the suspension allows for 330 mm of travel at the front and 355 mm at the rear, a massive 60 % and 40 % more respectively than what you’ll find in the standard Bronco.
The interior features some carbon fibre goodies here and there, as well as some Black Onyx marine-grade vinyl seats, and rubberized washout flooring. As standard, the High package is fitted which features a 12-inch touchscreen. Optionally, the Lux package can be added which adds a 10-speaker B&O audio system and adaptive cruise control.
Pricing starts at $69 995 (R1 068 500) and unfortunately, there are no plans for the Bronco Raptor to land (literally) on local soil…