Best Tesla Model 3 Aftermarket Front Bumper: $3K Well Spent or Not?

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 10/19/21 •  9 min read

Nothing beats the Model 3’s driving experience. But many consider its front end goofy, often comparing it to a duck or a frog.

“Ha! For a long time, I wondered why the front end of the Model 3 looked so oddly familiar.

One day it finally dawned on me. I’m a fan of the Zippy the Pinhead comic strip and some features of the head of the character of Mr. The Toad are similar.”

Owner comparres Zippy to Tesla Model 3 aftermarket front bumper
A hilarious resemblance indeed…The picture was taken from a comic strip “Zippy the Pinhead” by Bill Griffith.

Front fascia aftermarket products have been created to address this issue, with Unplugged Performance’s Ascension Front Fascia System being the most popular one.

I went through a bulk of forum discussions to know everything about this product—how it holds up in the long run, why customers like or dislike it, and what experts think about it. 

Curious to know all the answers? Let’s dive right into it.

Unplugged Performance Ascension Front Fascia for Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Aftermarket Front Bumper vs. OEM
Side-by-side design comparison of the Standard Model 3 and the UP Ascension Model 3. Credit to Unplugged Performance.

Unplugged Performance (UP) designed an aggressive-looking front bumper for Model 3 that in their opinion “represents the way Model 3 could become in the future.”

The bumper resonates with the original style of the car and fits like an OEM product.

UP did a great job at keeping their front bumper fully functional: sensors, airflow management, lighting, and towing all work great.

No major modifications are needed for the installation. It’s a simple bolt-on solution; you can get it installed at your nearest body shop.

Or if you have experience with bumpers, you can do it yourself—UP includes a complete installation guide in its package.

Like anything in life, the product’s looks and style doesn’t appeal to everybody…

Some go as far as saying it gives the Model 3 a Porsche-like style, while others find it horrible.

Most agree that it’s an improvement over the OEM front end, however.

The Big Turnoff? Price

Ascension front bumper. Credit to EVS Motors.

Let’s be honest…

You really have to like the way this looks to hand over such a huge amount for the unpainted, uninstalled product.

For around $2,000, you’ll get an aftermarket front bumper with under panel continuity, along with the full hardware installation kit.

Add in painting and installation costs, and the sum goes above $3,000.

It’s a worthy investment for the right person, and if you’re reading this, you might be the one.

However, I’d highly recommend you to see someone’s Model 3 with a front fascia upgrade in person before making an ultimate decision.

Relying solely on online pictures can end up in regret. We’re talking about a big sum here.

Will a Fancier Front Bumper ACTUALLY Increase Range?

The answer my suprise you…

A big deal not many people talk about in this product is its aerodynamics.

The company suggests that their front fascia system improves the Cd and efficiency of the Model 3. 

This isn’t smoke and mirrors.

Actual users have found this to be the case in real life.

Range being so important, it’s very relieving to know that this cosmetic upgrade won’t cost you an extra stop at a Supercharger during a cross-road trip.

If you drive mostly in the city, the speed won’t be enough for this front bumper to make a difference.

But at high speeds (above 60 mph), the impact seems to be positive — and significant.

Proof UP’s Front Bumper is More Efficient

Kizamalante from Tesla Owners Online shared a case study in which he did a 90-mile round trip, both with and without UP’s front bumper.

He was used to seeing 315 Wh/mi to 320 Wh/mi at a speed above 80 mph, yet after installing this product, his efficiency improved to 301 Wh/mi. 

We’re talking about an approximate 5% decrease in energy consumption.

If you have a Long Range Model 3 equipped with an 82 kWh battery, this efficiency improvement is the difference between 260 miles and 272 miles—an extra 12 miles of range.

The problem is, however, the efficiency increase will never be significant enough to offset the cost of the product, even if you drive a lot.

(Yup, I did the calculation. At 13¢/kWh, you’d need approximately 1,398,600 highway miles to save $3,000 worth of electricity.)

Fair Criticism

Despite UP doing its best to create a sporty yet efficient Tesla Model 3 aftermarket front bumper, many say its front end is too pointy.

It certainly was far worse on the first iteration of the Ascension lineup.

The reminiscence of Grand Theft Auto and other violent childhood games has people suggesting to “file that edge until it cuts legs for those pedestrians who cross outside lines.”

What Other Experts Have to Say?

The YouTube channel EVS Motors did an unboxing video of Unplugged Performance’s front fascia system for the Model 3. 

Is it worth the $3000 investment or not? He gives very valuable insights in the following 5-minute video:

Review starts @ 0:26. Jump to 3:48 to hear his opinion on the cost of this product.

Though shops can often be biased (the want you to buy the products so they can install them for you),

I found EVS Motors’ thoughts to be very fair and balanced.

Painting and Installation

This product is made of impact-resistant proprietary blend polymer.

As EVS Motors described, this material is far better than the usual carbon fiber material most of the aftermarket products come in.

It makes the product more bendable, hence easier to install.

If you’re curious about the installation process, Unplugged Performance lays out the steps on its website.

Even though the process looks straightforward, a verified Tesla body shop will still be your safest bet.

As far as the cost is concerned, it’ll depend largely on your area of residency. To give you a ballpark price, a Tesla-knowledgeable body shop will charge you anywhere from $800 to $1,400.

Interesting Fact 🧐

Evannex is a trusted brand in the Tesla community.

Interestingly, the front fascia for the Model 3 available in their store looks identical to the one being sold by Unplugged Performance.

Same price, specs, and pictures.

While researching for the Tesla Model 3 front lip spoilers, we discovered the exact same thing.

It seems like Unplugged Performance has partnered up with Evannex and is selling through their store. This further reinforces the fact that Unplugged Performance is indeed a notable brand to purchase from.

Alternative Products to Consider

Looking to upgrade your front for a lower price?

I recently wrote a buying guide on Model 3 front lip spoilers.

Although they won’t create as big of a difference as a front bumper would, they’re worth considering for the price point.

Here’s the best product for you to consider, but feel free to check out more:

Front Lip Spoiler by Unplugged Performance

Unplugged Performance’s color-matched lip spoiler. Credit to Unplugged Performance.

Aesthetically beautiful, efficient performance-wise, easy-to-install…

UP’s front lip spoiler is the best yet affordable solution to the frog-like front bumper of the Model 3.

Bjørn Nyland, a Norwegian YouTuber known for his videos on Tesla and EVs, reviewed and tested this spoiler on his channel and shared some interesting insights:

Jump to 14:29 to see the efficiency test results. Not significant but slightly better efficiency.

Another real-world evidence came from a Model 3 owner who confirmed that he noticed 10–15 Wh/mi efficiency improvement with this lip spoiler.

If you don’t have $3000 to spend on an aftermarket front bumper but still want to change the front look of your Model 3, this product is your best bet.

Frequent Buyer Concerns

Does a Model 3 aftermarket front bumpeer impact ground clearance?

Ground clearance will not be a problem with Unplugged Performance’s front fascia system. The front lip edge is within 0.5 inches of the OEM bumper. A lip spoiler sits lower than that.

Will I need to do any permanent modifications to install a Tesla Model 3 aftermarket front bumper?

You don’t have to do any permanent modification to your OEM bumper to install the front fascia upgrade. It can be installed and removed with no trace.

Is this bumper compatible with Autopilot? Will it interfere with the sensors?

Unplugged Performance’s aftermarket front bumper is totally compatible with the functions related to the front bumper of the Model 3, including Autopilot, parking sensors, airflow management, lighting, and towing.

Will Model 3 aftermarket bumpers have an impact on range?

Front bumpers are a big part of an aerodynamic profile of a vehicle. More than likely, changes in a bumper will have an impact on range.

In the case of Unplugged Performance’s Ascension, the impact is positive. Tests conducted by several Model 3 owners have proven this to be the case. 

This owner’s test trip, in particular, showed an approximate 5% increase in the vehicle range when driving at highway speeds (60 to 80 mph).

Best Tesla Model 3 Aftermarket Front Bumper: Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Unplugged Performance’s Ascension front fascia is the only product of its kind that the Tesla community recommends.

If your ultimate motive is to give your Model 3 front an aggressive look no matter what the cost, this system is your best bet.

However, considering its price tag, only invest in it if you’re fairly confident that you like its look.

Otherwise, consider investing in Unplugged Performance’s front lip spoiler instead. It’s aesthetically beautiful, and above all, it’s way more affordable than this Model 3 aftermarket front bumper.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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