Is Ford Already Testing the New, Super-Powerful Bronco?

The Bronco hasn't even entered production yet, but Ford may already be teasing an even cooler version.

ford suv in testing
Ford

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.

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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.

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