In Reply to: Xenon - pros and cons? posted by Barry on April 13, 1999 at 20:57:19:
I have placed a factory order for European delivery, Sept. 1999. For my own considerations safety was the only deciding factor - cost and looks were not important to my decision.
Like all safety features (including air bags) there are pros and cons about Xenons. I did a lot of research in advance, but the deciding factor
was a detailed comparision between regular headlights and Xenons at the dealership. I spent the better part of 20 minutes looking at the two types in a closed, darkened garage (thanks
to Alberto Zamorano, EuroDelivery specialist at VOB/Rockville, MD). The beam pattern is
what sold me.
PROS : a) beam pattern, b) brightness, c) color
CONS : a) backglare possible (rain, snow, fog - I felt that the Xenon beam pattern on the 323i sedan went a long way towards addressing my concern here). b) Distraction to oncoming drivers (a lot of it comes from novelty - people tend to stare at them because of their blueish tint at night).
Relative to Xenons, it is a personal option. A lot depends on how your own eyes react to the light. In addition, if I was doing a large percentage of city driving with well lit streets, then many of the safety PROS would be nullified.
These lights will get the torture test from me in Sept. when I travel those unlit European country roads at night. I will post info then.
Finally, here are some FAQs/links. Read them carefully and note that not all Xenons nor
each pair of eyes are the same.
http://lighting.mbz.org/faq - "Daniel Stern Lighting" FAQ. See section "What about HID and Xenon Lights". Great info on pros and cons.
http://www.edmunds.com/ebweb/longterm/99BMW.328i.lt.html - "Edmunds long term test of 328i". They loved the way it lit the road, but it tended to blind bystanders.
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/science/9901/19/new.headlights.ap/index.html - "CNN story about Xenons". Say Xenons are the way of the future. The Daniel Stern Lighting FAQ above gives a better balance of pro and cons.