R You Ready? The 2021 Ford Raptor’s Getting a V8…in 2022

With the Ram 1500 TRX almost literally leaving the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor in its dust, the next-gen truck has some ground to make up. But at first glance, the 2021 Raptor still seems a bit underpowered compared to the TRX. However, that’s only the case for the ‘base’ model. Ford’s working on a more powerful variant: the F-150 Raptor R. But you’ll have to wait to get it.

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is getting a street-legal 2022 V8-powered R trim

An orange 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor in the desert
2021 Ford F-150 Raptor | Ford

As with the 2020 model, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6. However, the first-gen SVT Raptor offered two different V8 engines: a 310-hp 5.4-liter V8 and a 411-hp 6.2-liter V8, Car and Driver reports. The truck switched to a V6 starting with the second-gen 2015 model.

As of this writing, we don’t know how much power the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has. Its V6 comes with a few upgrades, Roadshow reports, so presumably, it has a slightly higher output. For comparison, the 2020 model has 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. Still, given that the Ram 1500 TRX’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 makes 702 hp and 650 lb-ft, there’s a significant power disparity.

That’s where the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor R comes in. Instead of a V6, this truck will have a V8 under the hood. Initially, it was believed that this engine wouldn’t be street-legal, The Drive reports. However, Ford spokespeople have since confirmed that isn’t the case, Motor1 reports.

So, not only is the Raptor R bringing the V8 back, but you’ll be able to drive it on- and off-road. But not right away. Although the standard F-150 Raptor is a 2021 truck, the R trim won’t arrive until 2022, Road & Track reports.

What kind of V8 will power the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R?

As of this writing, Ford hasn’t confirmed what kind of V8 the 2022 F-150 Raptor R will have. But there are a handful of possible suspects.

The view of a red 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's engine bay
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 engine bay | Ford

According to unspecified “intel,” MotorTrend suspects it could be the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500. Roadshow and Autoblog report similar murmurings in the rumor mill. Given that it’s a pre-existing engine, the relatively-short window between the 2021 F-150 Raptor and 2022 R makes some sense. And seeing as it makes 760 hp and 625 lb-ft in the Shelby GT500, it compares favorably to the TRX’s output.

However, if the Raptor R is indeed getting the Shelby GT500’s engine, it likely won’t have the same output. As the Ram 1500 TRX demonstrates, the engine hardware needed for off-roading durability and longevity decreases horsepower slightly. And based on MT’s intel, the need for reliability may explain the one-year gap. According to MT, rumors indicate that development Raptor Rs with supercharged V8s have been struggling with durability once output goes significantly beyond 600 hp.

2020 Ford Super-Duty 7.3-liter 'Godzilla' V8
2020 Ford Super-Duty 7.3-liter ‘Godzilla’ V8 | Ford

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Ford has another V8 option for the F-150 Raptor R, one that’s already sort of part of the F-Series family. It’s the 7.3-liter ‘Godzilla’ V8 found in the company’s Super-Duty line. However, even in crate-engine form it ‘only’ makes 430 hp and 475 lb-ft, MT reports. And its low-revving nature doesn’t really suit the Raptor, MT muses.

How will it compare to the Ram 1500 TRX?

Given that we don’t even know the standard 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor’s output, it’s impossible to truly compare the TRX to the 2022 Raptor R. However, that really only applies to these trucks’ acceleration figures. As it stands, the 2021 Raptor edges out the 1500 TRX in some categories.

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Firstly, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has slightly higher payload and towing capacities than the TRX, MT reports. And equipped with its optional 37” tires, the 2021 Raptor has more ground clearance and better approach, departure, and break-over angles. It also has slightly more rear suspension travel. And while the Ram 1500 TRX has more rear legroom, the F-150 Raptor has more front legroom.

But for now, we’ll just have to wait on that V8.

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