I think it actually does look better without the flaps. Mo is crying for wider tires.I've never liked a straight-on view of the rear of the 3rd Gen Muranos, for many reasons. The mud flaps, especially, seemed to jet outward like a woman's dress, and I felt made everything look too dainty, along with making the already-narrow tires look even thinner. I also never liked what I presume are airflow deflectors that possibly direct more air across the wheels to help get rid of brake dust, or maybe to even help cool the brakes or rotors a bit. In any case, just like with my 2003 when I got it back from the dealership and discovered they had installed a set of bulky, plastic, low-hanging fuel tank stone guards beneath the car, I have to remove them due to their ugliness.
Tools required for the mud flaps (without having to remove the wheel) philips bit with ratchet wrench, plus a regular philips screwdriver. Four screws to remove.
Tools for the airflow redirectors.... 10mm socket, 6" extension, ratchet. Three bolts to remove.
In all cases, I replaced all the screws/bolts in case I need them later, and so dust and crud don't build up in the holes. Took less than 15 minutes to remove all four flaps.
I think MO's looking a whole lot better now. Better shape, sits higher... The first "before" picture reminds me of the spaceship in the movie Explorers, The Thunder Row. I left the front mud flaps on, mainly because the tires can kick up a lot of debris while turning, plus they look fine. Given the inner plastic wheel well trim on the rear-quarter, I really don't see the need for the mud flaps anyway.