Serious off-roaders will do whatever they can to get a leg up on the trails they want to tackle. One especially potent modification is the installation of portal axles and now, one Ukrainian-based company has built the first set of commercially available portal axles for the Ford Bronco. This single modification adds 5.11 inches (130 mm) of ground clearance to the blue oval off-roader regardless of trim level but it’ll cost you at least $16,000.
First spotted by the folks over at Road And Track, the Werewolf Tech Portal Axle kit is a dramatic way to add off-road prowess to the Bronco. Unlike a conventional lift kit, portal axles effectively lift the entire vehicle including the axles and control arms themselves. It achieves that through the use of a bolt-on gear set that attaches to both the wheel hub and the axle.
The ‘middle-man’ portal axle simply allows the axle to sit far above the hub while still transmitting power to it reliably. If that sounds like a complicated solution to the fairly rare problem of needing extreme ground clearance, you’d be right. That’s exactly why portal axle kits are very rare. As R&T rightly points out, it’s also the reason that the Mercedes-AMG G63 4×4² is the only OEM vehicle available with such a setup.
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Keep in mind too that the Bronco is no off-road slouch to begin with. Most trims come with 8.3 inches (210 mm) of ground clearance which means that the Werewolf kit would jack that up to 13.4 inches (340 mm) or just over 3 inches (76 mm) more than a GMC Hummer in its normal setting. On the other hand, Bronco Wildtrak owners would end up with an absolutely wild 16.6 inches (421 mm) of ground clearance with this kit.
There’s no other production vehicle on sale today with that sort of space below its vital components. Even the Hummer can’t climb over the same obstacles as it maxes out at 15.9 inches (403 mm) in its “Extraction” mode. Sure, $16,000 is a lot of money but it’ll literally let you look down on Bronco Raptor and GMC Hummer owners.
In addition, Werewolf Tech offers a 31,000-mile (50,000 km) warranty on the portal axles. It also recommends that buyers use 38-inch tires to make the most of their new abilities.