2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550
Xenon headlights are the brightest thing on the road at night, and Mercedes-Benz is making them even brighter.
Starting in December 2010, production of E-Class and S-Class models will use of new, higher intensity xenon burners from Osram, the company that used to be called Sylvania. Mercedes says the new xenon headlights are 20% brighter and closer to daylight, with a technical rating of 5000 Kelvin. According to Mercedes, the brighter lights will reduce eye strain on the driver and improve safety. This is a good thing, since 20 percent of car travel is at night, yet night is when 40 percent of fatal accidents occur.
But, it's also a bad thing -- unless your car is equipped with autmatically dimming rearview and sideview mirrors, these new super-bright xenon headlights can be a dangerous distraction. I have driven more than once in a vehicle without that self-dimming feature holding one hand to block an annoying headlight flaring in my view.
After the E-Class and the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the brighter headlights to other models, and older cars can be retrofitted with the new, higher intensity lights.model series will be gradually fitted with the new xenon burners in 2011. All previous Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with xenon headlamps can also be fitted with this additional safety feature, as the new xenon burners will be available from branches and dealers as Mercedes-Benz original parts. Hopefully, more manufacturers will be adding self-dimming rearview and sideview mirrors as Mercedes and other manufacturers switch to these super-bright headlights.