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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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LED headlights options

Hi all,

This is my first post, but most probably it won't be the last one, since I'm ordering a new V40 soon.

I'm outside UK, so perhaps the options are slightly different. I hope you can still help me.

I'm having some problems understanding what the option 645 "Active Bending LED Headlights" changes are against the standard LED headlights that the inscription trim level has.

The dealer told me that I need the "Active Bending LED Headlights" in order to have full LED, but after some research, I suspect that the car would have full LED anyway, even without the option. Am I right?

From what I understand, the only change of 645 option seems to be that the lights are "bending" 15º, so now I'm hesitating if choosing it or not...
Is this the only difference or are there more changes? It doesn't seem to be much for a 500 GBP option...

At the beginning I was thinking that it was some "intelligent" system as I think other Volvos have, able to turn off only a part of the headlights if a car is in front of you, but I guess this system is not available for the V40. Is it correct?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 09:34 AM
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The current UK brochure shows that the LED headlamps are standard-fit across the range.
http://www.volvocars.com/uk/~/media/...-pricelist.pdf
The MY17 user manual does still show both halogen and LED headlamps so I'm assuming that in some markets the LED lamps are still an option (or possibly not available due to legal issues).

The Active Bending headlamps was an additional option on the previous model years for the Xenon headlamps, so it looks like it's been carried forward for the LED headlamps. In the UK it's only avaialble as part of the Winter Plus pack. The other feature you mention is Active High Beam, which automatically switches between high and dipped beam if the car detects an approaching vehicle. This is part of the Intellisafe Pro pack in the UK (along with the laine keeping aid, BLIS, Road sign recognition, Adaptive Cruise etc). It is also part of the Driver Support option (a subset of the features form the Intellisafe Pro pack) with the rain sensor/auto wipers as a prerequisite option.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot!

I will try to get some confirmation from the dealer, but it definitively looks like the option is just the same LED headlights but bending. For around 500 GBP, I don't think it's worth...Is it?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 09:01 PM
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From the sounds of it Australian-spec V40s pretty much follow the UK spec (which is probably not surprising). All Aussie-spec MY17 V40s have the LED headlights. However they are fixed and the Active Bending LED headlights are an extra cost factory option. In some respects this is actually a backward step from pre-MY17 V40s where the higher spec V40s had the adaptive Xenon headlights as standard.

As the name suggest, active bending headlights slightly turn with the turning of the steering wheel. Very useful for lighting up the side of the road on sweeping bends on the open road at night. For me they are worth the extra cost but then we do a fair bit of country driving at night. If you don't do that much country road driving at night then just the standard fixed LED headlights would probably suffice. And yes I understand the actual LED headlights in both the standard fixed LED headlights and the optional active bending headlights are the same.

With the Active High Beam (as with UK spec part of an optional Driver Support pack), my understanding of how they work is a little different. Rather than automatically switching between high and low beam, the lights actually stay on high beam the whole time and parts of the beam are mechanically shaded out as required for both oncoming and preceding traffic. Great idea. Again very useful at night on country roads where normally when you dipped your high beam you lost illumination of the side of the road. Again I'm biased because of the amount of country driving I do.

Tony
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by brissim View Post
With the Active High Beam (as with UK spec part of an optional Driver Support pack), my understanding of how they work is a little different. Rather than automatically switching between high and low beam, the lights actually stay on high beam the whole time and parts of the beam are mechanically shaded out as required for both oncoming and preceding traffic. Great idea. Again very useful at night on country roads where normally when you dipped your high beam you lost illumination of the side of the road. Again I'm biased because of the amount of country driving I do.
Thanks Tony!

So you have all these options in your car? Can you confirm if the active high beam actually behaves like being always in high beam but shading only the part where the other cars are (like in the photo)?


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brissim View Post
With the Active High Beam (as with UK spec part of an optional Driver Support pack), my understanding of how they work is a little different. Rather than automatically switching between high and low beam, the lights actually stay on high beam the whole time and parts of the beam are mechanically shaded out as required for both oncoming and preceding traffic. Great idea.
That's exactly how the Xenon headlight units work. The xenon lamp provides both high and low beam by means of an electromechanical shutter that blocks off part of the high beam to provide the low beam pattern. However, even on the Xenon headlights the bulk of the high beam illumination is provided by a pair of halogen bulbs that work alongside the xenon bulb.

As well as activating the shutter on the xenon lamp, the Active High Beam function also turns the halogen bulbs off. You can see it in action in this video of a 2015 V60 (when the car detects the headlamps of the oncoming vehicle it turns the halogen bulbs off and the beam pattern of the xenon lamp changes):
https://youtu.be/EW04-tdNPpM?t=1m50s
If you go back to the start of the video you can see the Active bending function in action too.

Last edited by buzby; 06-12-2016 at 12:34 AM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 11:13 PM
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Thanks Tony!

So you have all these options in your car? Can you confirm if the active high beam actually behaves like being always in high beam but shading only the part where the other cars are (like in the photo)?
The Active High Beam function is not on all the time the headlamps are illuminated - it's only active if it's enabled in the car's menu and you have the high beams illuminated via the column stalk. The 'normal' state of the headlamps when they are turned on on (either on manually or Auto mode) is dipped/low beams.

As mentioned in my post above, on the Xenon hesdlamps at least the AHB function turns off the halogen main beam bulbs and activates the shutters on the xenon bulbs, so it goes totally to low beam until the approaching vehicle passes. It doesn't just blank a portion of the high beam.

Judging by the videos of LED headlamps on the current XC90 (which are similar to the MY17 V40s) they appear to work slightly differently. There are 4 LED light units in each headlamp that are aimed to different points and the Active High Beam feature appears to turn the individual lamp units on and off depending on where the traffic appears in it's vision sensor.
My impression after watching that video is I would find the sections of the beam pattern turning on and off a bit annoying, but maybe you would get used to it after a while

Last edited by buzby; 06-12-2016 at 12:36 AM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2016, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ElClasico View Post
Thanks Tony!

So you have all these options in your car? Can you confirm if the active high beam actually behaves like being always in high beam but shading only the part where the other cars are (like in the photo)?
...............
I don't have a MY17 V40. I do have on order a MY17 V60CC T5 AWD. Plenty of experience in past Volvos and my current X3 with the active bending headlights and - again based on the amount of country nighttime driving I do - wouldn't be without the bending lights whether they be LED or xenons.

With the adaptive high beams, other than what I've seen a similar videos, I don't have any first hand experience of the system on a Volvo (I will have it on the V60 I have on order). However I have spent some time in a BMW X3 with a similar setup (shading of the LED headlights) and the blocking out of traffic does work - up to a point. I would expect it to be similar with the Volvos. However the system is not perfect. Its a camera-based system which rely on the headlights of on-coming cars and the tail-lights of preceding cars being in direct line of sight in front of you. Anyone who does nighttime driving on a darkened road can always see on-coming traffic coming - whether that be around a bend or over a rise in the roadway. And the courteous thing to do is to dip your high beam before the on-coming car/truck/etc actually comes into actual view directly ahead of you. The auto high beam doesn't work like that - it has to wait until the actual lights of the on-coming car is in view before it acts to dip or shade the high beam. This can result is the high-beam in the eyes of the on-coming driver for what seems like a second or two before it reacts. In the time with the X3 I was repeatedly being flashed by on-coming traffic where it comes round a bend or over the top of a rise. You will notice that in all of the demonstration videos (at least the ones I've seen) the demonstration of the auto high beam is usually on a nice straight stretch of road or on a very gentle curve of a motorway.

So again whether the system will be of any use to yourself will depend upon your driving situation. But if like at least like the UK and Australian market, the active high beam is not a standalone option but is part of a Driver Support pack which does contain such goodies as BLIS (much better these days), adaptive cruise control and speed sign reading. I would get the Driver Support package simply for those items and the adapative high beam would be just a bonus.

Tony
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-12-2016, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again!

I've been talking to the dealer and he has told me that the bending lights are more powerful than the standard LED ones. Is it truth or not, I don't know...

Since I don't drive a lot during the night, I've finally decided not to take the option.
500 GBP and adding another moving mechanical thing that can eventually break helped me a bit...
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