Project E90 M3 LED Angel Eye Cover

Project E90 M3: Part 3 – LED Angel Eyes

by Billy Johnson

Our E90 M3 is starting to look a bit dated now that its twin turbo successor is on the streets.  We turned to our friends at European Auto Source to help us update the look of our M3 by replacing the Angel Eyes’ original yellow halogen bulbs with a set of bright white EAS H8 LED bulbs that will give our M3 the modern look it deserves.

If you follow Project E90 M3, you know that we focused on power without much attention to the car’s cosmetics.  While we have increased our power by 51whp over stock with test pipes and a tune; we now turn our attention to improving our M3’s aesthetics.

The iconic “Angel Eyes” headlamps have been synonymous with BMW ever since their introduction in the E39 5-Series sedan 15 years ago.  Until recently, all OEM Angel Eyes have been powered by halogen bulbs which emit a brownish yellow light that give the car a dated look; especially when compared to most high end modern cars that have extremely bright LED daytime running lights.  Because of this, there is a pretty large aftermarket industry that caters to improving the “Angel Eyes” look and performance with brighter, improved, colored halos, and even retrofits and copies used in other brand cars.  Even BMW has got with the times and are finally use LED “Halos” which emit a very pure white light.


Yellow Angel EyesLike most headlights, high beams, and daytime running lights, the OEM Angel Eyes use an H8 halogen bulb which typically has a 3,000K temperature rating and emits a yellow light that gives cars a dated look.
LED lights in the boxEuropean Auto Source provided us with a set of EAS H8 LED bulbs with a 6,500K temperature for a bright, white light.  EAS now sells the newer “V5” which is color adjustable with 9 settings ranging from 5,000K to 12,000K temperature ratings simply by flicking a switch on the power supply.

The EAS H8 Angel Eyes are the premium LED angel eyes for BMWs and offer the highest brightness of any LED angel eye in a 100% plug and play setup that requires no cutting, drilling, or modifying of the headlight.  Unlike cheaper kits, the LEAS system is fully fused and has absolutely no radio interference or dimming in any of the headlight modes since the OEM angel eyes dim slightly when stepping down in voltage and brightness in various running modes.

The V3 produces well over 800 lumens for each light (1,600 lumens total) which equals 80 watts of light, which is slightly more than the stock bulb’s 35 watt rating.  The V3’s 6,500K pure white temperature rating was right where we wanted so we did not opt for the adjustable “V5” which is 1.7-times brighter than stock in the daytime with its higher 1,200 lumen per light output.


Front YellowFrom the front, the yellow light gives our 2009 M3 a dated look that makes the car feel a decade older.  Eye-level is one of the few angles where you can see the halos fully lit without the outer ring dropping out.
E9X Angel Eye DiagramDiving in to the E9X’s angel eyes, you can see that the outer rings are illuminated by fiber optic lines, while the inner rings are lenses.  The H8 bulb shines directly through the inside of the lens while having to make a 90-degree turn to light up the outer rings.  This is why the inner rings tend to be much brighter than the outer rings and aren’t angle-dependent.  From various angles, the outer rings often do not look completely lit.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015 10:54 AM
Cool to learn how the angel eyes work, always enjoy your articles. I had no idea they were fiber optic. Unrelated question but have you done an oil analysis on this car? I know the Yost guys said their bearings were not too great even though the car was low mileage. Also curious what oil you are using.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 6:58 PM
Thank you, I'm glad you have enjoyed them. We had samples from our last 3 oil changes analyzed (now with over 60K on the clock) and our results have been extremely positive. Thanks for the idea of a future installment of Project E90 M3!
Friday, July 31, 2015 12:15 AM
Normally, I'm not that into cosmetic upgrades but after seeing the new cars on the streets the LED DRLs really do make the cars more visible, especially at dusk. The diffuse light beams help delineate the boundaries of the vehicles and definitely makes them safer.

Some cool stuff on the horizon:

Your Image

Specialty Light Shaping Diffuser film applied to an embossed chrome film reflector creates an alluring optical pattern
Friday, July 31, 2015 6:31 AM
Goddamn what an improvement, but how did the angel eyes make what appeared to be the low beams so much better? Can't decide if I went full retard reading the article, seemed at first the angel eyes tapped off of the low beam bulbs but later seemed like they took their own? Either way those cars should have come stock that way.
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