Muscle cars are as American as apple pie or road trips. Modifying and customizing one’s muscle car is also a very traditional move but now we’re learning that such tweaking will be considerably harder on America’s newest muscle car, the S650 Ford Mustang. Here’s why those who seek to pull more power out of the latest pony car will find it harder to do so.
Advancements in technology have made many tuning strategies safer and more powerful than ever before. Despite that, the chief engineer of the all-new Mustang, Ed Krenz, recently told Ford Authority that tuning the new pony car would be “much more difficult.” Ultimately, that result is more collateral than it is intentional.
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Encryption on the “full stack” or the complete package of electronic hardware and software in the S650 Mustang is the barrier. Ford claims that the encryption isn’t the product of wanting to keep extra power from owners but rather the ongoing battle against the dangers of hacking. Hackers have already proven that vulnerabilities in software can be dangerous for owners. Now that the S650 uses Ford’s Fully-Networked Vehicle (FNV) electrical architecture, it says that the need for cybersecurity is paramount.
On top of that, Ford plans to offer the most tailored experience ever to new Mustang owners and it wants to ensure that any personal user data stored in the car’s memory is kept safe and secure. The result of that intention is a car that could limit functions if it experiences what the software sees as a “break” in authentication from a third party.
“NO” To Unauthorized Tuners
At the same time, Ford has worked with aftermarket tuners in many different instances over the years. And while we expect that same spirit of collaboration to continue, when asked by Musclecarsandtrucks if just any 3rd party would be able to “tune” the S650’s new engines, Krenz responded with a resounding “NO”.
“There are new requirements within the software. Regulatory driven. That is going to restrict access to aftermarket tunes. This is cross OEM, which has to do with CAN message authentication,” Krenz explained.
“It is likely that we will continue to make available tunes for the ECUs,” he added. “There will be tunes, both Ford and outside of Ford. But you’ll probably see a reduced variety of them, based on constraints that cyber security, CAN message authentication, and all of that put into the software”.
What that means is that you’ll only be able to get a performance upgrades for your new 5.0-liter Coyote V8 or revised 2.3-liter turbocharged four pot from the Blue Opel’s trusted tuners / partners and no one else. It’s never fun to lose access to customization but there’s no doubt that hacking of modern cars is a credible threat.