LAS VEGAS--When a manufacturer of headlights and auxiliary lights shows you its newest products, it's probably not a good idear to look directly into the light.
Sylvania isn't shy about boasting that it is the leader in automotive lighting technology, but I'll admit that I wasn't expecting to be wowed by a bunch of light bulbs. I was, quite literally, dazzled.
Once the after-image had cleared from my vision, it was explained to me that the new Slyvania Silverstar zXe line of aftermarket replacement headlight bulbs attempts to mimic the ultra white light of HID headlamps using a halogen/xenon bulb. This means that these bulbs maintain the DOT approved light pattern for street legality. The zXe line builds on the manufacturer's Silverstar and Silverstar Ultra lines of replacement bulbs with a new nanotech blue coating that shifts the color temperature of the light closer to pure white without an appreciable drop off in luminance.
Sylvania states that even with this slight luminance compromise, the human eye is more sensitive to the whiter light so night visibility is still enhanced. In the side-by-side demo that I was given, the zXe light certainly looked brighter than the Silverstar Ultra, which in turn looked brighter still than the OEM bulb. If the extreme "zXe" name didn't tip you off, Sylvania is aiming this new line of bulbs at the tuner crowd (which is further illustrated in the video below.)
In addition to its halogen/xenon lighting products, Sylvania also showed off an array of LED-based lighting products, including OE map light and license plate light replacement bulbs that glow brighter and whiter while, ideally, lasting for the life of the vehicle. There was also an example of an LED daytime running light (DRL) replacement that that filters a line of LED bulbs through an acrylic filter to create a solid pipe of light, rather than the connect-the-dots look that is the signature of current LED DRL implementations.
I was also given demonstrations of two LED-based primary lighting solutions, including a sealed beam headlamp replacement that utilizes downward firing LEDs to illuminate a large reflector that is the same size as older round or rectangular sealed beam lamps. The result is both traditional, but also slightly high-tech looking. Sylvania thinks this product will be a hit with customizers of older vehicles (such as Jeeps or roadsters) that require these larger lights. I was also shown an LED fog lamp replacement for BMW motorcycles that throws a beam of light that is extremely wide laterally, but quite narrow vertically (which is exactly the pattern that you want for a fog light application).