Another new feature are the slightly inclined, low-height main headlight strips on the Nuvolari quattro. They make use of an entirely new technology – super-bright high-performance light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This is where, once again, Audi’s typical groundbreaking design principles and its proverbial “Vorsprung durch Technik” combine.
Revolutionary: The LED headlights
LED headlights allow the designer more freedom, since they need less installation space than conventional ones. The cooled high-end lights, 18 on each side, are located much nearer the surface of the cover, which has also been reduced in size, so that the entire front end or the car is more harmonious in its styling.
LED – these three letters not only signify progress for the designers but also offer solid advantages such as longer life and energy consumption ten times lower than that of conventional bulbs.
As if this were not enough, LED technology offers further future potential. In a future development stage, LED headlights will make dynamic cornering beams possible without the need for movable parts in the system. The width and direction of the beam can be specifically adjusted by activating more light elements electronically.
More light on a dark night: adaptive LED rear lights with infrared sensors
LEDs are also used for the rear lights, brake lights and flashing turn indicators. The infrared sensors for the rear lights are revolutionary. They identify dirt on the covers and external factors such as spray or fog. The electronic control system increases the brightness steplessly in response to sensor impulses if required by outside conditions. This is an important step towards better visibility and, ultimately, a safer journey in all weather conditions.
The braking lights and flashers benefit additionally from the LED’s shorter response time. Whereas it takes conventional bulbs around 200 milliseconds to reach their full brightness, LEDs need less than one millisecond.
At the rear of the car too, LEDs provide the designers with additional styling options, since they require less space.
The LED lights I used are Luxeon 1-watt LED Rings. There are 6 LEDs on each ring. You can look up their info and buy them through www.luxeon.com. That Audi car uses luxeons as well. They have 5-watt luxeon LEDs that produce 120 lumens a piece (which would only require 10 to make a typical 1200-lumen headlight). The ones I have are 25 lumens a piece for a total of 125 lumens for each headlamp. The luxeon ring arrays come with secondary optics to make a tighter beam.
I use the LEDs as daytime running lights much like the new Audi A6 (I think). The picture of that Audi's headlight assembly is posted earlier in this thread. They turn on with my parking lights, but I have them rigged to turn back off when my lowbeam headlights are on because at night, the LEDs are actually a little too bright for oncoming traffic.
The HIDs I used are from www.hidtech.com and they are bi-xenon. A solenoid controls the shield that creates the cut-off in the beam pattern so that oncoming drivers aren't blinded. When I turn on my highbeams, the solenoid activates and the shield is pulled out of the way, allowing the full beam to pass through the projector lens. These projector modules are OEM Audi equipment and are made by Hella.
I had to completely disassemble my headlight housings and take out the halogen reflector cup. The mounts are similar, but I had to "fabricate" my own metal bracket to mount the projectors. There are three mounts: A horizontal adjusting mount, a vertical adjusting mount, and a pivot mount. Two of the mounts lined up on my HID projectors, but I had to make a bracket for the third mount. I used those PCI expansion slot cover plates on the back of an old computer case for the bracket. I used two for each bracket, sandwiched and bolted them together, bent them with a vice, and drilled holes for mounting. Anyone with some metal-shop and welding experience could probably do a better job than I did!
I'm not sure how the intrepid headlight assemblies look on the inside. There are separate bulbs for high and low beams and the reflector cups are connected. You aim both the high and low beams by the same adjusting screws so I don't know what the mounting pattern looks like.
This project was quite challenging, so I bought an aftermarket set of headlights to do this project. I worked on them while still using my stock headlights. It was quite frustrating and hopeless at times, but they eventually worked out and I can't see myself going back to halogens ever again.