MELBOURNE - The Ford Ranger Raptor is an immensely capable off-roader that features high on the wish list of many a bakkie fan, but there is one thing that potential buyers are crying out for left, right and centre - more power!

In all global markets the Raptor is powered by Ford’s sophisticated 2-litre twin-turbo diesel engine and while it might look respectable on paper with its outputs of 157kW and 500Nm, its 2338kg kerb weight puts a big damper on its performance.

But soon that might not be an issue for Australians, or at least those with deep enough pockets to fund a catastrophic fuel bill, with news that a V8-powered version appears to be on the horizon.

According to Wheels magazine, Ford’s Australian division is working with a local engineering firm on a heart transplant that will see the Mustang’s 5-litre V8 petrol engine being shoehorned into the engine bay of the Raptor. The normally aspirated Coyote engine produces 339kW and 556Nm in the Mustang, and is likely to be offered in a similar state of tune in the Raptor.

Sadly for South African Raptor fans, this project - which has yet to be officially confirmed by Ford - appears to be for the Australian market only. That said, South Africans with deep enough pockets can still opt for RTR’s ‘Savage 660’ conversion, which truly lives up to its name with a 510kW supercharged V8.

While Australia’s V8 Raptor is likely to be a low-volume model when it hits the streets next year, the next-generation Ranger that’s due in 2021 looks set to receive some exciting new engines. Which Car reports that the forthcoming T7 Ranger will offer V6 petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol option will come in the form of a 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost motor that produces 242kW and 542Nm when fitted to the bigger F-150, and this full-sized American pick-up will also reportedly donate its 186kW, 597Nm 3-litre ‘Power Stroke’ V6 turbodiesel to the next Ranger.

Both new versions of the Ranger are currently being tested in Australia, according to the publication and we’d be surprised if they won’t both offered as options in an expanded Raptor range.

IOL Motoring