Last month we reported that Ford is testing the next generation Ranger, expected in SA in 2018 or early 2019. What we also mentioned that really made some people drop their brandy and cokes, was that the Blue Oval is developing a genuine Raptor version of the Ranger.

Until now there has only been one true Raptor, the F150 version sold in the US. People try to copy it on their Rangers of course, from Raptor stickers in Witbank, to Ford lettering across the grille in Boksburg and big black wheels in Parow, but now it is official, Ford Southern Africa will launch a real Raptor derivative of the new Ranger.

Emerging from the global Ford performance vehicles division that already brings us the ST and RS models, the Ranger Raptor is designed and engineered to be the most extreme Ranger ever. "Combining the Raptor’s advanced off-road capabilities with the versatility of the Ranger is a significant accomplishment for Ford’s world-class engineering and design teams," says Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer at Ford performance.

Like some of those after-market lookalikes, the Raptor will feature wider wheel arches, increased ride height, upgraded suspension, and bigger wheels and tyres. It will also get stickers. And there should be some sporty enhancements for the interior too.

Ford is keeping mum on the engine options, but we have our own sources and they have told us the Raptor will feature an up-rated 3.2 turbo-diesel powerplant. But that will only be the entry-level version because there will be another engine option and that engine comes from none other than the Ford GT supercar. Yes, the 3.5 V6 EcoBoost from the GT will be squeezed into a Ranger bakkie. It will be de-tuned, of course, after all, the GT cannot be outrun by a bakkie; but still, it should be rather rapid.

Sadly, now we have you really excited, there might be some bad news because our sources say the GT-engined version is unlikely to come to SA. That could be because of fuel quality or simply because it will be way too expensive. Whatever the reason, we hope it is not true, because let’s be honest, a GT-engined Ranger Raptor would be something rather special. That is until AMG gets its hands on the Mercedes X-Class.

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