What happens when a 9-time world motorcycle champion signs off on a limited edition pickup truck? The Ford VR46 Ranger, that's what. And this is it in the flesh.
Rossi himself gave the final approval of the truck's design which includes plenty of off-road goodies and more menacing looks. Of course, this is the global Ford Ranger sold outside of North America. Ford will reintroduce the Ranger to North America for the 2019 model year, and our new Ranger is expected to be an update of the global version you see here.
We digress. The VR46 Ranger benefits from BF Goodrich all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch alloy wheels. It also gets a stainless steel exhaust system, a 1.75-inch lift kit, colored shocks and springs, a sump and fuel tank guard, roll-over protection, and roof-mounted lights. So, yes, there's quite a bit of content present.
Inside, special sill plates don the doors, Nappa leather seats are present, and a flat-bottom steering wheel conveys the VR46 Ranger's sporting and off-road intentions. However, the VR46 doesn't actually sport any performance upgrades on the powertrain side of things. The Ranger's available 3.2-liter turbocharged inline-5 diesel engine is still plopped under the hood.
Ranger fans outside of North America have plenty of aftermarket and tuning companies to choose from. Valentino Rossi's VR46 is simply the latest addition to a slew of special Rangers built by companies all over the globe, including Australia's Tickford. Ford is also thought to be working on an in-house solution with a potential Ranger Raptor.
Unfortunately, North Americans will have to wait until the 2019 model year rolls around before anything close to the VR46 becomes a reality here.