Dazzled by the lights: why Tim Pollard's become a fan of good headlamps
28 March 2007 13:23
City dwellers don't appreciate decent headlamps, argues Tim Pollard
So, the UK has switched to British Summer Time - and at a stroke my journey home has been plunged from gloomy dark to spring-like sunshine. And last night's commute made me realise how much I've come to appreciate headlight technology since I moved out of London at Christmas.
Driving around a big city spoils drivers with a perma-glow glare of 24-hour lighting; like any big city, shiny bright London is never really dark and the latest, flash headlamp tech was lost on me, I now realise. Swivelling bulbs that peer around corners? No point. High-intensity xenon know-how for blasting through the murk? Pah. None of them make the slightest difference to a typical city dweller spoiled by the neon glare of urban life.
Now I've moved to the sticks, I've really learned to appreciate a good set of headlamps. I've been lucky enough to drive the Mercedes CL63 AMG a lot recently - and its beams are a thing of beauty. A real eye-opener, you could say. Merc's Intelligent Light System has bi-xenon bulbs to peer around corners and change the spread of beam depending on the terrain; there are five modes for motorways, fog, cross-country, corners, you name it. And you know what? It works really, really well. Night turns into day, and I'm a convert.
Ask your typical city slicker if they'd rather have upgraded alloys or swivelling lights, and I bet they'd pick the rims. Not me. I'd go for the intelligent lights, every time.