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Ford has finally taken the wraps off its latest halo model, the first Ranger Raptor, at a packed-out event in Bangkok.

The US-based automotive giant is billing the Raptor as an off-road performance pick-up, with a beefed-up chassis and 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel mated to an all-new 10-speed auto transmission.

In what might be seen as a surprising move, Ford has gone with a revised 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine from the Ford Transit sold in Europe instead of the 2.3-litre petrol unit from the Mustang – making 233kW and 432Nm of torque.

The reworked diesel powertrain produces a healthy 157kW and 500Nm and, according to Roland Ernst, Chief Engineer, Small Gas and Diesel Engines, based in the UK, “it’s the “right choice to combine power and efficiency”.

“We’ve taken the standard 2.0-litre turbo that this engine started life as and refined the durability, upgraded the pistons and optimised the temperature range of the turbines for better performance with this engine.

“Once that was done, we’ve taken it through the toughest testing procedures we have in the Ford Corporation, including the peak pressures in the fuel system, the entire temperature range inside the engine, as well as all the environmental testing in deserts and in freezing conditions in cold climates – and it passed with flying colours.”

Typically, even twin-turbo engines are hampered by some low-down lag, especially with diesels, so we asked Ernst what Ford has done to tackle the problem in the Ranger Raptor.

“The main intent of the Raptor DNA is to have a very sharp throttle response, and we think with this product that we’ve achieved that through our engineering, and especially in combination with our 10-speed auto transmission.

“By combining the boost control with the smaller HP turbocharger sequentially with the larger LP turbo for the higher power, we think we’ve got a very responsive engine, a very powerful engine and a very tough engine.”

We were also keen to know if Ford squeezed all it could from this diesel, or whether it could produce more power and torque. Ernst remained tight-lipped, but couldn’t stop himself suggesting there might be more to come.

“Let’s just say this engine is very robust and has a lot of potential,” he said.

He also wouldn’t be drawn on potential for the F-150 V6 EcoBoost engine, given its 10-speed automatic is essentially the same as that in the F-150 and F-150 Raptor and can, therefore, clearly handle more torque.

The F-150 is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 that generates anywhere from 280-336kW and 637-691Nm of torque, depending on variant.

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Listen to Tony Crawford discuss the Ford Ranger Raptor below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.