A Ford executive says that the twin-turbo 2,0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the new Ranger Raptor was the “right choice” since it combines “power and efficiency”.

Although Ford has yet to reveal performance (nor claimed efficiency) figures for the new Ranger Raptor, it confirmed at the beefed-up bakkie’s global unveiling that the uprated turbodiesel mill will be worth 157 kW and 500 N.m, besting the existing 3,2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel unit by 10 kW and 30 N.m.

Roland Ernst, Ford's chief engineer for small gas and diesel engines, told CarAdvice that the powerplant had been “optimised” for use in the off-roading pick-up, where it will be linked to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission.

“We’ve taken the standard 2,0-litre turbo that this engine started life as and refined the durability, upgraded the pistons and optimised the temperature range of the turbines for better performance with this engine,” Ernst said, according to the Australian publication.

“Once that was done, we’ve taken it through the toughest testing procedures we have in the Ford Corporation, including the peak pressures in the fuel system, the entire temperature range inside the engine, as well as all the environmental testing in deserts and in freezing conditions in cold climates – and it passed with flying colours.”

Ernst promised that the engine in the Ranger Raptor was "very responsive".

“The main intent of the Raptor DNA is to have a very sharp throttle response, and we think with this product that we’ve achieved that through our engineering, and especially in combination with our 10-speed auto transmission," he said.

“By combining the boost control with the smaller HP turbocharger sequentially with the larger LP turbo for the higher power, we think we’ve got a very responsive engine, a very powerful engine and a very tough engine.”

Earlier, Ford Performance’s chief engineer reacted to criticism of the Blue Oval's choice of powerplant, telling South African media that “the Raptor is not about the engine". He also suggested to Australian reporters that a petrol-powered Ranger Raptor was not on the cards.