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'68 912S Outlaw
 
Gurechan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
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2007 BMW 328i headlight bulb upgrade - what works?

I bought a 2007 328i with standard halogen headlights. While they are adequate, I would like to upgrade. One, is this a simple bulb switch out? And two, what do you recommend?? Thanks a bunch.
Old 01-26-2012, 07:44 PM
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The quick answer is - OEM style HID is the best, and none of the other options live up to their advertising hype.

When halogens first came out, we were told that halogens would not degrade over time the way conventional incandescent bulbs would - that halogens would be as bright as new bulbs until the day they failed. This turned out not to be true. This is why you see a lot of decent reviews right after people install new bulbs. They notice an improvement, but that improvement is mostly the result of replacing a 5-year-old bulb with a new one, not an improvement in technology.

I have used Silverstar and Slverstar Ultra in several cars. They seem (very) slightly better than standard halogens but cost over double. They last half as long because they are hotter. You have to be willing to pay a lot more for a very slight improvement.

The best choice is to buy OEM or similar HID headlight assemblies. Not cheap. HID retrofit bulbs work only if you buy new housings that are designed to project the light from the different shaped bulb. Many horror stories about the reliability of retrofit HID bulbs have been posted around the web.

I have not tried yet, but am intrigued by Halogen Infrared Reflecting (HIR) bulbs.
They were patented by GE in 2000 but are manufactured by Toshiba.
Because the coating on the glass reflects the infra-red back in, they give off little heat so they don't melt your headlight. However, they
get hotter than blazes inside so I question their claims of longevity. Worth trying though.
75% as much lumen output as good HIDs, which means that they put out 50% to 100% more lumens than stock halogens. I intend to try them in one of my daughter's e36s.

For low beams, the best non-HID bulbs are called "55W Ultra High Efficacy Plus 50". These bulbs include the Narva Rangepower+50, Osram Silverstar (European version), Tungsram Megalicht or Philips VisionPlus. These give an honest 10% more lumens than most halogens. This may be what came in your car.
Osram/Sylvania is the same company. Apparently Osram is like Zymol, the European version of the product is different from the US version.

My daily driver is an '04 325iT with standard halogens, while my wife drives an '04 330i with factory HIDs. The difference is dramatic.
Old 01-27-2012, 05:50 AM
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'68 912S Outlaw
 
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Location: Redondo Beach, CA
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Manolito, Thank you, appreciate the detail and balanced opinion. I may try the Toshiba bulbs. Prior to a commitment, would like to see if any others in the community have had experience with replacement bulbs (halogen or HID) and with retrofitting BMW HIDs (including costs).

I did put Japanese 55W yellowish halogen bulbs in my '68 Porsche with H4s...works well.
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:11 PM
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I poked around a little tonight. According to HIR Headlights 9011 9012 bulbs, Toshiba stopped making HIR automotive headlights in 2009 so now they are made only by Philips. Doesn't sound like they are taking the industry by storm.

I found HIRs that will fit the e36 (high and low beam), but not that will fit the e46.
Old 01-27-2012, 09:14 PM
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the best non-HID bulbs are called "55W Ultra High Efficacy Plus 50". These flexible led strip lighting include the Narva Rangepower+50,led strip lighting Osram Silverstar (European version), LED Tube Tungsram Megalicht or Philips VisionPlus. These give an honest 10% more lumens than most halogens.
Old 06-01-2012, 11:41 PM
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Great website for lighting info

Check out this website: [URL="http://www.danielsternlighting.com"]. It is the most informative and no BS info I have found, and exposes a lot of the marketing hype for what it is.

Last edited by wgarrjr; 06-04-2012 at 07:06 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 06-04-2012, 07:04 PM
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