How to tune the 2024 Mustang? With great difficulty, Ford says
For decades, the Ford Mustang has been the aftermarket tuner’s delight, finding it reasonably easy to extract more performance from the Mustang’s powertrain. Apparently that ends with the just-introduced, seventh-generation (S650) Mustang. Why? Because the Mustang takes advantage of Ford’s new Fully-Networked Vehicle (FNV) electrical architecture, which brings a new level of cybersecurity to the powertrain.
How difficult will it be for third-party tuners to modify the new Mustang? “Much more difficult,” Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz told Ford Authority.
And why do you need the cybersecurity? To prevent interference from hacking, and to protect over-the-air updates that the cars will be receiving from the factory. Krenz and other S650 engineers explained that the entire electrical stack on the S650 is encrypted, including the ECU. “This means that if the system detects a ‘break’ in authentication, it will shut it down – or shut down components of the vehicle,” the website says.
“There are new requirements within the software,” Krenz told Muscle Cars and Trucks. “Regulatory driven. That is going to restrict access to aftermarket tuners.” Of course, the 2024 Mustang is not expected to arrive until next summer, and some accord could be reached with tuners by then.
That said, it seems likely that larger, well-known Mustang tuners like Roush and Steeda will possibly be given the keys to the technology to bypass the FNV in partnership with Ford, given their long history with the brand. Steeda, in a post on its website outlining the changes in the S650 Mustang, said this: “Steeda is excited for this next chapter in the Mustang’s life, and we look forward to helping 2024 Mustang owners personalize their cars and push the pony car past competitors on the track. This 7th generation vehicle offers new opportunities for R&D, and our team is excited to continue pushing the envelope!”
Rather, it’s the smaller, independent Mustang tuners that may be more likely to suffer from the increased electronic security that the Fully-Networked Vehicle system brings. For Ramsey’s Performance, a prominent Mustang tuner in the Tampa area, it’ll be wait-and-see.
“It’s all so new I don’t think anyone knows all the details,” says Dennis Ramsey, owner. “I’m sure it’ll be a problem for a while,” he says. “I mean, none of those parts are really out yet so no one knows what we’re going to run into. It’s so early for the car that it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen. Of course there’s a lot of parts you can put on that don’t require any programming—you could mount springs on a car and you wouldn’t have to worry about it—but if you want to put a blower on one and then do a tune, yeah, I don’t know what’s going to happen with that.”