Ford is taking the Bronco on a trip back to the Cretaceous Period. The 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor has just debuted packing a new twin-turbo V6, frame upgrades, new axles, and what Ford is calling a "race-ready suspension system" modelled after gruelling off-road events like the King of the Hammers.

Starting with the standard Bronco, Ford Performance beefed up the fully-boxed frame and added new shock towers that increase wheel travel and are up to the pounding of off-road driving. The body was beefed up with a B-Pillar crossbar and C-Pillar reinforcement that make it 50 per cent more rigid for improved rough-road comfort and performance.

The axles come from the Bronco DR race truck and Ford calls the Dana 50 rear and Dana 44 front "competition-level" powertrain parts. Those new axles push the track out 218 mm for high-speed stability in the desert and are just part of the reason for the massive fender flares. Upgraded driveshafts take the extra wheel torque of the upgraded 67.7:1 crawl ratio, there is a higher capacity clutch for the 4x4 system, and bash plates underneath to protect it all from damage.

Fox supplied the suspension system with its Live Valve technology. Like the system offered on the F-150 Raptor, this HOSS 4.0 system has position-sensitive damping with height sensors to monitor terrain. The semi-active 3.1-inch dampers can be adjusted hundreds of times a second and have remote reservoirs to keep them working on the toughest terrain.

The 13 inches of suspension travel in the front and 14 in the rear means 60 per cent and 40 per cent more up and down movement than the base Bronco, letting it flex over trails and absorb bumps (jumps?) on any surface. Grip is provided by 37-inch tall 37x12.50R17 BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tires, which Ford calls the largest of any production SUV in America, and making sure the rest of the suspension can handle them is an upgrade to the steering rack as well as thicker tie rods.

Then there's that engine: a 3.0L twin-turbo EcoBoost that has been tuned by Ford Performance with a target of more than 400 hp. Upgraded air induction and intercooling are ready for high desert temperatures, Ford says. The gearbox is a 10-speed auto while the driveline has new off-road modes including an anti-lag system Baja mode and a tow-haul that ups the Bronco Raptor's capacity to 4,500 lbs.

Wide fenders, a modular steel front bumper with removable end caps, and a new sheet-moulded sculpted hood start off the appearance upgrades, with Raptor logos thrown around like candy. Look underneath and you'll spot reinforced rock rails with removable running boards letting you trade capability for convenience as needed.

Last are the interior changes. Marine-grade vinyl seats are standard, black with Ford Performance orange accents, but neo suede is optional. Also optional is a vinyl-wrapped dash topper and leather seat bolsters. Carpet is an option, too. There are orange door nets, an orange ignition button, and beefy side bolsters to keep you in place.

Ford says orders for the 2022 Bronco Raptor open in March but that a majority of first-year production will go to existing reservation holders if they want it. Ford will communicate with those customers later this month, it says. Deliveries start in the summer and pricing will be announced closer to its launch.