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Xenon Headlampgs


Is the $900 option charge for Xenon headlamps on the BMW worth the expense? What is involved in maintaining them?

What ever happened to the days when you could replace a headlamp with a new lamp costing less than $5.00 and needing only a single screwdriver to replace it if it went out?

These lamps came out a few years ago and were going to be the next thing everyone needed. It turns out not everyone wanted them and it seems they are more trouble than they are worth. I see fewer of them today than when they first came out.

I would avoid any car with them myself.  However there are people who really like them.  keep watching this tread, likely someone else will reply and help provide a balanced response.

Do a google search on “BMW Xenon headlight costs”. You’ll quickly find that the $900 option price you mention is only a sampling for what you’re in for.

They are nice headlamps and are worth the expense for many, though not for me.

Oh yeah, worth every penny. NOT!

No. Not worth it and please dont. They are annoying

Joe. Dont b silly. Its not an airplane

As a current owner of HIDs, I don’t think they’re really all that, especially when it rains. I think if it wasn’t for the fog lights, I might not be able to see in front of me as well. Not sure if it’s because the projector or what, but they’re not really worth paying extra for. Mine came standard on the trim level I got.
Maybe in about 10 years or so, they’ll have LED lights and THEN we’ll be wishing those HIDs were standard because the LEDs are too bright.

We have HID (High Intensity Discharge, Zenon, metal halide or whatever you want to call them) headlamps on one of our cars. The brights are pretty good over our other car with quartz-halogen headlamps but not worth the extra money. Most of the time the headlamps are on dim anyhow. If they did not come as standard, I would not pay $900 extra.

There is no maintenance as far as I know at the two year mark.

If you have $6000 or more for a Rolex and can’t be happy with a 12 dollar and likely more accurate quartz watch from WM then you need the HID headlamps too.


  1. Auto leveling. If you load up the trunk with luggage, the headlights will still aim correctly. Not so with the standard headlights which will aim high if the car is loaded down.
  2. The light (at least seems to me) is better for driving at night. I can see animals, like deer, just at the side of the road better. Lets me adjust before the jump into the road.
  3. The lights steer with the front wheels at speeds below 40mph. This actually is a nice feature (I have it on my car).


  1. Expensive to relplace burned out bulbs.

So, it’s not just different bulbs you getting. You are getting a different headlight system.

Xenon the bluish colored lights? If they are they were developed to make a quick few million dollars. Then it will pass n they will disappear

Only around the outer edges the light appears blue, the rest is white

For what it’s worth, I was writing an estimate for a Cadillac Escalade today and the HID headlamp assm was priced at about $900.00 and the bulb alone was about $400.00. Also, on some cars if the lamp needs to be replaced it must be loaded onto the vehicles computer which means a visit to the dealer.

Don’t get them, why would you want to melt the retinas out of other drivers eyes?

Are they really that bad? Are they not balanced?

They’re fine. People just like to complain. We heard the same howls of indignation about “oh GAWD they’re so damn BRIGHT!” when halogens were first allowed back in the early 80’s. And now every car that isn’t equipped with HID has halogen and no one complains.

As long as they’re aimed properly they won’t blind other drivers. And that’s the trick, because most people don’t have properly-aimed headlights unless their headlights auto-level. They put crap in the trunk, or get a couple’a big guys in the back seat, and suddenly the lights are aimed too high and you’re blinding everyone on the road. The BMW’s will auto-level, so you don’t have to worry about that.

I have HID on my TL, and I notice a huge difference between that and the regular halogens on my CRX fun car. I can see farther, and better than I can with normal lights. Yes, the bulbs can be expensive to replace (although if you order them through the dealership, you deserve it. There are plenty of places online to get the same bulb for less than $100), but they last longer, put out more light, and don’t get dimmer over time.

Were I you, and I was already paying out the nose for a BMW, I’d go for the lights. Just remember not to use the auto headlamp switch - - the quickest way to wear out an HID bulb is to keep turning it on and off. Turn them on manually and leave them that way until you park.

I personally don’t think they’re worth teh extra cost, but as long as they’re properly aimed I have no problem with them. If you live in a region where it gets dark early, like it does here in NH, find out if the dealer has one test-drive vehicle with them and one without. Test drive both and see which you like best.

Or, like some people and just turn them on and leave them that way. My car has an auto shutoff timer set for about 30 seconds after the engine is shut down.
I don’t like the auto feature as they don’t even light up the parking lamps like my mom’s Cobalt does. Plus, the sequence on the knob is ‘off, auto, parking lamps, on’, so, to turn them on all the way I have to turn it to auto, then down to on, which turns the lights on and off twice. The way it’s setup, I just turn them on ON and leave them there.