BimmerFest BMW Forum banner

Xenon Differences

1456 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  pps-325xit
I am a fan Xenons, and I have my 02 330ci waiting for me in Munich. Can NOT wait!

Hey, I ordered bi-Xenons, but still have a question. As I await my ED, I find myself staring down all BMWs and cars with HID/Xenons. One thing I have noticed is that there seem to be different colorations and intensities of the lights. I don't know if it is just me.

Saw a Porsche awhile ago with blazing white lights that looked like they came off a commercial jet. Higher end Mercedes and even Audis have a different look--have seen some very bright Mercedes lights, and notice that some Audis have lights with more of a bluish/purplish tinge.

Not knowing much about the lights, can someone explain the difference? Are colors merely cosmetic, or do they throw more light? Are various intensities available? What happens when a Xenon bulb (if there is one) blows. Is my 02 system upgradable/changable?

Thanks a lot....
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Normally, the bluer/purplish hue isn't as bright as ones that emit pure white. Most people prefer the purplish hue for aesthetics but BMW's bi-xenons are, by far, the brightest and offers the most clarity of the xenons. Fashion before function? I know that in the early E46 models like the 99, the xenons were more purple than the ones now. I think they hover around 6000K, whereas the new ones are around 5500K. Please note that 5500 is the "sweet spot" for pure white light. My '02 bi xenons are not as purple, but they are lots brighter. Here is a chart that demonstrates it:

Edit: BTW, there was a guy on the board that changed his bulbs to 6000K on his '02 325Ci for the more purplish hue.


i have the 02 bi xenons and they are def not as blue purple as say the early X5's and 3 series or audis. Mine are def brighter though than the old ones. I would like the more purple ones ... does anyone know where to get the purple hue bulbs like that in the X5?????:dunno:
Yes, Xenon bulbs are changable/replaceable... they are significantly more expensive than your regular halogens though...

The idea behind it is that the Xenon bulbs don't have a filament and work by forming an arc between the two electrodes in the bulb. Since there is no filament, there's nothing that "burns out" leading to longer life and so on.... so... even though they're more expensive, you don't have to replace them nearly as often or at all... it takes quite a long time for the bulbs to "wear" and not be as bright as before... (may even out last most cars... who knows...)

A lot of people change the bulbs to a different color temp for that "coolness" factor... I'd do it too probably... we'll see when I actually get my E46. :) I tell you though... ever since I've driven a few cars with Xenon headlights, I can definitely say, I for one am never going back to traditional headlights unless I have no other choice :cry:
so on top of paying for them when you buy your car, you want to buy new bulbs that ARENT AS BRIGHT to replace your new xenon bulbs? i dont know what you are planning to do with the car, but wouldnt that be money better spend on a helmet and driver's school or something? that being said, it is your car to do with as you wish
My xenons turn on bluish, but turn more white-ish after they've been on awhile. Must have something to do with the temperature of the gas.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.