X5 Angel Eyes

In 2004 BMW made angel eyes standard equipment . They are lit by a single bulb in each headlight housing. The factory bulbs are H4 halogen bulbs which gives off a dim yellowish hue light.

I upgraded the lights with a set of led bulbs off ebay. This gave a blueish white light which is nice but they still were a good bit dimmer than the aftermarket angel eyes I installed on my e46 BMW.

In an attempt to gain more light I bought larger more powerful led bulbs and it really didn’t increase the light output much even though the light itself put out double the lumens of the first led bulbs.

Here are the results

First here is the old angel eye led bulb I had installed vs the new angel eye led bulb. The left side is the old bulb and the right side is the new bulb.

As you can see the right side is a bit brighter but nothing like I expected.

Here are the bulbs side by side before install.

Note the single led inside the left light and the multiple led’s inside the right light. You can see the old halogen bulb socket laying outside the box on the right. With the extra led’s inside the new bulb it is obviously going to be much brighter.

Here is a shot of the old bulb just lighting up the engine before install.

Here is a shot of the new led bulb lighting up the engine.

Again needless to say the new bulb is producing much more light.

One last shot this is the canbus/light out warning resistor that the new light came with. I really didn’t want to use it since I disabled the bulb check and the bulb warning by coding but the plug required it to plug in. Oh well.


Last but not least this is from testing the bulbs with a lux meter I bought. This shows just how much light each setup created.

These test were done at a fixed distance using a new lux meter I bought.

Old ae led bulb installed    270 lux

New ae led bulb installed    360 lux

Blinker bulb for a reference    3140 lux

The next test was done without the bulbs installed. Basically just measuring what they put out by themselves.

Old ae led not installed    28600 lux

New ae led not installed    44100 lux

As you can see not installed the new bulb is almost double the brightness of the old bulb. Yet the difference between the old and new once installed is very small when measured with the meter. I guess that explains not being able to tell any real difference in the pictures of the old vs new angel eyes.

So this proves what people had guessed over the years with light projecting onto a plastic angel eye ring you eventually reach of point when upping the brightness of the bulb that you don’t really gain anything at all.


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