S-Class 1990: H4
in parabola,low performance
Into the first half of the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz still equipped their cars with low-tech, low-performance lighting: H4 bulbs (HB1 in USA) with parabolic reflectors, producing inhomogeneous, low levels of light on the road.
Meanwhile, competitors Audi, BMW, Opel, and others were actively adopting new, higher-performing technologies such as projector headlamps and complex reflectors. This was public knowledge and we could read about the lagging performance of Mercedes' lighting in the popular automotive press.
C-Class 1992: Complex
Five years later, a complete revolution began; Mercedes tried complex-shape reflector/free form technology in the C-Class, setting a new benchmark for headlamp performance from a Mercedes. The technology was rapidly expanded to other Mercedes models.
The next improvement a few years later was the arrival of Xenon and then the “Intelligent light Systems” using 5 light functions:
• Country mode for better illumination on the area to the sides of the road.
• Motorway mode for a better seeing distance at high speed.
• Active light to better illuminate the curves.
• Enhanced fog lamps, to have a better orientation in adverse weather conditions.
• Cornering light to illuminate the road edges during low-speed turns.
The Intelligent Light System has been combined with BiXenon and now with LED technology headlamps.