Higher Performance V8 Raptor Already in the Works
Ford has multiple engines that could provide big power, allowing the Raptor to battle the Hellcat Ram.
For a very long time, the Ford F-150 Raptor has been the most powerful performance truck sold in the United States, with the newest iteration offering 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque with the specially-tuned EcoBoost V6. However, it is expected that the Ram Truck brand will eventually introduce a Ram 1500 powered by the supercharged Hellcat Hemi, which could pack upwards of 700 horsepower, effectively dethroning the F-150.
Fortunately, according to a report from the Ford Authority, the Motor Company is already working on a variant of the Raptor that will compete with a Hellcat Hemi-powered Ram 1500, and it could pack more than 700 horsepower. To some, that might seem farfetched, but Ford has a variety of V8 engines that could be supercharged to provide this kind of power, while the rest of the Raptor components would easily be upgraded to handle all of that power.
The Hellcat Ram
Before getting into the 700+ horsepower Raptor, let’s take a look at what is expected to arrive from the key competition.
FCA officials have stated that there is a Ram 1500 on the way that will be powered by some variation of the supercharged 6.2-liter “Hellcat” Hemi, and the production truck should be similar to the 2016 Ram Rebel TRX Concept truck. That pickup had the Hellcat Hemi, a unique body package, a big suspension setup and an array of other components that would make it the most capable half-ton truck in any setting while also being the most powerful.
That concept “only” had 575 horsepower, but with the introduction of the Jeep Trackhawk, we know that FCA has a four-wheel-drive system that will handle all 707 horsepower. It is widely expected that when the Hellcat-powered production truck arrives, it will have more than 700 horsepower and it could creep up towards 800 horsepower if the company used bits from the Challenger Hellcat Redeye.
Raptor to Fight the Ram
Provided that all of these hints, insider reports and rumors prove to be true and Ram does roll out a half-ton truck with a 707-horsepower Hemi and the look of that aggressive concept vehicle, Ford will need to retaliate.
Fortunately, the Raptor is already built to compete with that Ram in terms of the body, chassis and suspension components, with the Rebel TRX Concept being designed to battle the F-150. There is no question that that Ram concept has a Raptor-esque feel to it, so some simple upgrades to the F-150, perhaps a need hood and some added cooing vents up front, would be enough on the outside.
The 10-speed transmission was developed in cooperation with General Motors, who uses a transmission from the same family for the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1, so it seems that only minor tweaks would be needed. Ford just needs the big power, but there are several possible options for that. All of the reports indicate that this higher performance Raptor will have a V8 and there are three possible engines that could fit this role.
The first and most likely is the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 that will provide at least 700 horsepower in the upcoming Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Pair that engine with the 10-speed transmission and a suspension system that has been tweaked to handle the big power and Ford would have a real monster on their hands. Plus, the Motor Company would be able to market this Raptor as having the heart of the new Shelby GT500 and, even if unofficially, that has a nice ring to it.
Ford Performance Power
The second option for the high performance Raptor would involve the folks at Ford Performance. Ford Performance offers a 2.65-liter supercharger assembly for the 2019 Mustang GT that lifts the 5.0-liter V8 up to 700 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque, and it is warranty-friendly when installed by a Ford dealership. If Ford can sell an aftermarket package like that, they should be able to use a similar supercharger setup to develop a factory supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V8 that is already offered in the F-150 to make more than 700 horsepower.
We know for a fact that the 5.0 will make more than 700 horsepower with Ford-approved parts, so if the GT500 engine is too costly, a supercharged 5.0 would make for a great option. Really, this would be the most cost-effective, using an engine and supercharger that they already have in their inventory, requiring only the upgrades needed to make the power reliably.
Super Duty Power
Finally, there is the new 7.3-liter gasoline engine from the newest generation of the Super Duty lineup, which is expected to offer a bit more power than the 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque delivered by the 6.2-liter gas engine. If Ford can achieve similar volumetric efficiency to the 6.2, the 7.3 could easily reach 450 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. That is well-short of the 700 horsepower mark, but add on a supercharger and that new, big displacement engine could be massaged to reach the ideal numbers.
This would be an expensive option, but it all of that engine volume would lead to more power and in the long run, having a massive engine with a massive power rating makes for a great marketing piece. This new 7.3 isn’t a “big block” by classic standards, it has the displacement of the old school big block. Ford could, in theory, market this as a modern big block, delivering more than 700 supercharged horsepower, and that sounds pretty cool.
In any case, we will likely have to wait for at least a year before we see a 700+ horsepower F-150 Raptor in the local dealership, but all signs point to one coming to production soon.