Doctor Diesel

Lighting the road, and lightening the wallet!

Audi Matrix LED headlightsI wonder if you can give me an opinion of the quality and value of LED headlights, which in my case are an option effectively costing a rather painful £1,050 or £1,750 (for the superior Matrix LED system) more than the standard HID xenon lights on the new Audi A4 that I am considering for my next car. Can these LED headlights really be worth that sort of money more than the standard xenon headlights, and is the extra £700 worth paying? Whilst I’ve been happy enough with HID xenons in the past, I do seem to have received significant negative feedback from other road users over the years. Are LED headlights likely to be any better with regard to this? 


The value of these high-tech headlights is not for me to judge, since I neither know the depth of your pocket Sir, and what you value in life, nor whether perhaps it is your employer or your business that is possibly going to fork out the money for this technology. I can give you an opinion based on my own experiences of the “ordinary” LED headlights offered with some Audi models, and that is a very high one indeed. The pure whiteness of the illumination is quite stunning – much purer and more like daylight than halogen or xenon headlights – and the range and beam control seemed most excellent to me. I did, however, at times find the associated high beam assistance occasionally flawed and therefore a little irritating.

The LED Matrix headlights also optionally offered by Audi (regarding which I have only read reports, and not personally tested) are however even more advanced, with effectively permanent “high beam” illumination of up to 25 individual LEDs in clusters of five on each side. They employ lightning-quick detection, selection, and illumination or dimming of the single light sources in response to what appears in the road ahead, as seen by sensors and the vital on-board camera – vehicle light sources and also pedestrians within a critical range. So they light all the dark areas around vehicles in front, but blind nobody, on wheels or on foot, and require no action on the part of the driver for their very high illuminating efficiency and intelligent beam control.

I should also mention that the life of the light units is rated the same as that of the car, so the costs and inconvenience of replacing bulbs is effectively eliminated. Whether that will convince a gendarme when you’re stopped in France and found not to be carrying spare bulbs, I cannot say though! For my money, or perhaps I should say for yours TM, if I had £1,050 to spend on the standard LED lighting (although it’s standard with S line trim) then I would probably dig that £700 deeper and go for the Matrix LED headlights, if I did a lot of night driving, and had been bothered by other drivers flashing in annoyance with my HID lights. What’s the price of your life, or that of a wandering pedestrian? But “early adoption” of such technology generally comes at a high price, as here, and I certainly look forward to the time when all, or most, cars are offered with this stunning equipment, for night driving will never be quite the same (challenge) ever again. Thanks for an opportunity to “highlight” this new technology.

The Doctor

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