I had Xenons on my 03 MCS, and they were great, really notice the difference between them and the standard lamps.
As for comparing the older v the newer, well I was regularly driving the GF's car which is an 05 and my old 03, and could see a difference, the new lamps are better still, they are more focused in the beam, the 03 just gave out a nice whiter light, but the new it seems to be more of a direct beam if you know what I mean.
Another consideration is that Xenons make you more visiable to other road users as well as making it easier for you see
Like Rakey I had an 03 with Xenon's and then also have them on my new MCS that I picked up a week ago. I thought the Xenon's on my cooper were good but now on my new MCS they are fab. I was driving along a windy country road at night last week and didn't even feel like I needed my full beams. Also, when was showing my brother my new MCS his first comment was on how bright the lights seemed.
Not sure if I would change the old style ones for the new ones if I had kept my 03 Cooper but I do think the new Xenon's are probably better.
They are the best lights I have ever used on any car, period. They have a perfect pattern, super bright light that goes for ever (especially on high beam), have razor sharp edges, are aimed perfectly...driving my Mini at night is even better than driving during the day - the lights, the dash glow, roof open...can't be beat (maybe a cabrio )!!!
I don't think I would ever buy another car without Xenons again. The ones on the MINI are great lights. I like the laser beam look and I've had a lot of good comments about them.
I like the self-leveling thing it does when I start the car too.
Xenons: Best speccing decision yet - so bright and so so white. You'll definitely not regret getting them.
The razor sharp cut off takes a bit of getting used to - there is absolutely no light throw above the cut off point, so the road in front is amazingly well lit and then above or beyond this it is absolutely pitch black. This can be a little disconcerting (if it is very dark) when coming to the bottom of a dip or hill where you can only see a few metres of road in front of you - full beam and driving lights soon clear up that problem though!
This is the first car(54 MCS) we've owned with Xenons and they are excellent, a much brighter/whiter light on dip than standard lights.
The only slight complaint I have is that main beam isn't brilliant, the standard halogen bulbs are ok, but i find that down lanes and roads without cats eyes the forward visibility could do with improving.
I'm sure if I had spot light sit would help, but need to save up a bit before getting them.
however you look at it, the Xenons look much cooler than standard lights, the halo ring around the bulb is just the best
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