Ford’s ballsy new Ranger Raptor

Aussie-developed hi-po ute built to jump dunes

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FORD AUSTRALIA HAS revealed a trophy-truck-inspired Ranger Raptor set to terrorise a firetrail somewhere near you later this year. With coilover suspension and big brakes, the Ranger Raptor promises serious unsealed-road ability – even if there’s no V8 in sight, Australia set to get a 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder. It’s also stumped your loyal servants here at MOTOR – is the Ranger Raptor a performance car? On the one hand, it’s a traditional high-riding diesel dualcab ute – not the usual MOTOR fare. On the other hand, it has the potential to be one of the most entertaining cars of 2018: plenty of torque, selectable rearor all-wheel drive and a love of jumps! On the basis of its straight-line ability, it’s probably not what you’d call a performance car. The new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel is impressively potent for its size, developing 157kW/500Nm, and is quite clever, working its two turbos (one small, one large) in series at low rpm before bypassing the smaller one as engine speeds rise. Making the most of its relatively narrow (by petrol standards) power band is a 10-speed auto. Nonetheless, the engine is unlikely to be this car’s highlight. Like a good hot hatch, the magic of the Raptor lies in its chassis. The standard leaf-sprung rear has been flung, replaced by a bespoke coilover setup with integrated Watt’s linkage. At the front, the strut towers are reinforced and the dampers are supplied by Fox Racing. Designed for off-road enduro racing, Fox’s internal bypass technology allow the shocks to soak up massive hits at high speed. Stopping this big rig are uprated brakes, with 332mm rotors front/rear gripped by larger calipers. Tyres are by BFGoodrich and measure 285/70 R17. Protecting vital componentry, such as the radiator, electric power steering,sump and front diff is a 2.3mm-thick high-strength steel bashplate. There’s even a dedicated ‘Baja mode’ – named after the famous Mexican offroad race – which is essentially a track mode for off-road racers. You begin to see our conundrum: while the Ranger Raptor’s spec doesn’t necessarily scream high-performance, it’s been designed to be driven as hard as possible, which is right up our alley. Unfortunately, the version we and many Aussie enthusiasts would like to see is unlikely to hit local shores. Nothing is confirmed, but rumours are rife that with the Ranger set to hit the US later in 2018, it’ll receive a petrol-powered Raptor, potentially the 242kW/474Nm 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 from the Ford Fusion Sport. Another option is a 2.3-litre turbo four, which produces 224kW/441Nm in the 2018 Mustang EcoBoost. Ford Performance chief engineer, Jamal Hameedi, told Australian outlet Drive at the Raptor’s international launch: “I think [the Ranger Raptor] would do really well in the States [but] most American off-roaders would actually prefer a petrol engine.” Pricing is still TBC, but expect an ask of $70K-plus when it lands around mid-year. In the meantime, we’ll keep mulling over whether the likes of the Ranger Raptor and Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV fit the MOTOR mould. We’d love to hear your thoughts at motor@bauer-media.com.au

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Toyota Supra specs leak ahead of Geneva reveal

LEAKED IMAGES in a Japanese car magazine have supposedly exposed the upcoming new Toyota Supra. By the time you read this the new Supra (if it’s called that) will possibly be mere hours away from a global reveal, but scans from Japanese magazine Best Car have leaked online, apparently revealing the basic specifications of Toyota’s hotly anticipated new sports car. According to the information in Best Car, the Supra will be remarkably similar in size to the 86, just 140mm longer, 80mm wider, 30mm lower and with 100mm less wheelbase. Nonetheless, at 1496kg it will weigh around 250kg more. Thankfully, it also has plenty more grunt, a 3.0-litre turbo straight-six (presumably BMW’s B58 found in the M140i) producing 250kW/450Nm driving the rear wheels. Keep an eye on our website for the full story and hopefully official imagesLEAKED IMAGES in a Japanese car magazine have supposedly exposed the upcoming new Toyota Supra. By the time you read this the new Supra (if it’s called that) will possibly be mere hours away from a global reveal, but scans from Japanese magazine Best Car have leaked online, apparently revealing the basic specifications of Toyota’s hotly anticipated new sports car. According to the information in Best Car, the Supra will be remarkably similar in size to the 86, just 140mm longer, 80mm wider, 30mm lower and with 100mm less wheelbase. Nonetheless, at 1496kg it will weigh around 250kg more. Thankfully, it also has plenty more grunt, a 3.0-litre turbo straight-six (presumably BMW’s B58 found in the M140i) producing 250kW/450Nm driving the rear wheels. Keep an eye on our website for the full story and hopefully official images