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Luxury-eyed through the night

Luxury-eyed through the night

Luxury-eyed through the night

Anyone who has ever switched from a car with a good Xenon or LED system to another with a simple halogen light is familiar to this feeling: it is as if two high-intensity front headlights were replaced with two candles. Color, brightness and coverage are by far not as good as by modern headlights. No wonder that even small cars are equipped with xenon headlights, while high-class vehicles have full LED lighting systems. At present there are many debates regarding which technology is better. Auto Motor and Sport has studied twelve Hella light systems in extensive comparison tests.

Halogen headlights – best equipment for budget-priced vehicles

Halogen headlights still dominate the low-priced vehicles. When it comes to Dacia Sandero, there is even no alternative. The technology is tried and tested and low-budget; the headlamps disperse the light via reflectors (Dacia) or via projection lenses onto the road. Generally the bulbs are easily interchangeable, even for lighter upgrade lamps: auto motor sport tests have shown that improving the light system with a pair of lamps for about 30 Euros will noticeably improve the performance of the headlights. This would be a good recommendation for Dacia, as its low and high beam have a yellowish color; the light is spotty, streaky and with limited coverage – so gloomy and weak, as if one of them was broken.

Xenon headlights provide extra brightness

Models with xenon lights illuminate the roadway significantly better. It is not generated by an incandescent filament, as in the case of halogen headlights, but in the burner of an electric arc between two electrodes. For igniting it is needed a high-voltage pulse of up to 25,000 volts, then the gas is heated up in the pistons, until it reaches the operating temperature and resistance. It only takes several seconds to reach full brightness.

Bixenon headlights used for the Fiat 500

Bixenon headlights used for the Fiat 500

Simple versions, for example Hyundai i40, combine a xenon bulb for the low beam with halogen headlights for the high beam. The only problem is the difference between light intensity and color, which makes the high beam of Hyundai look discordant. His pure halogen counterpart appears to be slightly worse. When Bixenon is used, for example by Fiat 500, the operating modes can be switched by a flap in the module. Apart from that, the Fiat is provided with halogen headlights as high beam. This insures plenty of light for the area of around 20 meters from the car, but offers an ordinary coverage. The low beam light looks a bit yellowish and streaked, with slightly disturbing cut-off limits, especially on curves and hills. Basically, the 35-Watt xenon systems require an automatic beam regulator and headlight cleaning system, in order to avoid blinding of other drivers.


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One Response to “Luxury-eyed through the night”

  1. Fascinating article about the importance of good quality headlamps

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