Next-Gen Ford Raptor spy shot

Well, look at what we have here. Judging from these spy shots, Ford is indeed working on the next generation of its off-road-ready F-150 Raptor pickup truck. We've made no attempt to hide our appreciation for the Baja-style truck, which combines most of the usability of a fullsize truck with heavy-duty suspension components to make a kind of performance vehicle that is unique in the market.

What we haven't known, until now, is whether Ford would push forward with its Raptor program now that it has a completely new F-150 to serve as its base. And that's especially true since Ford made the bold move of switching the bodywork of its best-seller from tried-and-true steel to aluminum. As you can see above, the front and rear of this silver truck are clad in current-gen Raptor bodywork, while the center section that houses the occupants appears to come from the upcoming 2015 F-150.

Dissecting the views above, we note a few interesting tidbits. First, there looks to be a bulge in the truck's hood. Second, we see a new grille between the current Raptor's headlights, sporting a mesh finish and two horizontal bars. Lastly, our eyes can't help but lock in on those burly A-arm suspension pieces down below, not to mention all that ground clearance the specialty suspenders bring to the table.

These spy shots don't answer a few lingering questions: how much of the next-gen Ford Raptor will be made from aluminum, how far would a several-hundred-pound reduction in weight stretch the truck's already class-leading off-road performance, and will Ford continue using naturally aspirated V8 engines or would it consider switching to a six-cylinder EcoBoost? While we continue to mull over these thoughts, feel free to join us in hoping and wishing that this new Raptor hits the market sooner rather than later.