Good Headlights, But Aimed Low - 2012 BMW X3 Long-Term Road Test
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2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test

2012 BMW X3: Good Headlights, But Aimed Low

August 10, 2012

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I still have a lot of material from my road trip in our long-term 2012 BMW X3, and in this latest installment, I'll discuss the headlights. Our xDrive35i model has adaptive HIDs as standard, and after my experience with the adaptive lights on our long-term 528i and 750i, I went into the trip expecting them to be good.

And they were. Mostly.

This was my first time on U.S. 199 at night, and even at the height of summer, we encountered thick fog, which is more than a match for most headlights, including these. In a couple spots, the fog was so thick we couldn't see more than 10 feet ahead of the X3's nose so using the high-beams was pointless bordering on foolish -- the light was just reflected back at us. Nothing you (or BMW) can do about that and obviously not the X3's fault.

When the fog cleared (as seen here), the headlights worked much better. I just love adaptive lights. They make it so much easier to see through turns at night and minimize a lot of the fatigue that comes with driving on two-lane roads with worn (or nonexistent) reflectors.

However, I found myself using (or wanting to use) the brights a lot more than I would have expected. The X3's headlights are aimed low and that shortens their reach when the road is straight. Then again, it could just be me. We'll have to see if other editors concur that they're underachieving in this regard.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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