Last summer, Ford unveiled the new Bronco after a protracted tease — one that became even more protracted by the coronavirus pandemic. The new SUV is not even in production yet, though Ford did give us an off-road ride in a near-production version. But Ford appears to be testing (and hyping) an even higher-performance Bronco model already.
Back in September, Ford tweeted a photo of a camouflaged Bronco that's currently in testing. The SUV is moving fast and catching air over off-road terrain — which seems to be a clear hint that it’s the upcoming high-performance Bronco Raptor (or Warthog).
Whatever moniker Ford ultimately uses, the high-performance Bronco should be an absolute monster. A previous report says Ford could be giving that Bronco the super-powerful twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine. That V6 engine delivers 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque in the Explorer ST; as a hybrid, that plant puts out a staggering 494 hp and 630 lb-ft in the Aviator Grand Touring. The latter setup would crush anything gas or diesel-powered on the present off-roader market, and potentially push the Bronco from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds.
Ford’s timing for this tease is curious. Manufacturers generally don’t launch a new car and then give a “wink-wink” hint that a better version is coming two months later — especially before it hits a showroom. But the Bronco’s main rival may be forcing Ford’s hand.
Jeep all but announced a 450-hp Hemi V8 Wrangler was coming the day the Bronco launched. The company also debuted the new plug-in hybrid Wrangler with outputs exceeding the V6-powered Bronco; that model goes on sale in a few months. It may be imperative for Ford to look as though it’s responding...even if it’s not clear yet how this tit-for-tat battle will affect sales.