Ford says the upcoming Mustang will be “much harder” to set up due to increased cybersecurity.

bottom line: Ford introduced the latest S650 Mustang last month. According to the American automaker, the seventh generation model is completely new inside and out. And while fans will take some time to get used to its new sleeker look, those who love to give their Mustangs to third-party tuners won’t be as enthusiastic this time around due to Ford’s tighter onboard safety measures.

The Ford Mustang is known as one of the most customizable cars around. However, the upcoming seventh generation S650 may change that reputation, and not for the better. In an interview with Ford Authority, Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz noted that the latest model used the company’s new Fully Networked Vehicle (FNV) electrical architecture, making for some good and bad news.

The good news is the convenience of getting updates over the air and the extra cyber protection from hackers, since cars these days are practically connected computers on wheels. However, Ford’s FNV will also limit the car’s tuning potential, which will likely upset Mustang fans.

Since the entire “stack” of the car will be encrypted, including the ECU, it will be difficult for third party tuners to get their mods to work. For example, a car’s turbocharger and/or other components may shut down if the on-board security system detects an unauthorized person.

Ford can expect backlash from die-hard Mustang customers and aftermarket tuners, although for now the automaker says it’s open to partnering with tuners to offer “performance or tuning improvements” to the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost and 5.0 liter Coyote V8. engines. What this means for 2024 Mustang owners in terms of moddability remains to be seen.

Once a charismatic analog muscle car, the latest Ford Mustang seems to be undergoing a major transformation, becoming a modern computer on wheels. The S650 series features a fully digital cockpit with Sync 4 powered by Unreal engine, advanced driver assistance technology, Alexa integration and remote engine start via key fob.

While all of these technologies (and occasional gimmicks) do have their appeal, they end up requiring carmakers to take extra security measures to prevent hacking, which in turn blocks their tuning potential, which ultimately annoys car enthusiasts.

We hope Ford can strike the right balance with the upcoming S650 Mustang that won’t alienate the mainstream muscle car audience while still retaining its appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy audience.

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