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      11-20-2012, 05:16 AM   #19
wdimagineer's Avatar

Drives: 2015 X5 M
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA

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Originally Posted by MSportDC View Post
I never noticed that before - I guess it's a U.S. only option. Wonder why the U.S. requires these orange reflectors on our cars??
Stupid, outdated regulations and bureaucracy. Lighting standards for US vehicles are dictated by FMVSS 108 which is administered by NHTSA. Front reflectors are required on all vehicles sold in the US. This requirement does not exist in Europe. In fact, to my knowledge, no BMW has them outside of North America. The bumpers do not have cut outs at all. (One notable exception is the X5 M and X6 M, which have a reflector outside NA, but it's not amber.)

Also required here are front marker lights (that illuminate). They can be part of the reflector (a la VW, Audi, MB) or separate. On the F10, the front marker lights are the 3 LEDs on the side of the headlamp housings. This is standard in all markets for the F10 to homogenize the design, but it's not a feature on every BMW.

Rest-of-World vehicles also have different headlight patterns, particularly with HID projector housings. I much prefer the non-DOT beam pattern, which is why my M5 is using European-sourced bi-xenon headlights. The pattern illuminates the road and road edge better, allowing better visibility of signage, pedestrians, and animals.

Here are some example images:


North America:

DOT vs. ECE Beam Pattern:

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Last edited by wdimagineer; 11-20-2012 at 05:21 AM.