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Discussion Starter #1
There have been a number of dates bandied around, from March (no chance) to August (a lot more realistic).

I'd bet on later rather than sooner - in addition to all the usual delays in getting the car to market, BMW still have a big issue with the xenon headlamps on the US-spec S. I don't know *when* it's likely to get sorted, nor whether it will delay the standard Cooper S launch in the US, but right now there's no chance of seeing a xenon-equipped S in the States for several months. My source laughed when I suggested it would all be sorted in time to ship to customers in May!
 

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Viscount Charles said:
...BMW still have a big issue with the xenon headlamps on the US-spec S....
What's the problem with the Xenons?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The lense is a bugger to design and make accurately. the European lense prescription was causing problems last year, but they cracked that one just in time.

The USA prescription is completely different, due to different lighting regulations (don't ask the details - I won't pretend to begin to understand). Although I'd have expected the LHD European lense to work fine, apparently it would not be legal in the US.

So a completely new lense is required. That has proved to be even trickier than the European lense (which took them long enough) - and there have been a number of setbacks. I'm sure that it doesn't help that you've got BMW, Bosch, Carello (Italy) and Carello (UK) all trying to design a solution "by committee".

The lense problem must be solveable - but even if the solution arrives in somebody's intray tomorrow, the factories which produce the headlamp assemblies are not going to get units to Cowley quick enough to have cars built and shipped to the States this side of May.

As the xenon lamp is likely to be a popular option on the European S's (included in the UK Chili pack, for example, and we all know how much the Germans love their xenon-equipped Mercedes), I'm sure it won't delay the US launch; but I'm equally sure the US launch will be timed to fit in with the production schedules.
 

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....The USA prescription is completely different, due to different lighting regulations (don't ask the details - I won't pretend to begin to understand). Although I'd have expected the LHD European lense to work fine, apparently it would not be legal in the US....
It has to do with the pattern of where the light shines. The LHD Euro pattern has an extreme cutoff designed to provide maximum light just up to a certain horizontal line, then darkness above that point (to prevent blinding oncoming drivers). The US lighting pattern (not that I agree with it) is different. It requires diffused light higher up than the Euro pattern - the purpose is to help illuminate reflective highways signs (e.g. speed limit, highway identification, no passing zones, etc.)

Since the Xenon is so much brighter than a typical headlight, I guess they are trying to work a compromise that will fulfill the law but not blind drivers approaching a Xenon-equipped MINI.

The really confusing part is that BMW, and many other companies sell lots of cars with Xenon lights in the US - there is nothing new here to solve that they haven't encountered before.

Why, like so many other things, is this still a problem so late in the MINI’s development?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yup - you're right about the basic way in which the lense patterns are different between LHD European cars and LHD US cars.

However, each car headlamp has a slightly different pattern - the various shapes, sizes and angles of the lamps mean that a pattern that works on one car won't work on another with a different style of headlamp.

The MINI is pretty unusual - it's a large, round lamp with quite a raked angle, containing a number of different bulbs and functions (although the directional indicator is no longer one of them, as was originally planned) and this has posed different problems for the lense designers to those they've solved with other cars. Each time they come up with a pattern they think should work, it either can't be reproduced reliably or doesn't perform as it should; when they finally thought they had got it right, it turned out to be illegal!

Oh, they'll sort it out soon enough - but BMW always planned on introducing the xenon lamp some months after the original design of halogen lamp, and the halogen lamp took longer to get into production as a result of various changes in the designs as they were going along, so I don't suppose anyone felt a great deal of pressure to get the xenons right until quite late in the day.
 

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This makes me ask the following question, which I've yet to get the dealership to answer.

What's the difference between the Xenon offered and HID, which I have also seen mentioned as an option somewhere. Are they one and the same?

I know HID means High Intensity Discharge, that they are very expensive and put out a lot of light, and require special hardware. Is it the same as Xenon lights or something different?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
xenon = gas discharge = HID

Some extremely expensive bulbs in there, from what I've been told.
 

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I don't know why they would have problems with the Xenons. Like BruceK suggested, BMW has been selling cars with these lights for years now........it should all be sorted out by now. My $0.02........

Yes, the Xenons are very expensive. Around $250-300 for single bulb I think. The headlight units (bulbs, lenses, housing) in my S2000 run about $900.
 

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So, let me get this straight.

ALL Mini Cooper S' will be delayed because of this headlight problem, or will only the customers who opted for Xenons have to wait longer?

I would love to have Xenons on my Cooper 'S', but I will be taking that money and putting it towards the panoramic roof instead.

So, since I won't be opting for Xenons, does that mean I won't have to wait until August? (I'm in Canada).

I'm hoping that will be the case.
 

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S2000&CooperS said:
Yes, the Xenons are very expensive. Around $250-300 for single bulb I think. The headlight units (bulbs, lenses, housing) in my S2000 run about $900.
This raises an interesting question...
What is the life expectancy of OE HID-Xenon 'bulbs' vs. regular halogen headlight bulbs. And how about relative to the life of aftermarket xenon brightey-whitey bulbs like PIAA Superwhites, etc.
 

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Like I said earlier, I'd love to have Xenons, but not if the replacement cost(s) will be exorbitant.


BTW, could someone respond to my other post in this thread? I'm dying for an answer! Thanks.
 

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What about maintenance? Does the Xenon gas need to be recharged once in a while?
 

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Re: Xenon / High Intensity Discharge lights

Fallschirmjeager said:
.....reports that the life expectancy of the Xenon lights is longer than the expected lifetime of the automobile....

....seems to agree with 2000 hrs for HID vs 400 for halogen bulbs...
I sure plan on my car lasting more then 2000 hours!
 

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Re: Xenon / High Intensity Discharge lights

Fallschirmjeager said:
http://www.usc.edu/dept/engineering/illumin/archives/spring2000/etc/xenon/
reports that the life expectancy of the Xenon lights is longer than the expected lifetime of the automobile.

http://www.itsrealstuff.com/lighting/html/h_i_d__information.html
seems to agree with 2000 hrs for HID vs 400 for halogen bulbs.

I've heard this also. Most likely your Xenons will outlast your car..........unless you've got a defective bulb or something.
 

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(I posted this twice because it got drowned out)


So, let me get this straight.

ALL Mini Cooper S' will be delayed because of this headlight problem, or will only the customers who opted for Xenons have to wait longer?

I would love to have Xenons on my Cooper 'S', but I will be taking that money and putting it towards the panoramic roof instead.

So, since I won't be opting for Xenons, does that mean I won't have to wait until August? (I'm in Canada).

I'm hoping that will be the case.
 

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That's my question. You never know. BMW may delay ALL Cooper S', regardless of headlight option.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Certainly 1/2 of the dealers' cars (here in the UK) are due to have the xenons - no choice whatsoever.

Xenons are likely to appear in several key options packages, both here in the UK and in the US.

BMW are *certain* the problem *will* be fixed in time for the launch (which I doubt they would put back for the lights), but this ain't gonna happen in time for cars to be shipped to arrive in April, as some posts have suggested!

Keep thinking "We get our cars in June" and we should all be OK, though.
 
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