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First Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor 6.2L

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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First Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor 6.2L
Contributors: Chris Pearson
Photographers: Chris Pearson

The Ford SVT Raptor pickup revolutionized the way OEMs built off-road "themed" trucks. No longer were sticker kits and red shocks the accepted norm; rather, suspension travel, big tires, and internal bypass shock technology were setting the standard. Making its debut at the 2008 Baja 1000, the 6.2L Raptor R captivated truck enthusiasts worldwide. Taking a Third Place finish in class 8, the SVT Raptor R secured the respect of the off-road industry and proved that the Raptor was like no other factory pickup on the planet.

While the truck was initially released with the 5.4L V-8, speculation about when the more powerful 6.2L would be under the hood flooded the industry and Internet forums. After nearly two years of relentless testing by Ford engineers, the much anticipated 6.2L Raptor is ready to launch. Rated at 411hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, the 6.2L makes the SVT F-150 one of the most powerful 1/2-ton trucks on the market.

Factory engine testing and data are rarely released to the public, much less to overly inquisitive automotive journalists. So when Ford Engineer Jim Stevens offered to give us a little insight into how their race 6.2L was holding up, we graciously listened. After multiple conversations we learned that the 6.2L that's now available in the production truck is virtually identical to their Raptor R race engine, which was the SVT team's goal from the beginning. While the race version of the 6.2L nets about 100 more horsepower, all of the core components and parts are the same as the production engine.

With the custom-spec 35-inch BFG A-Ts, 11 inches of front and 13 of rear suspension travel, and 7-inch-wider track width, the 6.2L Raptor has the makings of the ultimate desert-ready prerunner-with a warranty, of course. And like most super trick pickups, there is a lot more than meets the eye on this flared-out F-150. Little items like the selectable rear locker with no speed limiter, and cutting edge electronic controls that allow you to power through corners like an off-road race truck-and stop like one too-place the Raptor in a league of its own.

As of now the production version of the Raptor continues to sell exceptionally well. Reportedly, one only sits in a showroom six days before finding an owner. In the coming year Ford plans to launch a Raptor Crew Cab and an XT version of this model, which will include a 6.2L with 500 hp, 4.56 gears, and a four-linked rear suspension capable of 18 inches of vertical wheel travel.

Without question Ford has made some bold moves and off-road history with the Raptor project, and we can't wait to see what the hard-working Special Vehicle Team has in store for us next.

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