Bimmerfest BMW banner

1 - 20 of 171 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
BMW F30 headlights are the worst

Study illuminates big performance gap for car headlights
Wondering why your F30 halogen headlights don't seem that bright at night? A study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that they're the worst in the world. Excerpt below.

Want a solution? Check out this F30 3 Series xenon headlight retrofit guide.
There may be a reason why people have trouble seeing while driving at night, and it's not their eyesight. A new rating of the headlights of more than 30 midsized car models gave only one model a grade of "good."

Of the rest, about a third were rated "acceptable," a third "marginal" and a third "poor." The difference between the top- and bottom-rated models for a driver's ability to see down a dark road was substantial, according to the study released Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry-funded organization that evaluates automotive safety.

The LED headlights in the top trim level Toyota Prius V - the only one of 31 models tested to get the "good" rating - were able to illuminate a straight roadway sufficiently to see a pedestrian, bicyclist or obstacle up to 387 feet ahead. At that distance, the vehicle could be traveling up to 70 mph and still have time to stop.

But halogen headlights in the BMW 3 series, the worst-rated ones, were able to illuminate only 128 feet ahead. At that distance, the vehicle couldn't be traveling at more than 35 mph and still have time to stop, according to the study.

The reason for the big performance gap is that there's a lot more to how well headlights help drivers see than merely the brightness of the bulb or even what type of bulb is used, said David Zuby, the institute's executive vice president and chief researcher.

"We found the same light bulb, depending upon what reflector or lens it's paired with and how it's mounted on the vehicle, can give you very different visibility down the road," he said.

It gets more complicated. Consumers can't buy a more expensive model or add an expensive technology package and necessarily expect to get better headlights, the report said. The halogen headlights in the economically priced base model 4-door Honda Accord, for example, earned an acceptable rating while halogen and LED headlights in two pricier Mercedes-Benz models were rated poor.


https://youtu.be/3Sp7nvuOxtY

BMW 3 Series with the Lighting Package
BMW 3 Series IIHS headlight rating

BMW 3 Series with the Premium Package
BMW 3 Series IIHS headlight score

BMW 3 Series with halogen lights
BMW 3 Series IIHS headlight test

Read the full story at kulr8.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Interesting. Come to think of it, Mrs Skunk's 328 has the halogens and they are pretty bad. I don't know if I'd rate them among the worst that I've owned but they're not good. I can't speak for the xenons (does Bmw offer xenons anymore or is it halogen/LED only??) but the LEDs in my 340 are excellent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
They call out the halogen headlights... did they test the Xenon or LED ones? :dunno:

I am pretty happy with the Xenon headlights on my F30 as compared to other cars I have driven since getting it.
 

·
Porleau
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
I've seen many complaints on this board about the base halogens. I recently saw a 328i with M-Sport package and what appears to be halogens. Why skimp if you splurged for the M-Sport?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
I've seen many complaints on this board about the base halogens. I recently saw a 328i with M-Sport package and what appears to be halogens. Why skimp if you splurged for the M-Sport?
Maybe they decided to redirect the cash from the lighting package to afford the M-Sport package.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
790 Posts
Xenon vs. halogen comparison is not the same spec.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
The 328 and up should have LED or xenons included in the price. I've seen 328's around 50k with halogens. Four banger and halogens for $50k+? Jeepers....
 

·
2015 328x
Joined
·
1,654 Posts
That's why every time I have seen a post regarding lighting I have always stated I would not buy one without the Xenon. It is absurd how bad automobile lights are at nigh on MOST cars. In some vehicles I find myself actually get out at night to look at the lights to see if they are even on. NO reason other than greed for that.
 

·
Freedom isn't free!!
Joined
·
19,761 Posts
That's why every time I have seen a post regarding lighting I have always stated I would not buy one without the Xenon.
Agreed. Lack of xenons is a deal breaker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
I saw the article posted on yahoo as well. And I can't say I disagree. Why BMW just can't use a fixed Xenon bulb for a base headlamp (like many lower cost cars) is beyond me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
It's pretty amazing how many 328's have halogens. Hopefully with the updated Audi A4 offering either xenon (as base) or led (upgraded), this will change for BMW.
 

·
Freedom isn't free!!
Joined
·
19,761 Posts
I was just about to comment that I doubt BMW's were worse than Mercedes' C Class.


It's pretty amazing how many 328's have halogens. Hopefully with the updated Audi A4 offering either xenon (as base) or led (upgraded), this will change for BMW.
This is what it will take. Either BMW or Mercedes will have to go first and then the other will follow. BMW will probably be first with the G20 3er.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Aftermarket Recommendations

I saw this article this morning and it had already occurred to me that my headlamps aren't the best.

Driving my first BMW-- 2015 328i for almost a year now.

Any recommendations on aftermarket headlamps?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,784 Posts
I saw this article this morning and it had already occurred to me that my headlamps aren't the best.

Driving my first BMW-- 2015 328i for almost a year now.

Any recommendations on aftermarket headlamps?

You could swap out the bulbs for a cheaper, more immediate improvement. In my previous car when a bulb went out, I replaced them both with Sylvania Silverstar Ultra's that I found at Autozone and they were much better than what was in there. I ended up swapping them out again for something else, but can't recall what they were. Either way, the Sylvania's were fine to me.
 

·
2015 328x
Joined
·
1,654 Posts
I saw the article posted on yahoo as well. And I can't say I disagree. Why BMW just can't use a fixed Xenon bulb for a base headlamp (like many lower cost cars) is beyond me.
Greed. So many things base level car items SB included. I love my daughters mazda CX-5 lane change warning when the blinker goes on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
When I was looking at the BMW dealership for a new car/SUV, less than 20% of them had the lighting package installed. Xenon lights were a $1K upgrade for most of the BMW's

Could never figure why would you skimp on lights or tires.

Love them on our 328dX and VW Golf TDI. Auto level and steer for both cars.
 

·
Novice driver
Joined
·
3,898 Posts
I was just about to comment that I doubt BMW's were worse than Mercedes' C Class.
The non adaptive halogen headlamps without high beam assist on F30 were worse than the corresponding setup on W205. Adaptive LED headlamps with HBA on F30 are better (but still suboptimal) than the corresponding setup on W205. That's why IIHS places F30 in the "marginal" category while W205 was rated poor. The IIHS ratings are for the best available headlamps on each model.

The major issue with F3x headlamps - whether halogen, HID, or LED lighting source - is that vertical aim for the beams is set way too low at the factory, resulting in extremely short forward seeing distance with the low beams.

Before wasting money on Lighting Package, aftermarket bulbs, etc., refer to the following threads for details on how to adjust headlamp vertical aim:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=901183

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=791770
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Many first-time BMW buyers (myself included) were not aware that the Xenons were only available as part of the Lighting Package. I bought my car from dealer stock and assumed that all BMWs came with the same quality of headlights. The dealer of course made no mention of this issue during the purchase. A lesson learned.
 

·
its time to buz the tower
Joined
·
27 Posts
This is one of those things that needs to be taken with a large grain of salt.

"New ratings show most headlights need improvement"
Of course they do. Night lighting for driving is critical. But, what we have today is substantially better than what we had 10 years ago -- pretty much across the board.

Comparing a car with a new system to one with an older system isn't a comparison.

Also, you can make lights really bright and shine a long way, but oncoming traffic will be dangerously blinded. (I find that German-made cars do a much, much better job at clipping lights to keep it from blinding oncoming traffic compared to other vehicles.)

Also, adjustments were not made to the positioning of the lights for the tests. Good or bad. I know they said they checked for glare, but they didn't say how that affected the outcomes.

The fact that BMW still offers a halogen option could be questioned, but then again, the halogen option is as good or better than headlights were a few years ago.

And, the AP article didn't exactly align with the report on the website. Typical of the AP.

On a personal note, I really hate people who adjust their headlights improperly or drive ridiculously jacked up trucks without adjusting their lights, or buy stupid poseur headlight kits and then don't adjust them properly. Yeah, they're bright. Yes, you can see a long way. But you're causing a massive traffic hazard for everybody around you. Good on you.
 
1 - 20 of 171 Posts
Top