Ford F150 Svt Raptor



Back doors are rear-hinged; 'SuperCrew' version gets four convertional doors and mere room for rear passengers

I subtle as a Maori face tattoo and not officially available in Britain — but for pick-up truck folk this is the ultimate.

A biker has pulled up alongside me at the lights. On the other side a fellow Ford pick-up driver First the biker checks out the BF Goodrich knobblics, then that brick wall of a front grille, resplendent with running lights. He looks at me and grins.

Seconds later the pick-up driver shouts over. 'Fox shocks, right3' He points at the big gap between tyre top and wheelarch. 'Them trucks don't git more badass than a Raptor. That there is one sweet truck, buddy'

It certainly doesn't get more hardcore in truckdom. 'Bom in Eaja,' says Ford about its desert-focused repli-racer. But hang on, haven't we seen the SVT Raptor before? Yes, we have. This king-of-the-hill version of Ford's F-150 — still America's best-selling truck - has been on sale for over a year; we first drove one back in evo 142. But for 2011 it's also being offered as a double cab (with a 300mm longer wheelbase) and. crucially, conies with more horses beneath that gilled bonnet.

The original car was launched with 'just' a 5.4-litre V8. While it made the right noises, it felt a little flaccid for something designed to get seriously airborne without going lame on the landings. This 2011 version of the Detroit dinosaur still sports a cast-iron V8 block, but it now packs 6.2 litres of displacement in an all-


Back doors are rear-hinged; 'SuperCrew' version gets four convertional doors and mere room for rear passengers

Engine V8,6210a C02 n/a

Powsr 405bhp @ S500rpm Torque 4341b f: @ 4S0Crptr 0-60nph 7.5sec (est) Top speed lOOmph (imited) Price c£26.600 (in the US) On sale Now. in the US

new design with 'aluminum' heads and pistons, and rwo valves and two spark plugs per cylinder. Still backed by a six-speed auto *box, the Raptor now has 405bhp and 4341b ft of twist on tap -85bhp and 401b ft more than the 5.4.

Ouick then- Hell yeah. Having climbed straight from a low-slung 426bhp new Camaro SS (also a 6.2) up into the Raptor's cab, it's the pick-up thar nor only feels faster bur more exciting. It even sounds more raw.

Road holding is pretty good... for a truck. The special Fox Racing Shox - recalibrated for the heavier engine - offer a soft, compliant ride. The specially developed BF Goodrich 315/70 R17 tyres were born and bred for all-terrain punishment, and on the road they feel, well, wooden. Judging by how little they wear during e-diff-assisted rolling burnouts, probably mahogany.

What about off-road? Hard as we try, there aren't many dunes, dirt tracks or gorse bushes to leap over in Detroit. All the Ford ads show the Raptor getting serious air - which is where the purpose-built, bright-blue Fox Shox come in. The internal-bypass front dampers provide 11.2 inches of suspension travel, while the rears each feature a piggyback reservoir (so they don't prolapse during DukivofHtii-zjirJ-spec canyon leaps; to give 12.1 inches of movement.

Other Raptor-only rricks include cast aluminium front lower control arms, that front grille complete with its massive FORD' logo, closed-loop tow hooks, SVT 16in alloys and a sumpscuff-plate. The Molten Orange colour scheme isn't compulsory - you can also choose between Ingot Silver, Tuxedo Black, Blue

Ralaasa; & fania/mtj. Mapsites tor Ml


Dash design by Tetris; colour-coded inserts an option

Remap and new exhaust take the 2-litre turbo engine's power up to 290bhp, putting it just I Obhp shy of tie 300bhp Focus RS

The way the KTR Megane fires you down the road is mighty impressive, not only for the sheer accelerative drama, but also because the mapping is smooth, progressive and step-free. There's some additional torque-steer, but while this may spoil the experience for Renaultsport purists it's nothing a Focus RS driver would worry about. We didn't have a chance to figure the car ourselves, but K-Tec claims to have achieved 0-60mph in 5 7sec and 0-100 in 13.5 — improvements of 0.4 and 1.1 sec respectively over our own times for the standard 250.

This demo car is also being used to develop a coilover suspension kit (with adjustable top-mounts) in collaboration with Nitron. Given the Cup chassis can easily cope wirh more power and torque, uprating the chassis is arguably fixing something that ain't broke, but there are some benefits. K-Tec's car runs on 1 Sin rims, so the fact its ride feels uncompromising suggests there's no way you'd want to have this suspension with the optional 19s, but the chassis changes aren't too extreme for road use and they do help this more potent Megane find impressive traction on sub-zero roads. And if you're a keen trackday goer, the KTR/Nitron set-up will undoubtedly give you an edge.

At £502 for the exhaust and £450 for the remap, KTR's power upgrade is excellent value. If you can live with the exhaust note it's a no-brainer and kicks the Focus RS where it hurts. The chassis mods are only for the truly committed, and at £l 794 a significant investment, but if you have a non-Cup Megane 250 it makes more sense.

Richard Vleaden eVO RATING

■<• Makes the Megane a true RS kicker — Exhaust may be tco noisy for some

Dash design by Tetris; colour-coded inserts an option

Flame or Oxford White - and the '90s splatter graphics that detract from the Raptor's race-bred credentials are optional, thankfully. Oh, and speaking of options, go easy on the colour-coded leather interior acccnts. With toggle switches the size of fingers, the cabin looks Duplo enough without a primary colour explosion.

Everywhere we drove the Raptor in America it caused a stir. Big men yearned for it. Ford Europe won't be selling it, so would-be Raptor hunters this side of the Pond will have to source theirs through specialist importers. But while it may be niche, a bit pointless in the UK and bloody difficult to climb into and out of (even with 34in legs), it's brimming with no-holds-barred US-of-A charisma. This really is to truck folk what the CT.: is to the91 ! wor'd.

Jonny Smith

— Which is where it works best


Engine ri-line4-cyl. 1998«. turbo C02 n/a Power [email protected] 5790rpn Torque 30Slb ft @ 3IOOpm 0-60mph 5.7s;c (daimed) Top speed I60mph+ {darned) Conversion price See Tex: On sale New (''

If you're an evo regular you'll know the RS250 is one of our favourite hot hatches, especially in Cup specification. If there's one thing it lacks, chough, at least compared with the punchy Ford Focus RS, it's outright grunt.

This, then, could be a shrewd move from Dorset-based K-Tec Racing (KTR), for it gives the Megane some serious slugging power thanks to an in-house-developed package comprising a three-inch cat-back exhaust system and Stage I remap.

Together these upgrades are good for a claimed 290bhp and 3051b ft of torque - increases of 43bhp and 54lb ft over the standard car. Compared with the understated delivery of the factory car, K-Tec's machine is louder and more aggressive. The exhaust ;s about as much as I'd want to put up with on a daily basis, but it does give the Megane a more extrovert character.

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