Past generations of Ford Bronco have offered V-8 engines, but that isn't in the cards for the new 2021 model, according to a report from Muscle Cars & Trucks published Friday.

Emissions are the main reason, Ford global program manager Jeff Seaman and Bronco chief engineer Eric Loefler said in an interview with the website. Federal regulations made a larger, less-efficient V-8 like Ford's current Coyote 5.0-liter engine a no go, they said.

At the same time, the smaller engines hit Ford's targets for horsepower, torque, and off-road capability, so there was no obvious advantage to a V-8, they said.

"If the customer experience was significantly enhanced with a Coyote engine, it would have been under serious consideration," Seaman said.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

The 2021 Bronco launches with a 2.3-liter turbo-4 as its base engine, producing an estimated 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. An available 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 is projected to make 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

A V-8 may be unlikely, but Ford still plans to give the Bronco more power.

A higher-performance version, possibly called Raptor or Warthog, is on the way. It will be a high-speed desert runner, meaning it will need more power than the standard Bronco. That could come from the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 used in the Explorer ST, or the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the current F-150 Raptor and Limited—which produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft in those models.

This sportier Bronco will likely lag behind the standard version, which launches next spring. Expect the Bronco Raptor/Warthog to be a 2022 or 2023 model.