BMW Headlights/Tail lights: A Guide

June 11th, 2020 by

BMW headlights

BMW headlights? The first-ever light bulb was invented in 1879 and then, we invented headlights in the 1880s. Back then, when automobiles didn’t even become a thing and night visions were not even a vision, we had headlights.

Well, they weren’t exactly headlights; they were acetylene lamps. Electric headlights came after 1898. In 1912, it was Cadillac who first created cars with modern electric headlights. As automobiles became common, headlights became a basic necessity.

Fast forward to today, and headlights and taillights are not only basic standards they are also the reason a car is road legal. Remove that and we will still have hundreds of reasons why we need headlight/taillights.

This is why manufacturers like BMW put millions of dollars into the development of the best lighting technologies. In this guide, I will take you through all of the available BMW headlight/taillight technology so you can choose the best for your car.


BMW Headlights/Taillights Types and Technology

BMW has been working on its light technology for years. Their main goal is not only to achieve an advanced level of a system that is aesthetically appealing but to also make it efficient, practical, and special at the same time.

Currently, BMW offers four types of headlights with different headlight technology for its line-up with the latest one being the Laser Light technology.

So, let us start with the basic variant.


BMW Halogen Headlights

Halogen lights have been one of the oldest and common picks for all types of manufacturers, particularly in the budget sector. But seeing that in a BMW is a bit disappointing.

Personal feelings aside, the BMW Halogen headlights come with the BMW 3-series which is an entry-level BMW. The reason it is called Halogen light is due to Halogen gas present in the bulb.

In terms of technology, there is not much to talk about. Halogen lights particularly are not efficient or practical as BMW LED lights. They also raised the concern about not being safe but even today most of the cars are equipped with Halogen based headlights and taillights.

Well, if you are not a halogen fan, you can always go for the BMW light pack that offers a full set of LED headlights/taillights. And yes, you do get your LED Drls, which are now a standard in almost every BMW model.



The HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge and is basically BMW Xenon lights. They produce light by creating an electric arc between two electrodes in a glass filled with xenon. This helps create much brighter light then Halogens and at the same time are very efficient and durable.

HID generally comes as trim or can be equipped with an aftermarket HID kit. They are usually considered illegal but as long as it follows FMVSS standards, they are 100% legal. To know whether your BMW comes with HID or not, you can do few things to check.

Xenon lights are basically white (blue) in color and are much brighter than halogen. You can simply park your car close to a wall and check the color of your light. The HID lamps are usually projector headlights, that is, you won’t be able to see your bulb in an HID headlight. Lastly, if your BMW has stock headlights, just check your user manual.

If you are looking for getting an HID kit, it is better to contact your dealership for more details, so you don’t make your car accidentally illegal.



LEDs or Light-emitting diodes are one of the most efficient light technology today. They don’t only consume less power; they are durable and can be designed in various ways to be aesthetically pleasing and practical. This is the reason why manufacturers use LEDs as DRLs.

Today, most of the BMW models come equipped with LED Headlights/Taillights as standard. But that is for the entry-level trims, cause for little extra bucks, you can always opt for adaptive LED headlights.

The state-of-the-art BMWs Adaptive LED Headlights are BMW’s pride possession. They are so good that they are standard even in the luxurious 7 and 8 series putting the Laser Light technology as an option.

When it comes to functionality, it can only be seen in practical life. To put it in perspective, if a car is approaching from the opposite side and you are at a corner. Your car will intentionally create a blind spot to avoid your lights reflecting on other car’s windscreen and at the same time, most of the lights will converge in the direction of a corner so you can see properly.

That is one of the many things BMW adaptive headlights can do. But, they are also not cheap.


BMW Laser Light Technology

The BMW Laser headlights are the best and the most advanced headlight technology in BMW’s arsenal. They were first introduced in 2014 with the 2014 BMW i8 in Europe. Six years later, and they are still so new that they are only optional for 5 and 6 series and comes standard in the best trims of 7 and 8 series.

Actually, there is a reason why they are so special.

The BMW laser headlights are like the Ultra-instinct of Adaptive LED headlights technology. These lights not only incorporate Adaptive LED tech but actually make them 10 times better. These lights are so powerful that they can throw lights for half a kilometer down the road while still incorporating all of the adaptive LED features including BMW selective bead automatic fade in/fade out.

Here is how they work.

First, light in the form of lasers is fired through a series of mirror which focuses the light into a lens. This lens in full of phosphorus which intensifies the lights and makes it 10X brighter than LED. All this happens in a headlight assembly which is smaller than LEDs housing and is 30% more efficient. Combine that with their adaptive technology and you get a system that is smart, precise, flexible, efficient, powerful, and bright.

Now that we know all about BMW Headlights/ Taillights, let us talk about their replacement.


BMW Headlight/Taillight Replacement cost

There are a lot of reasons why we want to replace our headlights. But it still comes down to two factors, what do you need and how much it costs. In simple words, whether you want to get a whole headlight kit or simply change your bulb will decide the cost of replacement.

In general, a BMW headlight kit without a bulb will cost you around $1000. If you choose to opt for LEDs that’s another $200. Add that to the labor cost, and I will say you are roughly looking at $1300-$1400. That is in general for one headlight on one side of a car. You can expect the same for the taillights.

Depending on the model of your car, the type of kit, and the quality of the bulb, you can range your BMW headlight replacement cost to be around $1000- $2000 easily.

That is if you are rich. But if you are poor like me, there are certain things you can do. Like taking proper care of your lights and upgrading as required.

Here are two things you can do to improve your headlights/taillights without getting broke.


Change/Upgrade Old Headlight Capsules

Headlight capsule or Headlight bulbs are designed to last the longest. These are those components that don’t go out in an instant. Rather they slowly get worn out losing their intensity over the years. This is also the reason; their dimming remains unnoticed for quite some time.

Generally, a car headlight lasts in-between 500-1000 hrs. depending on its type. So, if you have been driving for quite a while, especially at nights, it is better to change your headlights once in a while. By just replacing the bulb, you will get a window of 6 to 8 months and save about $1000.

If you don’t like your current headlights, you can always choose to upgrade that. Especially if your BMW has a halogen capsule, you can just ask for an HID capsule and it will fit in the same housing. Similarly, If your BMW features projectors headlights, you can easily upgrade to LED capsules.

You also have the option to go for brighter variants or other aftermarket products should you choose to. Don’t forget to replace or upgrade both of your headlight/taillights rather than just one.

If you need more information, feel free to contact BMW of Reading.


Regularly Cleaning Your Lenses

Talking about headlights is always about bulbs and lamps, but it is actually your lenses that affect it most. It is the job of your lenses to ensure that your headlight is lighting in the proper direction with proper intensity.

A headlight unit has multiple lenses. First, you have the outer lens, one you can physically touch. These are the one that protects your bulb from the different weather condition and all big and small things. Then there are converging and diverging lenses that decide your low beam and high beam. Then there are lenses inside the bulb that intensify your light or change their focus.

For a properly working headlight, you need all these lenses working properly at all times. But for a headlight to be affected by the lens is mostly due to the outer one. As time goes by, your outer lens starts to build up foggy appearance from inside. This happens due to oxidation and affects your beams and intensity. The easiest solution to that is to get it clean regularly.

This will not only make your headlight/taillights look great but will greatly improve your overall headlight brightness.

At last..


Upgrading your BMW headlights are necessary but they don’t have to be costly.

As long as you understand your headlight units and know what can and can’t be done, you won’t be spending $1000 on headlight upgrades. By doing simple and regular changes you can keep your headlights bright and running for a long time.

Source: blog

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