2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R Set to Challenge Ram 1500 TRX

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R is the most potent Raptor ever, fulfilling a promise made when the third-gen Raptor was introduced in February 2021. True, the new EcoBoost V6 Raptor is no slowpoke with 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft. of torque, but the monster truck landscape is home to a new breed of animal, the Ram 1500 TRX.

We’re first to admit that the TRX has overshadowed the still-capable V6-powered second and third-gen Ford F-150 Raptor, but all of that is about to change with the Raptor R.

“Raptor R is our ultimate Raptor,” said Carl Widmann, Chief Engineer of Ford Performance. “When customers experience Raptor R in the desert and beyond, it will make the hairs on the back of their necks stand up – and they’ll love every second of it.”

Predator V8 Reporting For Duty

We never seriously thought Ford would let the Ram TRX run circles around the Raptor. You see, the R badge has a lineage in the Raptor DNA. The first Raptor to wear the R badge was the first-gen F-150 SVT R, the race-ready version of a standard Raptor built exclusively for the Baja 1000, so you can bet the house Ford is going all out with the all-new Raptor R.

Under the hood is the same 5.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500, the big daddy of blue oval muscle cars. Affectionately called “Predator” by Ford, it’s the most powerful engine in the automaker’s long and illustrious history, pumping out 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft. of torque in the Shelby GT500.

With the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, you have 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft. of torque at your disposal. The blown engine churns out maximum twist at low to mid revs to deliver heart-pounding acceleration, channeling all that grunt to all four wheels using a 10-speed SelectShift automatic gearbox.

Ford updated the mill with a recalibrated supercharger and a smaller diameter pulley to favor more torque over peak power output. Custom stainless steel exhaust manifolds, an updated oil cooler, and a deeper oil pan were also added. On the intake side, the V8 now has a more comprehensive air intake and a non-restrictive air filter that inhales 66 percent more air when compared to the EcoBoost V6 Raptor.

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Ford F-150 Raptor R vs. Ram 1500 TRX

We knew this question would come sooner or later, and it’s imperative to give a straight answer. Which one is the biggest and baddest? The Ford F-150 Raptor R or the Ram 1500 TRX?

The Ram TRX has moved the goalpost further with its supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 churning out 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. The TRX has more power, but the Hellcat has a heftier cast iron block. On the other hand, Raptor R’s Predator has a lighter aluminum block, resulting in a curb weight of 5,950 lbs.

Meanwhile, the Ram TRX tips the scales at about 6,350 lbs. If you do the math, the Raptor R has a slightly better power-to-weight ratio (8.5 lbs/hp) than the TRX (9 lbs/hp), which also means the former could upset the latter in a drag race – not that these trucks are about drag racing per se, but you get the point.

We’re still waiting for the Raptor R’s official zero to 60 and quarter-mile numbers, but we’re sure it’ll be close. For reference, the RAM TRX rushes from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and blitzes the quarter-mile in about 12.9 seconds at 108 mph.

Race-Proven Underpinnings

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R has an updated front axle with a higher strength carrier casing and an aluminum-ribbed cover to handle the added torque. Also standard is a larger-diameter aluminum driveshaft and a bespoke torque converter with a robust turbine damper and a four-pinion rear output to deliver relentless grunt whether on or off-road.

The Raptor R also relies on a five-link rear suspension (with extra-long trailing arms), 24-inch coil springs, and a Panhard rod to improve stability. The standard dampers are custom FOX Live Valve shock absorbers with height and terrain sensors that monitor the ground and adjust the damping forces up to a hundred times a second.

In addition, Raptor R has unique 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires for up to 13 inches of front wheel travel and 14.1 inches in the rear (to go over rocks and dunes like they weren’t there).

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R.
Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Rugged Styling

The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R looks similar to an ordinary Raptor (if you can call a Raptor ordinary), but the former has bespoke exterior and interior trim to set it apart. It has a more significant power dome on the hood, bulkier fenders, and Code Orange R badging on the body graphics.

Opening the doors reveals genuine carbon-fiber accents, Recaro front seats wrapped in black leather, and an R button on the steering wheel. Standard convenience features include a 12-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R interior layout.
2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R interior layout. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R: Pricing & Availability

The F-150 Raptor R starts at $109,145, about $37,000 more than a Raptor V6 and $32,000 dearer than a Ram 1500 TRX. The order books are open, and production should commence in late 2022 at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.