When the redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 was first revealed last year, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] officials were mum on plans for a new Raptor performance model, leaving enthusiasts disappointed. That should ebb with the unveiling of a 2017 F-150 Raptor at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show that marks a major shift from the outgoing model.
That starts with the name. The Raptor is no longer an SVT model, as the Special Vehicle Team has been folded into the global Ford Performance brand. The real shock, though, is the powertrain.
The new Raptor is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This marks the first use of the long-anticipated 10-speeder Ford and General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] have been developing for trucks. It may eventually find its way into the Mustang as well.
As for the V-6, Ford says it will produce more power than the outgoing Raptor's 6.2-liter V-8, which is rated at 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. It will also have less weight to push around, thanks to the new F-150's aluminum body. Ford says it cuts 500 pounds over the previous Raptor.
As before, the Raptor comes standard with Fox Racing Shox, but they've been enlarged and allow for more suspension travel. There's also an available Torsen limited-slip front differential, a new transfer case that's supposed to offer more flexible power delivery, and a Terrain Management System with mulitiple driving modes—including Normal, Street, Weather, Mud, Baja, and Rock—that alter vehicle parameters under different conditions.
All of that hardware is wrapped in exterior styling that applies bits of the outgoing Raptor—such as the "Ford" stamped grille and fender flares—to the 2015 F-150 body for a tougher look. The Raptor also boasts a massive six-inch wider track compared to a standard F-150.
The interior has some novel features, including paddle shifters for the 10-speed automatic, and roof-mounted switches for aftermarket equipment like extra lights.
Truck buyers will have to wait to get their hands on the 2017 Raptor, though. It won't go on sale until the fall of 2016.
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