Front Lip Spoilers

The front lip spoiler, air dam, splitter, or whatever you want to call it has probably the most involved research I’ve done since becoming a Subaru owner. There are so many different options available, and for something so aesthetically important I wanted to make the right choice (for me).

There are a lot of different factors in selecting body kits and aero components and everyone will have different priorities. For me these were aesthetics, cost, durability and performance (in that order). Below a list of the lips I considered and where they fell in each of those categories.

A Quick Note on ABS Plastic

Many of the aero parts listed here are available in ABS plastic, and those that are, are mostly also available in polyurethane (or PU). While both have relatively long polymer chains, polyurethane chains are cross-linked (making it stronger and more able to hold its shape).

ABS is polystyrene plastic mixed with butyl (a type of rubber), and herein lies the reason why I’ve chosen to exclude ABS versions from this article: ABS mixtures are inconsistent, and with the majority being manufactured in China, the quality and consistency of the products are shaky at best.

A Quick Note on Painting

If you choose to paint the lip, depending on color and paint composition, curing of the paint may require baking (this is a common practice with most paints to accelerate curing time and the evaporative process). Most polyurethane (and ABS) cannot be baked as it will melt.

OEM (V-Limited) Style

The OEM style is probably the most conservative with simple lines and design consistency. It is available directly from Subaru (E2410VA000) but at a steep $400 price point.

Comparable aftermarket knock-offs are available starting at around $100 and come in a variety of materials. Most of the aftermarket versions don’t have the dimple for the STi/WRX emblem in the center, which for me was a plus, but it might be something you’re looking for.

OEM/V-Limited Style in Carbon Fiber
2015SWRXSTI-V-CF-2

The carbon fiber version has less curvature in the top of the lip as well as fewer details on the edges as its significantly harder to manufacturer using carbon fiber injection molding.

OEM/V-Limited Style in Polyurethane
lip-oem

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Polyurethane $100 7 / 10 6 / 10 2 / 10
Carbon Fiber $359 6 / 10 9 / 10 2 / 10

HT Autos V1 Style

The HT Autos V1 style is very similar to the OEM style, but not exact. The innermost corners are more profound, and closest to the wheel well the lip tapers away from the bumper instead of wrapping around back. The center emblem is optional and there is no dimple in the lip itself.

htautos-v1

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Polyurethane $100 5 / 10 6 / 10 2 / 10

HT Autos V2 Style

The V2 style is closer to the APR lip (covered below) with the top extrusion meeting the factory bumper and the lip itself being flat with a large surface area. The primary difference between this lip and the APR lip (other than the materials) is that it is rounded across the entire lateral distance of the lip, while the APR lip maintains corners parallel to the bottom grille. This lip is no doubt more functional, but not my style personally.

Again, the center emblem is optional and there is no dimple in the lip itself.

htautos1

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Polyurethane $294 4 / 10 6 / 10 5 / 10

Varis (Lip + Protector)

The Varis lip is the most unique, in that it has many curves and exaggerations that the others on this list do not. It’s quite stylish and comes exclusively in carbon fiber.

Similar to the APR lip, an optional extension (also carbon fiber) is available. The extension is mounted below the lip to protect the lip from the ground, curbs, parking blocks, etc. Yes, you’re basically putting a lip on your lip.

With all of the cool curves and poignant lines comes the complexity to manufacture and with that comes a pretty hefty price tag. At $1,125 it’s the most expensive of the options on the list and rightfully so; it’s beautiful and at least somewhat functional… but way out of the range of what I’m willing to spend on a lip.

Varis Carbon Fiber Lip
varis1

Varis Carbon Fiber Lip (with Extension)
varis2

Additional info and pics are available at http://www.varis.co.jp, but the only US distributor I can find is Subispeed (purchase links below).

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Carbon Fiber (Lip) $1,125 8 / 10 9 / 10 4 / 10
Carbon Fiber (Extension) $725 6 / 10 9 / 10 5 / 10

APR (Lip + Splitter)

APR is well known for its aero parts. And while most of the other entries on this list are focused on reducing lift, APR is the only one that claims to actually create front downforce. With the weight bias of the STi squarely in front, this is less of an issue, but for hardcore tuners, there’s little competition.

APR offers a front lip and front diffuser (splitter) separately. In combination, these two create a powerful aero package. They’re both available exclusively in carbon fiber, and my only detraction from this package is that installation of the diffuser requires (very) visible support hardware.

APR Front Lip
2015_wrx_frontlip_installed_lr_18

APR Front Lip + Splitter
apr2

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Carbon Fiber (Lip) $695 6 / 10 9 / 10 5 / 10
Carbon Fiber (Diffuser) $490 5 / 10 9 / 10 9 / 10

Chargespeed

Chargespeed makes one of the most functional all-in-one lips, and the carbon fiber weave on this one is beautiful. What’s not beautiful is the giant seams between the center piece and the outermost pieces. For that reason, I didn’t even really consider this kit. Sad too, because it was almost the best on the list.

The good news is, is if you like this design and material, Seibon makes one that looks just as good without the seams (below).

Chargespeed Carbon Fiber Lip
chargespeed

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Carbon Fiber $695 5 / 10 7 / 10 6 / 10

Seibon MB1 Style

I’ve saved my favorite for last, and it is glorious. Beautiful fiber weave throughout and a design that maximizes functional downforce while still being stunningly aesthetically pleasing. Clean lines with a large functional surface area and angles.

Seibon MB1 Style Carbon Fiber Lip
seibon

The lip comes with mounting points more closely aligned with the OEM bumper and with corresponding reinforcement on the lip itself.

Seibon MB1 Mount Points
fl15sbimp-mb1_01

And, so, here’s the catch. This is a new product for Seibon and these are available on a custom order basis only. They’ll custom manufacture it just for you, but it will take 6-8 weeks. Is it worth the wait? Probably, but I’m not that patient.

Material Cost Aesthetics Durability Performance
Carbon Fiber $680 8 / 10 9 / 10 5 / 10

Conclusion

No matter what your style or purpose, there’s a lip for you. This is not a fully exhaustive list, but it covers a majority of the archetypes. I’ll be throwing up an article on installation of the OEM style lip soon.

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