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Are BMW’s LED headlights actually unsafe?

So many automakers are switching over to LED headlights, including BMW in its post-LCI 3 Series. The BMW 3 Series’ Lighting Package costs $800 and consists of full LED headlights as well as automatic high beams, which sounds great. However, according to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the BMW 3 Series’ LED headlights scored the lowest marks out of any similarly equipped car they tested. The IIHS actually claims that the 3 Series’ LED headlights are unsafe and could only present the driver with enough time to stop after seeing something in the road at around 35 mph. But how can that be, with LED lighting technology improving so much in modern cars?

“Many headlight problems could be fixed with better aim,” according to one of the engineers at the IIHS. “This is simple enough to adjust on many vehicles, but the burden shouldn’t fall on the consumer to figure out what the best aim is. Manufacturers need to pay attention to this issue to make sure headlights are aimed consistently and correctly at the factory.” So maybe it has to do with the headlights being improperly aimed out of the factory, whether this be intentional or by accident. However, it’s still hard to believe.


It’s especially hard for me, personally, to believe that because I’m currently driving a 2016 BMW 328i with the LED lighting package and the headlights are superb. In fact, while driving down the highway at night, the LED headlights light the road three lanes wide and so far ahead that it’s silly. Every passenger I’ve had in the car at night remarks on how incredibly bright the headlights are and when arriving to someone’s house late at night, they remarked on how they could see the headlights illuminating almost the entire street before they could even see the car coming down it. So they aren’t dull nor are they improperly aimed. They’re stunningly bright.

Now, obviously I have no way of comparing them to other cars using exact science or measurements and am certainly not as qualified as the engineers at the IIHS. However, it’s difficult to believe that the 3 Series’ LED headlights could be considered poor when they have stunned me every single night I’ve had the car. The high beams are even more ridiculous and the automatic high beam system works great. Maybe my standards of lighting are just very low. Or maybe that IIHS engineer is right and some cars are coming with their lights improperly aimed, which is entirely possible. It’s also the only explanation for the difference in discoveries between ours and the IIHS’. That would also explain why so many other cars, most of them from premium automakers, equipped with LED headlights are scoring so poorly, including the Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C Class.

So have you fellow readers experienced any issues with your LED headlights on your BMWs? And if so please let us know.

[Source: Autoblog]

The article Are BMW’s LED headlights actually unsafe? appeared first on BMW BLOG

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