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June 9, 2022

Don't Hate Those Plastic Fenders On The 2022 Subaru WRX. They're There For A Reason

An XV sedan. A WRX crossover. Take your pick, the fifth-generation Subaru WRX has its share of pundits questioning one thing: the black fender flares. True enough, when the LED screen parted and the three WRXs rolled out onto the stage, most weren’t captivated by the functional hood scoop or the aggressive looking C-shaped headlights. All eyes were on the fender flares that run through the entire length of the lower body. What has Subaru been smoking?

Apparently, there’s a reason behind their madness. See, the 2022 WRX’s design is dictated largely by aerodynamic efficiency. Here’s their explanation straight from Subaru themselves (with bold for emphasis):
The airflow around and below the WRX is cleverly controlled to ensure stability on the move, reduce air resistance and perfect the front-rear balance of the whole vehicle, especially at higher speeds where turbulence can be a challenge for fast cars.

The most noticeable aero measures on the bodywork of the WRX are the side sill spoilers and rear spoiler, along with the air outlets behind the front fenders and on the outer corners of the rear bumper.

The air outlets eject the air vortex from inside the wheel housings and rear bumper respectively, so as to smoothen the airflow in those areas and help to keep the body stable.

Also assisting with this are the air slits at the forward edge of the front wheel arches.

Other positive contributors to the excellent aerodynamics of the WRX include its engine under-cover (enlarged and reshaped), door mirrors (redesigned to minimize wind noise) and A-pillars (whose leading edges have been optimized to smoothen their interruption of the airflow).

Subaru’s attention to detail for the sake of aerodynamics, specifically to disrupt the formation of destabilizing air vortexes, is evident in the bead-shaped ridges of the engine under-cover and the hexagonal dimpled texture of the all-round black garnishing.

True enough, when Subaru tested the golf ball-like surfacing, it yielded some positive results. When engineers tested it in their brand spanking new test facility, they found that the textured plastic was better at keep airflow around the car more smoothly versus a painted one. This is especially true further towards the back of the WRX where a painted plastic piece would have created more air turbulence.

Mr. Glenn Tan, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Tan Chong International Limited also had something to say about the WRX’s design. While he admitted that the WRX was never a looker, he believes the fifth-generation model is certainly more aggressive; befitting its rally car heritage. Plus, he quickly reminds buyers that, ultimately, the reason why you’d consider the WRX is down to the entertainment that’s provided by your right foot.

And with 275 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque, the WRX is crazy fast. The quoted numbers are 0 to 100 km/h in 6.0 seconds for the manual and 6.1 seconds for the CVT. Top speed is an electronically limited 215 km/h.

Plus, in all honesty, after seeing it in the metal, all the hate against the black fender flares is misdirected. Choose the right color (no, not the Solar Orange Pearl), and it actually looks great. All that hate should be focused on that “Tokyo turbojet” rear end. Fix that and we’d be in business.


  1. Now we know....still ugly 😂

  2. I don't think so, but still ugly..

  3. Why are ya'll complaining? The blobeye was and still is pretty fugly yet everyone seems to love em.

  4. Functional, sure whatever. But cant they atleast match it with the body paint


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