Australians will be able to get their hands on the new Ford Ranger Raptor this year, the Blue Oval recently announced. It won’t be cheap, however – and if you thought the performance off-road pick-up’s circa-RM200,000 price tag in Thailand was exorbitant enough, wait till you hear how much it costs Down Under.

Are you sitting down? Good, because the Raptor will retail at AU$74,990 (RM222,600) – nearly double what a standard Ranger 2.2 XLT costs over here. CarAdvice pointed out that the Raptor is AU$13,200 (RM39,100) more expensive than the range-topping 3.2 Wildtrak and AU$6,500 (RM19,300) more than the current most expensive pick-up in Australia, the turbodiesel V6-powered Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

While that might seem like a lot of money for a “lowly” pick-up truck, it’s worth noting that the Raptor is a high-performance offering designed specifically for high-speed off-road running, and is hence a whole other kind of beast compared to other offerings on the market. Underneath the blistered rammed-its-way-through-Brother’s bodywork lies a raft of heavy-duty upgrades designed to make the Raptor a far more rugged machine.

The changes begin with a unique chassis, reinforced with high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel and featuring wider front and rear tracks, greater approach and departure angles and an increased water wading depth of 850 mm. There’s also a coil-sprung rear suspension with a Watt’s linkage to control body movements.

Then there’s the signature Raptor party piece – Fox Racing Shox dampers just like on the F-150 Raptor, with Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) offering high damping forces for going off-road at full pelt, and lower forces in the mid-travel zone for more comfortable tarmac driving. Also fitted are 17-inch black six-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tyres, as well as uprated brakes.

All this hardcore hardware requires the right engine to go with it, and to that end Ford has fitted a new 2.0 litre sequential twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine from the Panther family – replacing the long-serving Puma line. It punches out 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque, routed through a Getrag 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission with a wider ratio span that improves acceleration and responsiveness.

As usual, there’s a part-time four-wheel drive system with high and low range, as well as a locking rear differential. Ford’s Terrain Management System (TMS) adjusts the engine and drivetrain to suit whatever terrain you’re on, with an extra mode, Baja, being exclusive to the Raptor.

On the outside, the Ranger Raptor has been beefed up, with the most significant change being the Ford block letter grille that has already been seen on plenty a Ranger over here. There are also durable composite fender flares to house the wider tyres, along with a sturdy frame-mounted front bumper, a steel bash plate, front and rear skid plates, alloy side steps, an integrated rear tow bar and tow hooks rated at 3.8 tonnes.

Inside, there are part-leather sports seats with blue stitching and embroidered Raptor logos, a sportier steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters and a unique instrument cluster. In Australia, features include xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, push-button start, a power tailgate lock and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.