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Ford F-150 Raptor heads to China

by Justin King

Off-road enthusiasts will have a new choice for making high-speed runs across the Gobi desert.

Ford has announced plans to export its all-new F-150 Raptor SuperCrew to the Chinese market.

Off-road enthusiasts in the world's largest automotive market will have a new choice for making high-speed runs across the 500,000-square-mile Gobi desert or shifting Taklamakan sand dunes.

The F-150 is already said to be one of the most popular vehicles for off-roaders in China, however the pickup is currently imported through gray-market channels. At least a few first-generation Raptors have found new homes in the country, with some buyers allegedly paying up to $160,000.

The redesigned Raptor takes full advantage of the 13th-generation F-150's lightweight aluminum body. Its power-to-weight ratio is further improved by a downsized 3.5-liter V6 engine that is expected to produce at least 450 horsepower, up from the outgoing V8's 411 ponies.

Engineers have also created a new transfer case that is said to deliver the best attributes of clutch-engaged all-wheel-drive systems and mechanical-locking four-wheel drive. FOX Racing Shox help prevent the truck from bottoming out over terrain at high speeds, with large-diameter cylinders and internal bypass valving. Power is sent to the ground via oversized BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires on 17-inch wheels.

The China-bound Raptor will be built at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant, with exports scheduled to begin in 2017.

Live images by Brian Williams.

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