Update (25/5/18): Ford Australia has confirmed the Ranger Raptor will arrive in September alongside the wider MY19 line-up.
The 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor has been revealed in Thailand, ahead of an Australian launch in September.
A 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel lives under the bonnet, generating 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque. That compares to the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-pot oiler in the current Ranger line-up, though no doubt the Raptor's engine is lighter.
Ford says the transmission helps improve acceleration and responsiveness, largely thanks to the span of ratios. There are also wheel-mounted paddles for manual control, should the mood take you.
Visually, the Raptor gets a new grille with 'FORD' across its centre, much like the F-150. LED fog-lights and functional air curtain ducts have been added up front, along with two recovery hooks rated at 4.5 tonnes.
The flared front wheel arches are said to be more resistant to the dents and dings associated with off-roading, and allow for the longer-travel suspension and oversized off-road tyres.
Ground clearance has been increased to 283mm (up from the Wildtrak's 237mm) and approach, ramp-over and departure angles have been improved to 32.5/24/24 degrees respectively – the Wildtrak claims 29 degrees for approach and 21 degrees for departure.
A modified rear bumper houses an integrated tow bar, and recovery hooks rated at 3.8 tonnes. Towing capacity is limited to 2500 kilograms, down 1000kg on the Wildtrak.
Ford has confirmed the colour selection will include Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White and the unique hero colour: Conquer Grey. Contrasting Dyno Grey exterior accents help to "accentuate the vehicle's look even further".
Inside, there are unique seats designed for high-speed off-roading, trimmed in "technical suede". There are also blue highlights and leather accents throughout the cabin, along with a new steering wheel with perforated leather grip sections and magnesium paddle shifters.
Ford Performance has exerted its influence, too, with the red 'on-centre' marker at 12 o'clock on the steering wheel – which is finished with the Raptor logo in the spoke bezel.
Under the skin is a chassis frame tailored to high-speed use off-road, new coilover rear suspension using a Watt's link setup and solid rear axle, and stiffened side rails. You also get reinforced spare-tyre mounting cross members, adapted to the Raptor's larger 17-inch wheel and off-road tyre package.
Speaking of wheels and tyres, the 17-inch wheels are wrapped in 285/70 BF Goodrich all-terrain rubber developed for the Ranger Raptor. The tyres measure 838mm in diameter, with thick sidewalls offering the capability to tackle "all environments with confidence".
Behind the wheels are 332mm ventilated front brakes with twin-piston calipers (up 9.5mm), while the rear sees an upgrade to disc brakes (rather than drums) also measuring 332mm, with new 54mm calipers.
Meanwhile, the Ranger Raptor is equipped with a Terrain Management System (TMS) with no less than six modes for various conditions. On the road, there are 'Normal' and 'Sport', while off-road modes include Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock and Baja.
Sport mode brings quicker gear shifts and improved throttle response. Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand and Rock modes are fairly self-explanatory, while Baja is for high-speed off-road performance – which Ford likens to requirements of the Baja Desert Rally.
In this setting, systems like traction control are pared back in terms of intervention, and the 10-speed transmission acts similarly to Sport by holding gears and downshifting more aggressively.
Finally, the Ranger Raptor is equipped with the same technology suite seen on high-grades of the ute, including an 8.0-inch Sync 3 infotainment system with satellite navigation, a rear-view camera, and a range of driver-assist systems.
Other confirmed features include a new EZ Lift tailgate requiring 66 per cent less initial lift force thanks to a new rod assembly, along with keyless entry and start.
"We are so excited and proud to unleash this vehicle to the public, driving it really makes you feel like a hero," said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer at Ford Performance.
"Just like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor builds upon the core capability of the range of vehicles it comes from and carries the unmistakable Ford Performance DNA appearance."
"It is amazing to enable this level of performance and create a vehicle that can provide off-road enthusiasts such an adrenaline rush," he added.
Like the standard Ranger, the Raptor will be built in Thailand.
Ford's local division has confirmed with CarAdvice the Ranger Raptor is scheduled to arrive Down Under in September.
Stay tuned for pricing and specification information closer to launch.
Listen to Tony Crawford discuss the Ford Ranger Raptor below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.