Ford F-150 Raptor R with V8 power coming, but it won't be here until next year

Ford's hardest-core off-road F-150 pickup could be worth waiting for.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read
Ford F-150 Raptor R teaser
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Ford F-150 Raptor R teaser

You don't have to read the tea leaves to know a Ford Raptor R is coming, the answer is blowin' in the wind.


Correction, 8:27 a.m. PT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the forthcoming Raptor R would not be street legal. That assertion was based on incorrect information sourced directly from Ford PR and corroborated on multiple occasions. The story has been updated to reflect that the new Raptor R truck will be street legal.

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor super truck was unveiled to the digital world on Wednesday. Reborn on the F-Series' 14th-generation chassis with a stouter coil-spring rear suspension, larger tires and oodles more tech and active safety gear, the Raptor v3.0 promises to be a formidable off-road juggernaut, as well as significantly more livable as a daily driver. But despite its myriad improvements, at least one aspect of the truck's genetic makeup is likely to raise eyebrows and set tongues wagging: the continuation of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 as the Raptor's sole engine.

If you're one of those folks who had been eagerly awaiting a V8-powered Raptor as foretold by internet chatroom gossip, well, hang on, it's still coming. As part of Wednesday's reveal announcement, Ford has confirmed that an even higher-performance Raptor R is coming next year, and yes, it will be firing on all eight cylinders.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor has bigger feet than Sasquatch

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Ford stopped short of saying what V8 engine will be slung between the Raptor R's fenders, of course, and like the regular 2021 Raptor, Ford isn't providing any performance estimates at this time. That said, It's only reasonable to assume that the Blue Oval plans to directly take on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, 702-horsepower Hellcat V8 and all. After all, that truck represents the Raptor's first credible rival after over a decade of unchallenged high-speed off-road dominance.

Rumors persist that the forthcoming Raptor R's engine will be a derivative of the Predator supercharged V8 found in the Mustang Shelby GT500, but at this point, that's all they are -- rumors. (If you're curious, the engine in the GT500 makes 760 hp and 625 pound-feet of torque, although substantially different tuning would likely be required for truck use.)

While Ford says the Raptor R will arrive in 2022, it's not clear what model year the truck will carry. In the meantime, we have the new V6-powered F-150 Raptor to enjoy when it hits dealers this summer.

Watch this: The new Ford F-150 Raptor is here, and version 3.0 is louder and fiercer