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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:37 AM
Slythex Slythex is offline
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What's the point of xenons?

Real honest newbie question.

I ordered my F30 a while back. I saw an option for xenon headlights and opted not to get it to save the $900 or so. I wasn't really sure what the point was. I figured they were just the annoying blueish lights that always aggravated me on other cars. Plus, never had them before so I figured I wouldn't even notice, much less miss them. (I also lumped the headlight wipers in there... seemed unnecessary to me)

Then I read more stuff on here, and it seems like a large majority of the folks here swear by them and treat them as an essential option. So if someone could explain what makes them so great, I'd appreciate it. Although it's too late for my car, at least I'll know for the future.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:47 AM
dtc100 dtc100 is offline
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I know many will disagree, and I know this is not what you are asking for here, but I agree with you 100%.
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:07 AM
poker838 poker838 is offline
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They aggravate you when you see them on other cars because they are misadjusted, or on their high beams, or not aimed properly (ie retrofits).

Have you driven similar cars back to back at night (one on halogen and one on proper HIDs)? You'll see the difference there.

My personal experience is that the light shoots out further, brighter.
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:25 AM
micknugget micknugget is offline
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I didn't spend the $ for the xenons either. I have seen three BMWs driving around in the last couple of weeks with one of the halos inoperative. The standard halogen headlights are good enough for me and I'd really rather spent the $900 elsewhere.
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:04 AM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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For a different perspective, when I sold my 2000 A4 (which had Halogens) and bought a 2004, I opted for the lighting package that included the Xenons.

The advantage of HID (high intensity discharge, A.K.A. xenons) are;

1. Better beam focus and tighter cutoff, so the lighting is clearer, brighter and more defined.
2. In the BMWs it also adds LED running lights which look cool.
3. In the BMW it adds adaptive lighting which means the lights turn with the car, which is a nice feature for night time country driving.
4. Bulbs don't burn out requiring a time consuming replacement. The "bulb" lasts for the life of the car typically.

Is that worth $900? To me it is. After switching from a car with halogens to a car with HID I would always rather get the HID lights if the cost is reasonable.

I agree with others, that xenon/HID lights have a bad reputation due to all of the moronic kids who retrofit them into cars with light housings not designed for them, resulting in glaring/blinding lights. It's also against the law, but cops never seem to enforce this particular regulation.
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:07 AM
dsackman dsackman is offline
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Xenon's provide better light and is great for night time driving in non-urban environments where there is little ambient light.

In an urban environment where these cars spend most of their time it is a moot point as there are lots of street lights. How often do you drive at night anyway?


.
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:09 AM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Well, in the winter time, at least here in Colorado, you are driving at night to and from work about 30% of the year. It doesn't get daylight till about 7AM and it gets dark at about 4PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:22 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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While Xenon lights have all the advantages listed above, I think most buy them for how they look not how well they work.
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  #9  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:30 AM
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07X3platinum 07X3platinum is offline
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There is a huge difference between Xenons and the crappy standard lights. Not having them will hurt your resale value in the end when you decide to sell or trade it in. The Xenons also turn left and right when you turn the steering wheel, which provides better visibility. Watch the video below.

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  #10  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:46 AM
DrivenByF30 DrivenByF30 is offline
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Wink

it's one of those technological advance that, once you have used them, it's hard for you to do without or to go back to what you had/or didn't have before ...

the advantage
Better lighting ahead of you at night... more visibility...

it's not a must, but it's much cooler to have them...

but soon they will be obsolete too... the next thing to come will be LED headlights that Audi and now BMW are getting on their top of the lines....

Same your $900 now, you will need to shell them out on your next car for more efficient LEDs
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:57 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Xenon lights puts out about 2800 lumens while halogen only puts out 800 lumens, Xenons are 3 and half times brighter. Also, Xenon use about half of the power as an conventional 55 watt halogen headlight. Lastly, Xenon burns at 4500K kelvin while halogen burns at about 1800K kelvin, meaning the Xenon's color is much whiter. For $900, there are many options I rather skip than the xenons.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:41 AM
ric124 ric124 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micknugget View Post
I have seen three BMWs driving around in the last couple of weeks with one of the halos inoperative. .
Dont they turn off on the side that direction you are turning or about to turn? The Halos are now LED and should last forever.

Xenon last forever too. I just traded in my 2007 Gti with the original Xenon bulbs. So thats over 5 years and 0 bulb change.
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Last edited by ric124; 05-16-2012 at 11:50 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:46 AM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Bingo.
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  #14  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:56 AM
micknugget micknugget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Xenon lights puts out about 2800 lumens while halogen only puts out 800 lumens, Xenons are 3 and half times brighter. Also, Xenon use about half of the power as an conventional 55 watt halogen headlight. Lastly, Xenon burns at 4500K kelvin while halogen burns at about 1800K kelvin, meaning the Xenon's color is much whiter. For $900, there are many options I rather skip than the xenons.
I'm not sure where you got your info but it's different from what I researched. The Xenon lights in the BMW are 3,200 lumen and the halogens are 1,800 lumen so it's still twice as many. Also the colors are closer (4500k vs 3200k).

I find the halogens to be excellent and am perfectly happy with them.
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  #15  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:00 PM
micknugget micknugget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07X3platinum View Post
There is a huge difference between Xenons and the crappy standard lights. Not having them will hurt your resale value in the end when you decide to sell or trade it in. The Xenons also turn left and right when you turn the steering wheel, which provides better visibility. Watch the video below.

What a horrible and inaccurate video. The "halogen" bulbs used are terrible and look as if they are very poorly aimed. If you aim lights so that the beams of light cross, they really diffuse and that looks like what happened here. You can tell as they are not aimed very wide nor properly shining down in front of the car. This must be put out by a Xenon mfg.
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  #16  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:02 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Well, that's kind of the point, isn't it? Halogens do need reflector aim adjustment as well as manual leveling, which is something hardly any driver will ever bother to do, even though it's a fact that after as little as one year the headlights could need re-adjustment. Halogen bulbs also lose brightness and "dim" over time before they quit, something xenons don't have as a problem.

Xenons with auto-leveling never need to be adjusted that I'm aware of. The "stair step" pattern that my A4 xenons put out onto the garage wall when I turn them on look exactly the same in cutoff, etc, that they did when I got the car over 8 years ago.
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:20 PM
ric124 ric124 is offline
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This is going to end up being a pointless argument if the halogen users never used or owned a car with xenons. Your grandparents was fine driving around with halogen and I am sure you will be too.

I on the other hand love the fact that I can see waaay down the road and even pickup those reflective markings cop cars have when they set their speed traps.

I love that they auto level so when you going up hill your lights are not pointing to the sky.

I love that they bend corners so that I am not surprised by any obstacles or people.

But I am sure you all will be fine with halogens right. I mean your grandparents used it and they were fine with it right. Its not for everyone
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:27 PM
shabadoo25 shabadoo25 is offline
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I'm a 44 year old father with a teacher for a wife. The amount of time my car is in use with headlights is slim to none.

Since BMW options are all insanely priced, you have to cut somewhere. Xenons didn't make my cut.
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:36 PM
dsackman dsackman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
I'm a 44 year old father with a teacher for a wife. The amount of time my car is in use with headlights is slim to none.
Since BMW options are all insanely priced, you have to cut somewhere. Xenons didn't make my cut.

Bingo!
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  #20  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:53 PM
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Mark K Mark K is offline
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I didn't want them. However, just like the STUPID sunroof I didn't have that "delete" option, you were getting them both whether you wanted or not.

Well, as far as sunroof goes, it only took a first track day to go 4X as mad as I was when I was merely suspecting I was going to suffer lack of headroom space.

For Xenons, on the other hand, it took only one drive at around midnight on a twisty narrow road up a Tuscan hill on the third day I owned the car to become a full believer. Now it is the first option I add on all of my imaginary next cars when playing with online configurators.

I perfectly understand everybody has different priorities, but this is my experience.

Oh, forgot ... my E92 was driven with headlights on for less than 5% of traveled miles. But I'm still looking for Xenons on my next car.
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  #21  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:17 PM
vmpatterson vmpatterson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
For a different perspective, when I sold my 2000 A4 (which had Halogens) and bought a 2004, I opted for the lighting package that included the Xenons.

The advantage of HID (high intensity discharge, A.K.A. xenons) are;

1. Better beam focus and tighter cutoff, so the lighting is clearer, brighter and more defined.
2. In the BMWs it also adds LED running lights which look cool.
3. In the BMW it adds adaptive lighting which means the lights turn with the car, which is a nice feature for night time country driving.
4. Bulbs don't burn out requiring a time consuming replacement. The "bulb" lasts for the life of the car typically.

Is that worth $900? To me it is. After switching from a car with halogens to a car with HID I would always rather get the HID lights if the cost is reasonable.

I agree with others, that xenon/HID lights have a bad reputation due to all of the moronic kids who retrofit them into cars with light housings not designed for them, resulting in glaring/blinding lights. It's also against the law, but cops never seem to enforce this particular regulation.
This pretty well covers it. I was afraid I was going to have to forgo them with my new 328 ix as I was not willing to buy the premier package to get them. But now as a 2013 standalone option I am very happy. Night vision is much, much better and the cutoff lines on my 10 year old Porsche and 6 yr old Volvo are very noticeable and I have not replaced a bulb nor seem them diminish in intensity. I understand the cost issue but I put them ahead of navigation and numerous other options. One only needs to drive on a dark,wet, rainy night to really appreciate them. But even on a normal dark night you will notice a difference. Put in my order today for a 328ix.
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  #22  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:26 PM
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Bad Debt Bad Debt is offline
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The real question is: why is BMW still nickeling and diming it's customers? Xenons should be standard like their Japanese competitor's vehicles.
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Last edited by Bad Debt; 05-16-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:36 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ric124 View Post
...Your grandparents was fine driving around with halogen and I am sure you will be too. ...
This is wrong. Our grandfathers were happy with tungsten-filament lamps. (actually, my first cars had tungsten, even my first BMWs until I bought Hella/Cibie lights for them.)

Two things: the adaptive/xenon headlamps are great in town (going against someone's earlier post here) because the "cornering" lamps illuminate driveways and such at slow speeds.

Also, note that xenons are not better/brighter than halogens when on high beam (both lamps means 2x1800 = more lumens than 3200). But we're usually on low beam...
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  #24  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:41 PM
EC7 EC7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Debt View Post
The real question is: why is BMW still nickeling and diming it's customers? Xenons should be standard like their Japanese competitor's vehicles.

I was just about to say the same thing, and i completely agree. they should come standard (including the LED Corona headlight-rings).

This is one of the reasons i'm a bit reluctant with 328i. In a 528i, it comes standard.
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  #25  
Old 05-16-2012, 02:08 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Everyone here knows that BMW is the most profitable auto brand by a pretty good margin right?

I'm sure that as irritated as we all are with the BMW nickel and diming, their shareholders are lovin it.... if purchase of BMW went down, I expect more of these features would be included standard but BMW would continue to try to maintain their crazy high margins, which means they would cut corners in other areas.
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