This time we focus on one of thee most important features a new car can offer – its headlights. Available with multiple assistants and very cool names, these systems are adapted to each vehicle and offer the driver maximum light in most situations. LED (light emitting diodes) are the current forerunners but we are still fond of a good Xenon setup. And what does the future hold? The next step in automotive lighting is lasers. Beam us up!
1) BMW Adaptive LED
The word that sprang to mind when we first encountered this unbelievable LED headlight system in a new BMW X5. The spread and intensity of light is superb but it’s the system’s other features which astonish. Like most others listed here, it moves around bends, auto-dips or cuts boxes into your light pattern for other traffic, tracking them as you pass. What’s truly astounding is that it finds, warns of and illuminates people and animals.
2) Audi Matrix LED
First available on the new A8 flagship, Audi’s Matrix headlight system is an all-LED affair which does the usual bendy stuff while also promising perfect lighting in almost all weather and road conditions. Actively filling dark spots, the Matrix can also find pedestrians and warn the driver by flashing a beam at said person; effectively giving them disco trousers. Just as cool are the swooping LED indicators.
3) Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Lights
The Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Light system is available in Xenon or LED applications – depending on model and range. Their full LED or MultiBeam LED system offers many of the excellent features mentioned above. The traffic cut-out feature works like a charm on the C-Class, yet we found that on other models it wasn’t as fast as those of its rival brands. Mercedes only offers pedestrian or animal tracking via its infra-red Night Vision.
4) Volvo Dual-Xenon Lights
Volvo also offers LED technology but makes incredibly good use of the older Xenon technology in certain models. Not only does this include active cornering headlights (up to 30km/h) but the automatic high-beam assist can track up to ten cars or pedestrians and avoids dazzling them by cutting the light and tracking them. It’s fast, accurate and highly entertaining.
5) LED Spotlights
What on earth is a pair of spotlights doing on this list? Well, it just made this compilation thanks to a very expensive set that was fitted on a special edition Mitsubishi we tested recently. Ye olde Pajero’s headlights were nothing to write here about but when we activated the LED spots, every cliché came to mind. Melt the garage wall paint, fry goggas before they reach you, etc., etc. They’re phenomenal!