Listen to the video and decide for yourself.

These spy photos showing a Ford Ranger Raptor aren’t of the typical variety. For starters, the vehicle in question isn’t wearing any camouflage save for some rather silly tape on the front and rear covering up Ford badges and branding. Anyone remotely familiar with the current-generation Ranger won’t be fooled, however, because there’s no mistaking the bulging fenders, beefy tires, higher ride height, and prominent front skid plate that set the Raptor apart from the crowd. What makes this one special, however, is the dual exhaust hanging low at the rear. More importantly, our spy team is confident it was belting a gasoline-powered V6 melody.

That is very interesting, because the Ranger Raptor is presently only available in overseas markets, and its sole engine is a boosted four-cylinder diesel. Spy photographers caught this prototype milling around Ford’s headquarters near Detroit, and while it’s not strange to see Euro or Asian-market vehicles testing the States, the gas engine combination certainly seems out of the ordinary.

Gallery: Ford Ranger Raptor Spy Photos

In addition to photos, the spy team claims to have followed this prototype for several miles and caught a short video as well. Ambient noise and other traffic make it tough to clearly identify the truck’s engine note, but there is an audible growl and a couple of weird squeaking sounds that we don’t think are engine-related. Give the video at the top of the article a listen . . . what do you think?

If there is a V6 in there, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost could be a strong candidate. It currently serves as an option in the F-150 where it produces 325 horsepower (242 kilowatts) and 400 pound-feet (542 Newton-meters) of torque. That would be a healthy bump from the 270-hp four-cylinder currently available in the U.S.-spec Ranger, not to mention the 210-hp (157-kW) diesel in the current baby Raptor. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost even beats the diesel in torque by a few digits.

Ford has repeatedly said it has no intention of bringing the Ranger Raptor stateside, at least in the truck’s current configuration. That’s not to say it won’t arrive with the next-generation Ranger, which is expected in 2022 with some considerable ties to the new Ford Bronco. Early this year we reported that such a Raptor scenario could be quite likely, though nothing is official of course. As such, this could be a powertrain test mule for the future truck.

Or, Ford could be reversing course to compete with the Jeep Gladiator and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, the latter of which is already selling like gold-plated candy. If that’s the case, we’d expect to see the baby Raptor later this year as a 2020 model.

Source: Automedia