Please note: The post below refers to Headlights that are EURO spec.
I embarked on this mini project as :
1. I use specs to upgrade my eyesight !
2. Have poor nightime vision as a result of 1.
3. The headlight bulbs in my 560SEL came mismatched, i.e different brands
4. The bulbs did not provide good enough lighting at low beam for road signs, marking etc for city/suburban driving.
After considering my options, I decided to upgrade. This upgrade was to specially take into account that my lights are only going to be used at night !
The options were:
1. Upgrade to higher wattage
2. Replace bulbs to one brand only for both left and right
When I owned a 1992 300E I did a headlight bulb upgrade as well but used higher wattage 90/130 bulbs. Even after adjusting the beams, I still had people coming from the opposite direction flashing at me, and this was for city/suburban driving ! This was because I was carrying 90watts of low beam power. I didnt think this upgrade was as effective around city/suburban driving as I still had trouble making out road signs/markings etc until I was closer to these signs than most people needed to be. Even on the open road at night the higher wattage bulbs simply just went satisfying enough for my poor vision.
So, this time round I spoke with five different auto electrical shops and the representatives of the few different makes of light bulbs we get in New Zealand. I let them know what I was trying to achieve with the headlight bulb change. Four out of five electrical auto shops recommended the Philips range. Three warned me about blue vision bulbs saying that the light throw is not as good as equivalent normal wattage bulbs. I guess this has been covered here before. One suggested higher wattage with upgrades to wiring etc.
In addition I considered peoples opinions and browsed through a few non MB forums.
Anyway, onto the upgrade. I selected Philips as they have a good name, well supported locally, good reviews and recommended by people who have used Philips +50 and +80 bulbs. I found five people who have used the +80 H4's in their non MB cars and who also raved about the +80's. Three of these people also had used the +30's and two the +50's.
(examples of web reviews are :- Make Light of Winter | Products | Auto Express
Bulbs - We test 30 | Products | Auto Express
The bulbs I used for the H3 driving lights (Next to the grille) are Philips +50's as +80's are not available in H3's here at the moment.
The headlight bulbs I used are Philips Xtreme Power +80's
The H3 Driving lights make a big difference specially when cornering or driving along roads that do not have luminescent post markings on the side or any markings at all. However, I feel that the +50 bulbs would still be inferior to higher wattage bulbs such as 100watt.
The Headlight bulbs in the +80 are amazing. They definately inspire confidence for normal city/suburb driving. Normally I would drive with the H3 driving lights on as well for city/suburban driving but I found that the +80's by themselves were well and truly up to the job. I will seriously look at changing out the +50 H3's and making the upgrade, wiring fuses and all to higher wattage bulbs for the driving lights for winter in a few months.
Asthetically, I prefer the old yellowed look as the lower amount of light throw gives the front of my 560 headlights and driving lights separation much like a US spec w126. The pictures do the talking for the before and after. I did find it strange that the old bulbs are thicker than the new ones.
I have not conducted any scientific tests but have simply taken the car for drives on roads I have been previously with this car at nighttime. For me the difference from the old bulbs and the new are like night and day. It should be considered that for the w126 the driving lights do most of the work, specially for city/suburban driving, therefore IMHO an upgrade to these bulbs will be of great benefit. I did the whole upgrade as my car is a weekend car and will lots of open road use. I prefer to drive at night on a long roadtrip so the headlight bulb upgrade was important to me also.