Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

New M3 with Matrix headlights a life saver last night

I wanted to provide a quick post/feedback regarding my experience last night with our brand new M3LR and the Matrix Headlights. If you have been following this thread 2022 Q2 production Model 3 missing matrix headlights? of which I have been actively involved, with the recent changes to M3’s, where some were now coming with the older reflector headlights, I have been actively involved since this all occurred right before we were going to pick up our M3. I want to be clear, I dont want or mean this to become a argument thread about reflector vs matrix, they are both very good, but just wanted to share an update, especially since the headlights became unfortunately very critically needed on our very first major drive/outing with our brand new M3, with only 150 miles on the odometer so far . . .

As mentioned in the ‘missing matrix headlights’ thread linked above, I have a unfortunate heath condition which has greatly degraded my night vision. When researching cars for our next purchase, good quality headlights were at the very top of the list. I know that the older reflector style are also very good, top rated, as my brother has one of the very first M3s to roll off the assembly line and I have used his car. I then researched and tested the newer Matrix headlights, and for me they were even better, but both very good, and a huge upgrade from what we had before. So I was very happy when our M3 finally arrived, and had the Matrix headlights.

We unfortunately ended up having to put them to the true test right away. This week, my father in law was given some horrible news that his cancer had returned, and far worse then initially thought. We ended up making a unplanned drive to their place, about 80 miles way, through dark backcountry curvy roads. We ended up staying until very late. I am not a fan of driving at night due to my night vision/health issues, and especially a night like last night, where it was not only very dark, but also pouring down rain. Add in that it was a late hour, and being tired and exhausted from the stress/emotion of the situation. However there also was no way I was going to cut things short and not let my wife spend the much needed time there with her dad and family. When we did finally leave, I was pretty worried, as it was pitch black, raining buckets and there was tons of standing water/road spray. Also really our first big trip in the new Tesla, so still getting used to it, and first time with our dog in the back, and she was still antsy and not yet comfortable. So suffice it to say I was tired, stressed, and worried.

As we got out of town and hit the first real dark area out in the country back roads, we were just blown away- the headlights are absolutely AMAZING- they truely light up the world, and really are effective at piercing a heavy downpour of rain and road spray. I could see really well, the light is so bright but also the matrix makes it very evenly spread out, no hotspots. Combined with a fresh coat of rain-x on the windshield glass, and I was able to easily drive home, and what a relief! Seem crazy to have that big of a life impact such as that on somethign seemingly so ‘trivial’ as a freaking headlight, but it really was. Especially since I anticipate there is going to unfortunately be a lot of late night drives back from her parents house in our near future due to the cancer treatment and care needed. Gives me great comfort too that if my wife drives there solo, as she most likely will have to do on a regular basis to assist with care, she will be safe and secure. . .

Thanks for listening and thanks Tesla for our initial experience in the car to be really good and a much needed literal ‘bright spot’ (pun intended) in an otherwise dark time . . .
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
15,891
20,604
Riverside Co. CA
I have 2 teslas, a 2018 model 3 performance with "the old lights" and a 2022 model Y performance, with "the matrix lights". Putting aside the OPs story here as I am not commenting on that, the new lights are "better" but they are not "worlds better". Neither one of them are as good as the BMWs these cars replaced that had the upgraded lights.

Since I have cars with both of these tesla lights, and drive them on the same roads etc, I feel like I can comment on this.

To be clear, I am not making any pronouncement at all about the OPs experience, just my own direct observation, owning teslas with both of the specific lights discussed.
 
Without measurable metrics this feels more subjective conclusion to me. It’s great that it works for you well. But I never had any single problem with my previous cars without matrix headlight. Although I always had nice cars.
This is my “subjective” reaction to the confirmation of my very objective, many many hours of detailed research and detailed analysis regarding headlights that would work for my situation and medical condition. I have also have had many nice cars, and it is amazing how on some models headlights are a total afterthought. My Cadillac ATS-V comes to mind- badass car, amazing to drive, lots of great features that blow teslas out of the water (Im looking at you, tesla windshield wiper sensors ;-) ) but one thing that is HORRIBLE on the ATS is the headlights. They are laughably bad. So I knew I was getting an upgrade regardless of which Tesla headlights I ended up getting. Spent many hours reviewing the very impressive detailed very objective analysis of many cars headlights from the IIHS - 2022 Tesla Model 3 4-door sedan . Have spent hours reviewing many many models headlights on there- it is both an amazing resource but also a little mind boggling as to the arount of data there.

As i mentioned in the opening paragraph of my original post, “I want to be clear, I dont want or mean this to become a argument thread about reflector vs matrix, they are both very good”. The IIHS reports of the two are very simlilar. This was more just justification/reaction to what I had hoped would be the case- that the upgrade in lights for me has made a world of difference, and a great relief. I am sure i would have felt similar if they were reflectors, as i have ridden with my brother many times with his OG 2018 M3. I believe his car was within the first month or two of M3 production, so truly OG. . .
 
  • Like
Reactions: NoGasNoBrakes
I read that initial caveat that you didn't want this to be an argument thread and applaud the sentiment but, all respect, you included comments which suggest comparison and opened the door (evenly spread out, no hotspots). I know, in comparison to every car I've ever owned or rented, my 2018 Model 3's headlights are the brightest, most evenly distributed, yet gentlest headlights I've ever driven with.

Even though they don't throw so much glare as to reflect back harshly (or blind you when you see them coming toward you on another Model 3), they did prompt quite a few brights flashes from oncoming vehicles during my 1st year road trip. While that could've been because I might've had enough weight in the subtrunk to raise them a bit during the westbound leg, I like to think it's just because they threw such a wide light as to make people think they must be at max (especially since there's no inner/outer bulb configuration). Suffice to say, whether matrix or original, the headlights are, as you pointed out, excellent and far more capable than the FSD (with it's auto brights) seems to think.

Now, if you want to talk about bright, the front turn signals might just go a bit too far but, at least, they don't disable the headlights like on some vehicles and the overbright front signals probably make up for those semi-hidden rear ones.

Sorry about your father-in-law but very happy that your car is ready to keep you and your wife safe for those important visits.
 
At its basic level a car is a tool and it sounds like it did the job well in a stressful situation. If I were to compare both styles of headlights, they both work equally well in nighttime driving situations.

If I had issues with night vision I'd probably get a truck/offroad vehicle outfitted with all the light bars. Throw some additional lights on there for 360 visibility and a winch of course. Ok maybe I just want an off-road ride haha.
 
I went from a 2018 M3 to a new 2022 M3 (with the Matrix headlights) in May. I have 53 years old eyes with poor night vision. I absolutely notice the improvement in the new lights when it comes to throw distance and width of the areas lit up. Driving the same neighborhood with the same corners and streets/intersections, there is an undeniable (for me) overall improvement. That’s MY take on it, and I do a TON of night driving With my 35,000 annual driving mileage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: autobot2021
At its basic level a car is a tool and it sounds like it did the job well in a stressful situation. If I were to compare both styles of headlights, they both work equally well in nighttime driving situations.

If I had issues with night vision I'd probably get a truck/offroad vehicle outfitted with all the light bars. Throw some additional lights on there for 360 visibility and a winch of course. Ok maybe I just want an off-road ride haha.
Ironically our other vehicle is a full size pickup with light bars! ;-). We live in the country and so are able to use the light bars even though it is technically illegal, and are they amazing, light up the world like daylight- I have high quality RIGID lights. Man does it suck to fill with gas though! As mentioned, my previous Cadillac ATS was great, except for the crappy lights. I was able to modify one of RIGIDs ultra compact but still very bright light bars to fit inside the grille underneath the license plate. Had a remote switch in the cabin, and man was that nice! Maybe I need to go about seeing how to install one of their light bars on the Tesla ;-) its only 6”x2”, very compact: SR-SERIES PRO 6" DRIVING Black. Here’s a pic I took of the Caddy right when i sold it to Carvana, you can see the Rigid light bar hidden just underneath the license plate:
B98680D9-92E2-4114-A2E9-6615D18CAA1B.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: oreobbq and tm1v2
Having driven a M3 with matrix lights I can honestly say that they are nowhere near as effective as the matrix lights on my Audi Q5. The Audi is always on high beam but dynamically dims specific segments of the lights depending upon whether other vehicles may be dazzled. For example, I may be following a car so the central portion of the light pattern will be dimmed but I still have full high beam illumination lighting the road far ahead on either side of that car. Whilst Tesla may have the hardware fitted, there is no real benefit without the associated software to realise their full potential. Not holding my breath for it to be available before my MY is delivered.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cmy4x4

holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,442
1,571
eu
I don't know what is Tesla's implementation of "matrix lights".

If we mean the technology where the front lamps are staying on high beam, but carves out other cars in its path, then it is the best improvement to lighting since forever... bigger than going from halogen to high intensity. Every car I've driven with them is fantastic.
 
I don't know what is Tesla's implementation of "matrix lights".

If we mean the technology where the front lamps are staying on high beam, but carves out other cars in its path, then it is the best improvement to lighting since forever... bigger than going from halogen to high intensity. Every car I've driven with them is fantastic.
The Tesla matrix lights don’t have this dynamic capability
 
True. I do't understand the logic behind this unless Elon doesn't want to pay any licensing costs
Up until a few months ago, this wasn't legal in the United States. NHTSA just approved the use of adaptive high beams, so my guess is the software side of things is still in development and it will roll out when its ready.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: cmy4x4
A little hard to tell from that picture, but the darker color makes me think those are matrix. Here is a pic of them side by side- left is matrix, right is older ‘premium’. Matrix has the ’eyeball’ circular projector oun the outside: View attachment 826909
A little hard to tell from that picture, but the darker color makes me think those are matrix. Here is a pic of them side by side- left is matrix, right is older ‘premium’. Matrix has the ’eyeball’ circular projector oun the outside: View attachment 826909
Thank you.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top