There's Science Behind The 2022 Subaru WRX's Fugly Fender Flares

Design / Comments

The answer is not disappointing.

The Subaru WRX has never been a classically beautiful car, but fans across the world have overlooked, and in some cases fallen in love with, the look of this feisty AWD Japanese sports car. In its current form, the WRX looks arguably better than ever before, but the reveal of the 2022 model has some people up in arms. Why? Just look at those black plastic fender flares. Some have already fixed the issue in digital renderings, and the fact that a WRX wagon might be on its way has settled some angry feelings, but few actually know why they're there in the first place, so allow us to enlighten you.

Subaru
Subaru
Subaru
Subaru

New for 2022 is a set of unpainted black fender flares in each corner. To most this doesn't make any sense, but Subaru says there's a method to the madness. At the media launch for the 2022 car in California last week, product manager Michael Redic gave a good insight into the bold choice, as reported by Road & Track. "This surface has a hexagonal, aerodynamic shape, kind of like a golf ball," he said. "It's functional. It's designed to help improve airflow." To prove his case and justify the existence of these ugly ducklings, Subaru engineers claim that the unpainted fenders fared substantially better in wind tunnel testing as compared to the painted versions. "Just changing the structure from paint to the hexagonal texture has a big improvement on the aerodynamics of the vehicle," Redic continued.

Subaru
Subaru
Subaru
Subaru
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According to Subaru, the painted flares would cause the air to "peel off" of the shape further down the accent, creating more turbulence at the back of the arch. The black plastic you see on the fenders has even been utilized underneath the car, where a lot of airflow occurs. To further push their point home, the Subaru engineers claim that the front fender vents "allow us to evacuate the air from the wheel well," which reduces pressure so that the car "remains very slippery." So now that the reason behind keeping those fenders unpainted is clear, perhaps there'll be less hate for the way they look. We've certainly developed a newfound respect for them.

Subaru
Subaru
Subaru
Subaru
Source Credits: Road & Track

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