Following Ford’s announcement that a high-performance Raptor version of its Ranger ute is on the way, details have emerged revealing a new generation 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel will be used to power the halo model.
Although Ford executives have declined to comment on the finer details of the hardcore Ranger, sources familiar with the new model’s development have disclosed that the high-output engine will debut in the Raptor ahead of being rolled out across the Ranger lineup in 2019.
Despite its smaller cubic capacity and lower cylinder count, the new engine, likely to be marketed as part of Ford’s EcoBlue diesel family, won’t step backwards compared to the outputs of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel that currently powers some Ranger models.
As a minimum, that means targeted power outputs of at least 150kW and 470Nm with improved low rpm driveability thanks to a more responsive twin-turbo setup.
The more high-tech engine is also expected to save weight compared to the larger five-cylinder engine and bring improvements in efficiency. A new 10-speed automatic, co-developed with General Motors, will also improve the Raptor's performance credentials.
Initial speculation suggested the Ranger Raptor could use either a boosted version of the existing 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel engine, or a variation of Ford’s 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 petrol engine.
Instead the new 2.0-litre engine will better meet Ford’s development targets for power, economy and responsiveness, the demands for which the existing engines were unable to match.
As well as the significant under-bonnet changes, the Ranger Raptor will feature a more advanced suspension set-up based on a toughened version of the coil-sprung solid rear axle from the Everest SUV. Other changes to match the Raptor’s performance potential include raised ride height, wider wheels, four-wheel disc brakes (a first for the Ranger) and extra under-body protection to ensure it can handle the toughest driving conditions.
Development of the Ranger Raptor is being led by Ford Australia's engineering division, although the new tough ute is expected to be revealed in full at next year's Shanghai Motor Show - exactly a year after the larger F-150 Raptor went on-sale in China.
It is likely to go on-sale in Australia by mid year with an expected price of around $80,000 when it does.
Ford isn’t the only ute maker preparing to enter the performance pickup market either, with Toyota believed to be investigating a performance-enhanced HiLux through its TRD division while Holden Special Vehicles is understood to be readying a beefed-up Colorado to take the place of its current range of locally-built go-fast Commodores.