BMW i8 with laser lights arrives early

6 Jun, 2014 11:11am Jordan Bishop

BMW delivers the first versions of its new i8 sports car with laser light technology earlier than expected, beating Audi to the punch

The laser light turf war raging between BMW and Audi appears to have taken one final, decisive twist.

At an exclusive ceremony in Munich yesterday evening, BMW handed over keys to the first eight i8 customers, and in doing so became the first manufacturer in the world to launch a production car featuring laser-powered headlights.

Having previewed the new technology earlier this year, the German manufacturer initially intended to launch its laser lights in August 2014, a little while after its new plug-in hybrid sports car arrived in showrooms. 

The delay was partly down to an ongoing refinement process, although BMW still expected to make automotive history as the first to debut the groundbreaking headlights.

That was before Ingolstadt-based Audi tried to steal bragging rights with its own system, announcing at the beginning of last month that the special R8 LMX would go on sale in the ‘early summer’ with laser tech.

While the i8 would still be the first series production car available with the lights, given it isn’t a limited-run model like the Audi, BMW clearly decided to beat its German rival outright.

It means BMW’s customers are the first to enjoy the benefits of laser-boost technology, which can be optioned for the i8 to boost the standard LED headlights’ range to as much as 600 metres.

As well as doubling the distance covered by the basic high beams, BMW also claims the lasers use 30 percent less energy than power-saving LEDs, take up less space inside the headlight casing and weigh less.

Alongside the lighting itself, a camera-aided adaptive system sense on-coming traffic, adjusting the range and direction of illumination to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers. This advanced set-up also responds to steering adjustments, concentrating as much light as possible in the direction of travel.

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Seriously, who gives a (insert expletive of choice here) who gets a new light bulb to market first? Does anyone here on this forum actually care? If you do, then chances are you're the sort of person I try to avoid at parties.

how many people will have to die or lose there eye site before these lights are banned, accidents happen in car parks,and because of plastic bumpers most are not detectable so nobody says anything, this however does not mean that the headlight internals have not been dislodged and now pointing straight at the oncoming drivers eyes . how do you prove that the car going in the opposite direction caused you to lose your eye site or cause your accident , these headlights should be banned now . You only have to look how bright the xenon headlights are even on dipped, if your going down a hill wile someone with xenon is coming up you cannot see past the end of your bonnet ,i know its only for a short time but its dangerous .these new headlights will be worse.

DAZZLING.... daz ist... I allready struggle driving at night in traffic without getting blinded by comic book lazer head lamps.
What next X ray vision?

Yes, well let's celebrate innovation - look forward and not back - I paid £1k for LEDs on my new Audi and they're worth every penny - laser is the next step. May be if people's eyes can't adjust to these lights it tells them something about whether they should be driving at night or not.

These are not collimated pinpoint lasers with light of a single frequency focussing all its energy onto a small point. These use laser technology to generate spread white light. These will not harm you.

I agree that Xenons where their levelling motors can't work quick enough are a pain to oncoming traffic. It is not possible for human eyes to adjust, that's why xenons have to have complex systems to level them in real time.

22 miles is the range

Haha I love this! Nice one BMW!

LOL mr brags a lot with leds... Audi really ripped you off IK...Typical selfish Audi driver

Haha £1K to see the road ahead in a slightly different white hue.
I have LEDs on my car, I still drive it about just the same. They light up the road ahead and I drive forwards. Halogens 30 years ago did the same thing.