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I could ask the same question. I just spec'd my SLK32 AMG with Xenons. My wife asked me to get them as she has just spent 2 weeks in Germany driving here mother's E-class with Xenons. The only car I have driven with them was a '99 BMW 540. I didn't think they were that great, but I only drove within the city at night, so they may be better for really poorly lit roads.<p>I suspect the option will be better for resale.<p>How much driving do you do at night on unlit or on poorly lit roads?
 

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Re: Why Xenons

I drive at night a lot but mostly on the highway. A friend has a 2000 S class with xenons that are self leveling and they move up and down a lot when he drives and it is very distracting. The dealer said that they work just fine. He hates them so much that he is going to trade the car for a 2002 just to get away from the xenons. Any other good reasons to get other than resale.<br>
 

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I like Xenon a lot. I have them on two cars (one self-leveling) and don't find them distracting. They light up the road very evenly and very well. I don't think I could go back to normal headlights after these. I live out in the country a bit so I really appreciate them. When I drive into the city at night they aren't that much more helpful than ordinary lights so it depends on your use for them. I personally like all the headlights I can get. Even with ordinary lights I run over-wattage Hellas. Xenon still blows these away. Just my opinion.<p>: What do you think about Xenons. Should I order my car with or without them?<p>
 

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Are over-wattage Hellas a replacement bulb for a standard halogen. If so, did you do this to a MB and which wattage whould you recommend.<p>
 

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<br>You can put Hella bulbs in any halogen headlight as long as it's not a sealed lamp and your wires can take the extra heat. I did not put these in my C36 but I have put them in other cars. I think I used 90/100 watt bulbs which are technically illegal (keep them pointed down and you shouldn't have a problem). There are higher wattage bulbs available but they burn out very quickly from my expereince. Hella lights themselves use a high quality glass so I recommend them over standard headlights. The light is much whiter and better focused than the average factory halogen headlights. <p>: Are over-wattage Hellas a replacement bulb for a standard halogen. If so, did you do this to a MB and which wattage whould you recommend.<p><p>
 

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Do what you want, but I say no

First a caveat: I don't own a car with Xenons nor do I have any experience driving one with them.<p>But my principal concern would be the medium to long-term reliability of the little motors, wiring and sensors that keep these things aimed properly at all times. By all accounts these things are nearly always actuated to one degree or another, constantly correcting for road bumps, acceleration and braking forces.<p>A secondary concern is that only the low beams are Xenon, a paradoxical situation. That is the case because Xenon bulbs can't be switched on instantaneously, such as you need when you flick the high beam switch on (and off). Some really expensive cars get around this problem by using the same Xenon filament for low and high beam, and adjusting the lamp reflector to change to high beam. Unless the car had high-beam Xenons, I would be generally uninterested from a technical standpoint (notwithstanding my comment about reliability).<p>With a car like the C, on the open road, where you need the extra punch into the distance, your regular halogens will provide the high beam.....just like a C that doesn't have Xenons. Sure, with opposing traffic the low beam will be used, but is the extra power really so beneficial in that situation? Other posters have mentioned that in urban and suburban situations the benefits of Xenon are marginal.<p>I've no doubt that a system this complex is rather expensive to put right if there is some sort of failure outside of the warranty period. It's sure costly enough when ordering the option, and you can bet that all the spare parts cost way more than the option does.<p>Regular halogen headlights are known technology and very reliable over the long haul. Provided they are adjusted manually from time to time, in accordance with load, they are not a nuisance to other road users. A car with malfunctioning Xenon adjusters would be essentially undriveable, as the default position is probably "maximum low" position.<p>As I keep my vehicles for at least 10 years, preferably 15+, I'd steer clear of Xenons just because of the initial cost, lack of Xenon high-beam and reliability concerns.<p>Furthermore, if I was looking for a used C, I'd probably steer clear of a Xenon car, or at least ask for a discount (!) if making an offer, a proposal the vendor would no doubt reject.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I concur

The other problem with Xenons is that on the low beam, over a long period of time, the effectiveness of the Xenon discharge eventually gets reduced and the lamps in effect become less and less bright. Since they are not a halogen filament which just breaks and stops giving you light, Xenons just become dimmer and dimmer. You need to make the judgement call as to when to get the lamps replaced. This isn't what most leased MB drivers will do but if you intend to keep the car for a long period of time, as fitting for a MB, then this will be an expensive judgment call at some stage much later down the track.<br>No thanks, no Xenons for me. Overwattage Hellas at $5-$10 a piece each will do me fine, and if you count the number of times that they will blow in the lifetime of the vehicle, it's still very cheap and a known technology.<p>I'll be interested to hear otherwise.<p>My two bobs worth,<p>Lawrance Lee
 

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Xenons are not a good value.

Mike: I think your logic makes sense. I agree that these lights seem to be very complex with what has been stated by others as a minor improvement in performance. The initial cost of $850.00 with a resale value per edmunds.com of $450 (1yr), $375 (2yrs), $325.00 (3yrs) old. The cost of money of $850.00 is $295.00 over 3 years at 10%. Doing the math the cost of Xenons for 3 years will cost you $820.00 net, creating an option with almost no true long term value.
 

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Well said.

I agree with all of that, PLUS I do have experience with Xenon lights. While they certainly illuminate better than lights from a mid-80's car, I have found that they really DON'T illuminate significantly better (that is being charitable) then modern headlights, like the "regular" headlights found on the C. True, their color is a little different, but different does not equal better. <br>I think they are a bad and expensive trend, that unfortunately all high end mfrs now have to follow. Once one does it, they all have to do it, or be perceived as being left behind.<br>At BEST they are marginally better (I actually think they are WORSE, but I won't quibble), certainly not good enough to justify the long term cost and complexity, in my book.<br>(I think a lot of people like them because they draw attention to the car with their blue hue, and are perceived as screaming "This is an expensive car." But thats just my opinion).<p>: First a caveat: I don't own a car with Xenons nor do I have any experience driving one with them.<p>But my principal concern would be the medium to long-term reliability of the little motors, wiring and sensors that keep these things aimed properly at all times. By all accounts these things are nearly always actuated to one degree or another, constantly correcting for road bumps, acceleration and braking forces.<p>A secondary concern is that only the low beams are Xenon, a paradoxical situation. That is the case because Xenon bulbs can't be switched on instantaneously, such as you need when you flick the high beam switch on (and off). Some really expensive cars get around this problem by using the same Xenon filament for low and high beam, and adjusting the lamp reflector to change to high beam. Unless the car had high-beam Xenons, I would be generally uninterested from a technical standpoint (notwithstanding my comment about reliability).<p>With a car like the C, on the open road, where you need the extra punch into the distance, your regular halogens will provide the high beam.....just like a C that doesn't have Xenons. Sure, with opposing traffic the low beam will be used, but is the extra power really so beneficial in that situation? Other posters have mentioned that in urban and suburban situations the benefits of Xenon are marginal.<p>I've no doubt that a system this complex is rather expensive to put right if there is some sort of failure outside of the warranty period. It's sure costly enough when ordering the option, and you can bet that all the spare parts cost way more than the option does.<p>Regular halogen headlights are known technology and very reliable over the long haul. Provided they are adjusted manually from time to time, in accordance with load, they are not a nuisance to other road users. A car with malfunctioning Xenon adjusters would be essentially undriveable, as the default position is probably "maximum low" position.<p>As I keep my vehicles for at least 10 years, preferably 15+, I'd steer clear of Xenons just because of the initial cost, lack of Xenon high-beam and reliability concerns.<p>Furthermore, if I was looking for a used C, I'd probably steer clear of a Xenon car, or at least ask for a discount (!) if making an offer, a proposal the vendor would no doubt reject.<p>
 

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Re: Xenons are not a good value.

Agreed, and your calculation did not even take into account that just to get the xenons you have to get the C4 package for $800 with heated seats and headlight washer. (wtf? these are somehow related??) <p>That's a nonstarter.<br>
 

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Re: Xenons are not a good value.

: Agreed, and your calculation did not even take into account that just to get the xenons you have to get the C4 package for $800 with heated seats and headlight washer. (wtf? these are somehow related??) <p>That's a nonstarter.<br><p>YOu have all brought up great points but i have a question for someone in the know on xenon, whay is it a $850 option when you can buy a xenon bulb at kragen auto parts for 15.00? is this a different type of xenon? or am i missing something?<br>
 

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Those XENON bulbs for $15 are not the real deal

Hi Sleeper,<p>Those bulbs are simply filled with some XENON gas but still use a filament. So they are just fancy H7 bulbs. A HID system has no filament. It works on electricity getting some gas particles very excited to the point that they release light.<p>Like chalk and cheese. Read all about it:<p>http://www.howstuffworks.com/question387.htm<p>Lawrance
 

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Re: Those XENON bulbs for $15 are not the real deal

: Hi Sleeper,<p>Those bulbs are simply filled with some XENON gas but still use a filament. So they are just fancy H7 bulbs. A HID system has no filament. It works on electricity getting some gas particles very excited to the point that they release light.<p>Like chalk and cheese. Read all about it:<p>http://www.howstuffworks.com/question387.htm<p>Lawrance<p>ok thankyou i asumed that it was something like that but i was not sure exactly what made them different<p>
 

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Re: Well said.

I dont beleive that the xenon's in the c have the auto level thing like a lex ls400 has so that wouldn't be a factor here, or do they if so please correct me!<p><br>: I agree with all of that, PLUS I do have experience with Xenon lights. While they certainly illuminate better than lights from a mid-80's car, I have found that they really DON'T illuminate significantly better (that is being charitable) then modern headlights, like the "regular" headlights found on the C. True, their color is a little different, but different does not equal better. <br>I think they are a bad and expensive trend, that unfortunately all high end mfrs now have to follow. Once one does it, they all have to do it, or be perceived as being left behind.<br>At BEST they are marginally better (I actually think they are WORSE, but I won't quibble), certainly not good enough to justify the long term cost and complexity, in my book.<br>(I think a lot of people like them because they draw attention to the car with their blue hue, and are perceived as screaming "This is an expensive car." But thats just my opinion).<p>: First a caveat: I don't own a car with Xenons nor do I have any experience driving one with them.<p>But my principal concern would be the medium to long-term reliability of the little motors, wiring and sensors that keep these things aimed properly at all times. By all accounts these things are nearly always actuated to one degree or another, constantly correcting for road bumps, acceleration and braking forces.<p>A secondary concern is that only the low beams are Xenon, a paradoxical situation. That is the case because Xenon bulbs can't be switched on instantaneously, such as you need when you flick the high beam switch on (and off). Some really expensive cars get around this problem by using the same Xenon filament for low and high beam, and adjusting the lamp reflector to change to high beam. Unless the car had high-beam Xenons, I would be generally uninterested from a technical standpoint (notwithstanding my comment about reliability).<p>With a car like the C, on the open road, where you need the extra punch into the distance, your regular halogens will provide the high beam.....just like a C that doesn't have Xenons. Sure, with opposing traffic the low beam will be used, but is the extra power really so beneficial in that situation? Other posters have mentioned that in urban and suburban situations the benefits of Xenon are marginal.<p>I've no doubt that a system this complex is rather expensive to put right if there is some sort of failure outside of the warranty period. It's sure costly enough when ordering the option, and you can bet that all the spare parts cost way more than the option does.<p>Regular halogen headlights are known technology and very reliable over the long haul. Provided they are adjusted manually from time to time, in accordance with load, they are not a nuisance to other road users. A car with malfunctioning Xenon adjusters would be essentially undriveable, as the default position is probably "maximum low" position.<p>As I keep my vehicles for at least 10 years, preferably 15+, I'd steer clear of Xenons just because of the initial cost, lack of Xenon high-beam and reliability concerns.<p>Furthermore, if I was looking for a used C, I'd probably steer clear of a Xenon car, or at least ask for a discount (!) if making an offer, a proposal the vendor would no doubt reject.<p><p>
 

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<br>: What do you think about Xenons. Should I order my car with or without them?<p>No. The luminance of a headlight as measured down the road is limited not by technology but by law. The only legal way to use a brighter lamp is to spread the light sideways. It happens, not by accident, that the halogen lamps used in Europe's better cars produce as bright a hot spot as is allowed by law and as broad a beam to the left as is legal and to the right as is useful. Mercedes is one of these cars. <p>The advantage of HID headlamps is illusory. They are not permitted by law to be more luminant when measured on the road and the best halogen lamps already illuminate the widest legal and useful breadth of road. This means that the extra light HIDs produce is spread to useless breadths of road where it illuminates the backyards of barns. If it only went there, that would be innocuous--it would warn you of any stampeding cows--but on its way, much of it hits signs, reflectors, raindrops and snow, and bounces back into the driver's eyes. Thus the additional light provides little or no useful signal but a significant amount of extra noise. <p>On top of that, the HID lamps have a higher proportion of blue wavelengths, which the eye is least sensitive to. Way down the road, where your headlights disappear into blackness, the eye sees exclusively with yellow wavelengths. Adding extra intensity to the blue end of the spectrum does not extend your vision down the road. All it does is provide additional flare and glare from reflections up close. That additional flare and glare make it more difficult to see farther away.
 
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