The sound of a performance vehicle is very important because the noise communicates the powertrain's muscle both to the driver and other people on the road. For the newly launched third-gen 2021 Raptor, the engineering team went to great lengths to make sure the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 had the proper note when the person behind the wheel stepped on the throttle.
"We went and looked at some traditional equal-length systems and some exhaust characters we felt were very good within the industry. We looked at the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio series of vehicles, and we did some benchmarking on the Nissan GT-R as well," Jeff Nichols, Ford's powertrain system engineer on the Raptor, told Road & Track.
A dual exhaust with equal-length pipes creates a better sound by making sure the pulses of gasses come out of them at the same time. However, engineering this layout is a challenge. The image above shows Ford's solution of adding a trombone loop to one side as a way to add the extra material to give the two sides the same length.
The packaging was another issue because the engineers wanted to maximize the truck's ground clearance and departure angle. "Typically, you put the mufflers at the rear, you’ve got four sets of tailpipes, and you have a quiet side and a loud side. We really didn’t want to impact the departure angle for the truck. The packaging meant that we wanted to put everything in the middle of the truck where we thought was best," Nichols told Road & Track.
The Raptor's new active exhaust offers Quiet, Normal, Sport, and Baja settings that are changeable depending on the driving mode or a person's preference. The gases run through 3.0-inch diameter pipes.
Unfortunately, Ford is not yet sharing the new Raptor's power figures. The previous-gen model with the same engine has 450 hp and 510 pound-feet, but it's possible that changes like the new exhaust could unlock a little more output.
The new Raptor goes on this summer. Ford isn't disclosing pricing yet, but our expected starting figure is below $60,000.