Expensive Fox Racing Shox internal bypass dampers peeking out from behind the special 35-inch BFGoodrich tires are the Raptor's secret sauce, however (and they are expensive-SVT boss Hermann Salenbauch, an ebullient German whose résumé includes stints at BMW and Rover, says when he presented the Raptor program to Ford product development brass, one of them saw the piece cost for the dampers and exclaimed: "I could get half a V-8 for that!"). Boasting 11.4 inches of travel up front, and 12.2 at the rear, the Fox Racing Shox help the Raptor shrug off monstrous high-speed off-road impacts that would pop the springs through the fenders of a regular truck, yet deliver such sublime body control it rides like a Range Rover on the blacktop. It's that good.

But there's one thing the Raptor's been missing-power. Though massaged to deliver 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque, even an SVT-tuned 5.4-liter Ford Triton V-8 is not the world's most scintillating powerplant. Throttle response is a touch languid, and by the time you reach the 5000-rpm power peak it's gasping as hard as Danny DeVito running a marathon. The Raptor needed more grunt. The good news is, it's got it.

Ford's new 6.2-liter V-8 is the engine the Raptor was always meant to have; the decision to launch with a tuned Triton was made when the engine and truck development programs got six months out of phase. Built at Ford's Romeo engine plant, the new 6.2 is a conventional iron-block, aluminum-head V-8 with single overhead camshafts, variable camshaft timing, and two valves-and two spark plugs-per cylinder. The crank is secured by four bolt main bearing caps, cross-bolted for extra durability. Forged-steel connecting rods are standard, as are lightweight magnesium cam covers and a composite intake manifold.

The base engine made its debut in the 2011 Ford Super Duty with 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. A unique cam profile means the engine pumps out 411 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 434 pound-feet at 4500 rpm in Raptor trim. That's a useful 26-horse bump in power and a 29-pound-foot increase in torque, not to mention an extra 101 horsepower and 69 pound-feet over the old 5.4-liter engine. But the raw numbers don't tell the whole story.