An Aussie-developed performance ute wearing a Ford badge is coming to local showrooms next year.
We may not be building it here, and it's not a Falcon, but the local Ford development team has recognised that the Aussie muscle car may have evolved from a tyre-frying V8-powered sedan to a desert-busting pickup.
Dubbed Ranger Raptor, the blue oval says it has been "designed and engineered to deliver an adrenaline pumping experience" with a more aggressive visual identity than the tradie-focused mainstream models and additional off-road performance.
While it has yet to divulge any details about the Ranger Raptor other than its existence, Ford has released three images of a prototype undergoing rigorous testing in the outback, including one of it jumping over whoops on a rough, sandy road.
The images indicate the car has wider wheel arches, larger off-road biased tyres and increased ride height from the suspension, as well as a shallower front bumper with additional under body protection. It is also beleived the Raptor will have an adaptation of the Everest SUV's coil-sprung rear suspension to improve its handling, both on the road and off the beaten track.
What's under the bonnet remains a mystery, but a promotional video indicates it won't feature the existing 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine from the current Ranger line-up. Befitting its performance character, it is expected to be powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 - similar to that in the back of the born again Ford GT and the front of the bigger F-150 Raptor in the US - that could produce up to 336kW and 690Nm and drive a rear-biased four-wheel drive transmission through a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
“We are very excited to bring Asia Pacific’s toughest and smartest pickup truck to a whole new level,” Ford's Trevor Worthington said.
“Ford Ranger Raptor will offer Ranger fans a fantastic opportunity to own an authentic off-road performance version of their favorite truck for the first time.”
Official details of the Ford Ranger Raptor will be revealed closer to its showroom arrival mid next year.
Stay tuned - and scroll down to watch the video.
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