PandaTuned: What Should It Mean To You? — Panda Motorworks
Panda Motorworks 124 Trade Center Drive
ST. Peters, MO 63376
+1 (636) 614-3100
PandaTuned: What Should It Mean To You?

PandaTuned: What Should It Mean To You?



When it comes to upgrading your vehicle, you will need a tune to get the most out of the modifications you install. With this comes many different options, from tuning devices to different methods, such as E-Tuning, Dyno, and Street Tuning. Panda Motorworks is proud to offer a variety of different tuning services over a variety of platforms! 

Once you decide what device you want and the method of tuning, you must now decide who you want to tune your vehicle. With so many options on the market today, who do you choose and what should you consider when picking a tuner? The answer to this question may seem complicated, but it is actually very simple. You should pick a tuner who has your end goals in mind and has a tuning philosophy that you agree with, a consistent track record should also be considered.

The end goal for your vehicle should be met with reasonable expectations. Sure every Focus ST owner wants to make 500hp, but do you have the time, budget, or resources to make that possible? To many, the answer to this is no. Many Focus ST owners daily drive their vehicle, so it may not be practical to drive a 500hp Focus ST anyway. Most owners are just looking to improve their daily driver with budget in mind. With that being said, peak power does not tell the whole story, instead it is how your car makes power that makes all the difference.

Tuning Philosophy

When it comes to tuning a vehicle there is no cookie-cutter method to achieve an end result. With so many variables at play, each calibrator has their own way of doing things and ours is no different. Some calibrators tune vehicles for peak horsepower and some for maximum drivability. Between these two we lean towards the latter, and I will explain why.

When it comes to a Custom Panda Tune you can expect us to prioritize drivability and reliability over peak power. This leads us to our 3 Pillars of Tuning, which are Drivability, Reliability, and Power. Years of research and development have led us to the point where we are able to optimize each pillar with minimal sacrifice to the other two. I will breakdown our three pillars for you, and discuss why each one is important and why you should consider it.


One thing that really differentiates an OTS (Off The Shelf) and Flash tune from a custom tune is the overall Drivability. With a Custom tune not only are you tuning your vehicle for a specific setup, but also with real world data from your vehicle. Custom tuning takes every variable into account such as mods, fuel, and driving style into account to give you the smoothest, most drivable setup possible! With custom tuning we also have the ability to modify certain parameters to your preference, like throttle mapping, within safe limits. 

To further drive the point of making the most drivable tunes possible, all tuning R&D vehicles are daily driven. This helps us identify possible shortcomings within the tune, so we can correct them when delivering a finished product to the customer. We also use this to tweak on-road characteristics to deliver a final product that performs just as well on the street as it does on the track.


To most of our customers, this is the most important factor when deciding what Tuning company to trust with their pride and joy. We hear it all the time "This is my daily, can you turn it down a little bit so I don't sacrifice reliability?" With a Panda Tune, there is no need to turn it down for reliabilities sake! We put in the countless hours of research and development to find ways to make similar power as our competitors, without the added risk. For example, on the Focus ST we noticed negligible gains at an AFR of 12+ as opposed to 11.5-11.8, depending on what fuel you are using. With minimal horsepower gains its hard to say the leaner AFR is worth it, especially when you factor in the increased cylinder pressure. Not only will a richer AFR result in lower cylinder pressure, but it will also keep things a bit cooler and safer. This is just one example how our extensive R&D has led to a safer end result, with minimal sacrifice. When it comes to AFR, its all about finding the sweet spot.

Another key point we look at is timing advance. We've dyno tested various turbo and engine setups to get the data and find the ideal timing advance for each setup. The dyno is the best place for finding tuning limitations because you can see changes and how it affects the tune in real time. Because of this we make sure that we do our due diligence so that our tunes are not only safe, but also make the power we expect them to make before offering them to the public. These countless hours on the dyno have provided us with the knowledge needed to provide the best tunes possible, no matter what your setup is! 


Everyone loves a good dyno sheet, especially after a big modification. Sure a large peak number is great, but it doesn't tell the whole story. When it comes to making power, we value power under the curve much more than peak power. This is because a car with a usable power band will not only make more power sooner, but it will also be more fun to drive. Your engine and turbo will ultimately shape your power band, however we will be able to provide a tuning solution to maximize power under the curve for what ever your setup may be. 

The graph above illustrates exactly what we are saying. The graphs come from two cars with identical turbo setups and fueling, all ran on the same dyno. Our tune is represented on the purple lines, while the red lines represent a competitors tune. The competitors tune edges our tune in peak power, but our tune not only makes power sooner but also has more area under the curve. The increased area under the curve will translate into a faster car when compared to the competitors tune. 


We hope that this article has helped you understand a little bit more of what all goes into a tune and our particular philosophy. Emphasizing the Three Pillars, Reliability, Drivability, and Power, in each and every one of our tunes is what helps set us apart from our competitors. We have thousands of hours of research and development into our tuning process across multiple platforms and extensive research is done before we release tuning support for new platforms. We do this to ensure that we will have an answer for any issue that may arise during the E-tuning process. All dyno tunes are street verified after to ensure consistent results in real world scenarios.

You can rest easy knowing that you are getting a quality product when you receive your very own #PandaTune!


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