Ford’s Bronco Raptor can beat your muscle car in the quarter-mile—just add dirt

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It could easily be argued that we’re currently living in the greatest era of performance in the history of the automobile. It’s true, lots of cars have packed on the pounds in the past decade, but engine—and motor—power is more than keeping up. Tire technology and software are helping that power get planted to the tarmac. But what if you want to play off-pavement?

Lucky for us, it’s not just performance cars that are making a splash in the current market. Off-road enthusiasts now have several SUV and pickup truck choices that will conquer tough terrain straight off the showroom floor, and many of them are quick too. 2023 will feature not one, but two 700-hp off-road trucks with supercharged V-8 engines along with the 831-hp, battery-powered Rivian R1T and 1000-hp GMC Hummer EV, just to name a few.

Our very own Jason Cammisa drag-raced the new Acura Integra against its predecessor and two of its peers in his latest Ultimate Drag Race video, but things got really interesting at the end when he pitted the front-drive, turbocharged sports sedan against Ford’s spunkiest off-road pony, the 418-hp Bronco Raptor. Here’s the video below. Skip to just after five minutes to see the Bronco Raptor run a quarter-mile pass in the dirt.

Its 13.8-second elapsed time is not particularly impressive for a modern performance car on pavement, but the fact that it did so on dirt is nothing short of amazing. Going back to the muscle car heyday, it was the norm for even big-block muscle cars to run in the 14-second range. Only the burliest big-blocks and the meanest, highest-winding small-blocks managed to put down enough power to run a mid-13-second pass. To get something that could reliably hit those kinds of numbers, we’re talking 426 Hemi E-bodies and B-bodies, LS6 454 Chevelle, 455 Buick GS, 428 or 429 Mustang, 427 Corvette, and the hot muscle cars tuned by the likes of Mr. Norm, Baldwin-Motion, or Nickey. Those cars would be a handful on a drag strip considering their meager grip, but we imagine that the Bronco Raptor was squirming and fighting for traction for every bit of its 1320-foot romp as well.

While we’re definitely not ready to give up on running V-8s on a nicely prepped stretch of concrete, the latest crop of high-power off-roaders does make it awfully tempting to ditch the dragstrip’s Christmas tree every now and then to go play among the Joshua trees instead.

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