UPDATE: Click here
to see a new post I added on page 3, which resolves the gap problem discussed in the thread, and shows off the black version of these lights.
As some of you may know, SPYDER are currently testing out several new headlight units for different Mercedes models. I was hit up by the guy
who offered his C-Class for the test install to SPYDER to see if they could use my SLK to test their new R171 offering.
We installed it last Wednesday at their facility in Industry (in the greater Los Angeles area) and I will be testing these lights for the next several weeks for them.
The lights replace an older version which is still listed on their website. This is a new and improved version specifically for the North American market. The lights are still in the R&D phase and they are taking suggestions from people with respect to styling etc. They are also still getting improved versions from their supplier and I will actually be going back in the first week of April to get my set swapped out for a new one that is supposed to have better light output.
As such I was asked not to post any "garage door" style pictures of the overall shape of the light output yet, as it will change in the next iteration. I can say that like the OEM lights for SLK these lights have an asymmetric shape to their light pattern which improves street sign readability.
In keeping with the topics discussed by AZN Optics in his C-Class post I will kind of go over some of the major points.
I feel there is a slightly larger gap between the lights and the hood on the insides but it is tough to say for sure because I didn't have the opportunity to see the old and new lights installed one on each side. It is not apparent unless you know what to look for and it is definitely not an issue. Very good for aftermarket lights.
(EDIT: Rewrote this section because I got installation video link from SPYDER.) I was not present during the installation (liability issues on their end I guess). Installation requires the bumper to come off which is probably the majority of the work. Once that's done it's a matter of a bunch of screws and some electrical connectors. You need to move over the low-beam, ballasts and headlight washers from the OEM to the new lights. After that it's a matter of putting the whole thing back together again. I would say you should be able to do it in a few hours. Here's the video showing the entire process. This might be useful in general for people needing to take their bumper off!
The OEM headlights have 4 bulbs: low-beam, high-beam, parking and blinker. The SPYDER lights have low-beam, high-beam, blinker and a strip of 6 LEDs that take the place of the parking light. The unit comes in two versions (actually 4 if you count colors), one is for non-Xenon and the other is for the Xenon version. I had the latter and during the install they only transferred over the low-beam bulb, the other 3 bulbs are replaced with lamps and LEDs that come with the unit. I am not clear on what the specs are on the bulbs since I haven't had a chance to open up my wheel-well and take them out. I will update this thread once I get more information. The stock configuration comes with an amber turn-signal bulb which I will be replacing with a stealth bulb as soon as I figure out the correct type. I suspect that besides the low-beam which transfers over, none of the other bulbs are the same type as stock. As you can tell from my pictures, the Xenon low-beams are practically the same color as the LED strip which looks very good. The OEM fogs are much more yellow and now that I've seen the combination of everything I'm itching to replace the fogs with some kind of LED contraption. Something to research.
They offer two color variations of the housing unit (which together with Xenon/Non-Xenon makes for 4 different types total). The one I have is chrome but they also have a black version. Forum user jameslk350 has the black version
of the existing line so you can look at his pictures for comparison. Note that these are not the new line yet so the styling may change compared to what James has. One thing you notice on the black version is that they are not all-black, but have reflective areas behind the turn signals and the high-beams. This is to be in compliance with DOT regulation and unlikely to change just because we asked them
. The OEM headlights are a silver, brushed-metal look on the inside, and post-facelift they have a colors bottom section. Initially I found the chrome on these SPYDERs a bit jarring, but I very quickly got used to it. I have received a lot of positive comments on the lights in the week since I've had them and everyone really seems to like the color. I personally wouldn't mind if they came out with a silver/brushed version as well but perhaps that would mean too many SKUs, raising the price.
I have put some side-by-sides for quick comparison with the original OEM lights. The OEMs are more of an "empty" light. They have a large "floor" with nothing going on except the slightly raised non-shiny area. The SPYDERs have the LED strip going on at the bottom, but the other sections of the light are also protruding more forward than the OEMs so they look quite "full" inside the housing. They do not have an eyelid (unlike the C-Class version) and this prevents them from looking too busy. I'm curious if people would actually like to have an eyelid at the top of the lights to give it more of an R172 look. I'm not really sure on this one.
That's about all for now. You can see from the pictures that I purposely left the car outside in the (fierce) rain all day Saturday to test water tightness. The lights passed this test with flying colors. The last picture shows that the lights project a small darker area in front of each of the lights. This is not an issue but just an interesting thing to note. In general these lights give vastly more useful light output than the OEMs do. Not sure if this is because they are more reflective because of the chrome, but the difference is quite impressive.
What SPYDER wants to see is feedback from the community. What do you think of these and how would you like to see them improved.
Old vs. New.
Lighting them up.