What if it’s been under our nose this whole time? The Ford Bronco Raptor, that is. While not expected until the 2023 model year, this dune jumping SUV may already have been teased via an accessories concept that was in plain sight during Ford Bronco Day that happened earlier this summer.
What we’ve got is a highly modified 2021 Ford Bronco SUV that is assumed to preview some of the 200 accessories that will be available when the vehicle launches in spring of 2021. Looking a little closer, this unique Bronco has a 2-inch lift, 37-inch BFG Baja Champion tires, beadlock capable wheels, wider fenders, and a unique lower front fascia with different tow hooks and bumper than the others. It may not be the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor, but it’s likely an easter egg. In two-door flavor, no less. One can easily presume that a four-door will be offered, also. In terms of proportions, this off-road SUV is commandingly tall for a midsize SUV, and had far more presence than more base Broncos nearby. Pictured for your enjoyment is a man next to it, giving you a relative sense of scale.
Ford Bronco engineers decided on an independent front suspension not only because it handles like a champ on the road, but because it’s more adept at handling uneven terrain at high speeds off the road. This is compared to the live axle front suspension found in the JL Jeep Wrangler. A casual onlooker may perceive the Bronco and Wrangler to be incredibly similar, but their respective formulas when it comes to offering an off-road SUV solution actually contrast wildly. Everything from suspension, to mirror mounts, to engines, differ greatly. And thus they are better suited for different off-road situations on paper. Whereas the Wrangler is arguably more fit for low speeds, tighter trails and articulation; the Bronco can traverse the open vistas of nowhere at a rate of speed that a stock Wrangler is unlikely to match.
Under the hood of the Ford Bronco Raptor is unlikely to be the 5.0L Coyote V8 that enthusiasts are rabid for. You can thank the government’s obsession with vehicle footprints for that. Instead, look for a 3.0L twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that’s currently found in the Ford Explorer ST that’s good for 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque in this application. Or, as seen in the Bronco R, a 2.7L EcoBoost V6. A 10-speed automatic would likely be the single transmission offering.
The Ford Bronco R is another precursor to the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor. Designed to tackle long-form desert races like the Baja 1000, the Bronco R is Ford’s official entry into off-road racing, but isn’t opposed to offering up the vehicle program to other race teams.
What do you think? Is this a Bronco Raptor Easter Egg? Or is this a simple design study? Let us know in the comments below.