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The great BMW 3 E46 headlight page

BMW 3 E46 Headlights

Do you own a BMW 3 E46, and you want to know exactly which headlight you have and what options are available to repair and improve your headlights? Don’t look further, because this is where we will explain it once and for all.
The BMW 3 E46 was and still is a very popular car. With probably the best headlights for Bi-xenon projector retrofits since the front lens can simply be removed by unclipping it. Some of us retrofitters wish they designed all headlights like this.

You can find 12 different E46 headlights on the market, made by 2 different headlight manufacturers. Due to all the options, here’s a list.

Model Manufacturer Type
E46 compact (all years) AL Halogen H7
AL Bi-xenon D2S
E46 saloon/wagon/ coupe/convertible Pre-facelift (1998-2001) AL Halogen H7
AL Single xenon D2S
AL Bi-xenon D2S
E46 saloon/wagon Facelift (2001-2005) AL Halogen H7
ZKW Halogen H7
AL Single xenon D2S
ZKW Bi-xenon D2S
AL Bi-xenon D2S
E46 coupe Facelift (2003-2006) AL Halogen H7
AL Bi-xenon

Which manufacturer? (ZKW or AL)

If you have an E46 saloon or wagon with xenon lights, you might not instantly recognize which headlight you have because they are almost similar on the outside. But here’s how to find out. You can find the manufacturer of you headlight via the logo on the front of the headlight (ZKW) or the sticker on top;

  • Logo: Check the logo on the front of your headlight lens (see picture below).
  • Sticker: Check the sticker on top of the housing. A white/silver label is a ZKW headlight, a yellow label is AL. Don’t be confused with the smaller WARNING sticker because this sticker is yellow on both headlights.

ZKW headlight BMW 3 E46

Single or bi-xenon AL headlights?

When you have AL headlights there is a simple way to see if they are single or bi-xenon. The bi-xenon version’s notches are not fully circular, there are no notches above the projector.
While the single xenon has smaller projectors and the notches are also added above the projector.
In addition see the example pictures below; Left: Bi-xenon. Right: single xenon.

Left: Bi-xenon. Right: single xenon.

What to buy?

Now you know what type of headlight you have and the brand, you can find our solutions here;

For the halogen headlight (AL or ZKW) this is the bi-xenon conversion kit;
BMW E46 Halogen to bi-xenon

For the AL single xenon headlight this is the bi-xenon

Aharon halogen to bi-xenon kit conversion kit
BMW E46 Halogen headlight to bi-xenon

AL single xenon to bi-xenon conversion kit;
BMW E46 AL single xenon to bi-xenon

For the ZKW bi-xenon headlight this is the Aharon bi-xenon repair / replacement kit;
BMW E46 ZKW bi-xenon kit

For the AL bi-xenon headlight this is the Aharon bi-xenon repair / replacement projector;
BMW E46 AL bi-xenon projectors

This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. Hola quiero comprar xenon para mi 330cd e46 del 2003. No se cual comprar. Por favor necesito ayuda. Un saludo y muchas gracias.

  2. Hola de nuevo, el modelo a reemplazar es el:
    – Xenon bombilla D2s, bmw – 330d – 4puertas – e46 año 2003.
    Por favor, indique modelo a comprar o informacion que necesita.
    Muchas gracias un saludo.

  3. The only difference I can see between the single xenon and the bi-xenon in the picture is that one has a ‘cut off’ line across the lens, and the other does not. Or is that the ‘notch’ you are referring to ?

    1. The lens is smaller of the single xenon, and the shape of the shroud is different because of that.

  4. Hi i hope you can help, i have a European 2000 e46 convertible with bosch al headlamps and the output in terrible, less than halogen main beam. Could you please advise on what i would need to order to change the projectors are im assuming they are past it. Many thanks

    1. Hi Rob,
      We can certainly help, do you have the single xenon or bi-xenon headlights? Please reply to us on
      Thanks, Wouter @

  5. Hi.I´ve got a E46 330D 2004 with ZKW Bi Xenon.Which one i need to boy?.Will it work propeerly in Bixenon mode,I mean,in normal mode and in high beam mode?



    1. Hi, if you have the ZKW headlights with bi-xenon function than this is the right kit for your car 🙂
      ZKW KIT

      This kit inlcudes eveything you will be needing to do a proper install! 🙂

  6. I have 2004 325ci vert, which headlights do I have? Last 7 of vin pl31583

    1. Hi, thanks for your message. I cannot tell you, sorry 🙁 Can you tell me if you have xenon or halogen?

  7. I have a BMW 320i e46 with xenon headlights, i can change my actual headlights (xenon) to the normal ones with no xenon?

    1. Probably that’s possible. Why would you want to do that?

  8. I have a BMW 3.16i E46, I would like to have LED instead of Xenon. How would you change this?

    1. Hi, do you have halogen headlights?

  9. I have a 2003 330ci convertible, according to your exclamation above I have AL bi-xenon lamps, with the washers, one or the other is always out. What replacement lamps do you recommend? Also, the cost? Thanks

  10. for the e46 compact i have to use a d2s projector converted to mini h1?

    1. Do you already have xenon projectors? If so, than you need the Bosch E46 projectors: BOSCH E46 If you have the halogen headlights you will be needing the Mini H1 projectors: BMW E46 Mini H1

  11. Are the headlight lens from AL and ZKW interchangeable??

    In other words, is there any difference between the headlight plastic lens from of these two brands?


  12. Hello, I have a 2002 m3 that has halogens. The car was manufactured in 2001. Is it possible to replace the entire headlight assemblies with oem single xenon? I understand that the car will need recoding, but will it need a wire harness or will it be plug and play?

    Any info will help, thanks -Joe

  13. Thanks for finally talking about >The great BMW 3 E46 headlight page | Retrofitlab Blog <Liked it!

  14. Hi
    I have a 2 door convertible E46 330cd (facelift model) from 2005.
    I ordered a set of Ahron miniH1. I am now worried I ordered the wrong projectors for my car after reading all the messages above.
    Can you confirm these will fit my car?

    1. Hi,

      Can you please tell me if you have already xenon headlights or the OEM halogen headlights?

  15. Hi do the headlights from an E46 facelift convertible fit an E46 facelift coupe? thx

  16. I have a 2004 330i ZHP I’m wanting aftermarket headlights since my passenger headlight Xenon is burnt inside and this causes the xenon light itself to be dull and not bright, suggestions on aftermarket options

    1. We do have a lot of repair kits for the original headlights, so you don’t need completely new headlights. Aftermarket headlights usually have a poor light output/pattern.

  17. Hi I have a problem with my headlights, the plastic casement has gone brittle and we can’t adjust the levels.
    Is there anywhere you can just buy a new casement and just refit my internals.


    1. Sorry, we do not offer spare parts for OEM headlights.. 🙁 But perhaps on Ebay?

  18. I replaced my left light xenon with another AL light and the left side of the light is straight and there is one fewer connection on the back. Any idea what fixture I received for my 2003 E46 330i ZHP?

  19. Hello i em trying to sort uot what i need to order to rebuild my lights shame i cant post the pic here so you could fond out what i have and i could order what i need

    1. Hi, please send us a message on info @ so we can take a look.

  20. Hi, I am bit confused. According to your table all E46 coupe facelift have bi-xenon? I just bought coupe facelift headlight to do a facelift conversion in my car and I think they are not bi-xenon. There is projector lens but inside there is a normal light bulb like in halogen. How can I tell if the lens itself is for bi-xenon or not? Or were they actually coupe facelift without xenon but with halogen projector (?). Or are they still bi-xenon but someone simply took out the xenon bulbs and put halogen bulb there?

    1. You can not tell from the bulb if the projector is bi-xenon or not, the mechanism is in the projector not in the bulb.

      However you are correct there are also halogen headlights for the E46 coupe facelift. We have a kit for the halogen headlights as well, you can find it here.

  21. I know it’s 2020 now but I had ordered a pair of halos for my 2002 325i and I had to return them because mine are hid xenon from the factory what would be some good after market lights for me?

  22. Hola . Tengo un bmw 320d del 2004. Tengo luces xenon (o bi-xenon) d2s pero los proyectores estan “quemados”. que kit o componentes deberia de comprar?.
    Muchas gracias.

    1. Consulte la información anterior (o utilice el traductor de Google para traducirla :-). Es importante conocer la marca, ZKW o AL y si es xenón simple o bi-xenón.

      1. Hola Roan. Mi foco creo que es ZKW y por lo que he leido muy probablemente sea xenon, no bi-xenon. Entiendo que el único producto posible es el kit de ZKW a bi-xenon. ¿Estoy en lo correcto? Gracias.

  23. Hello,

    I have a 2005 330ci ZHP and am trying to return the headlights back to stock. How can I tell which lights it was optioned with? To my knowledge, not all ZHP’s were bi-xenon. Thanks!

    1. Nice car 🙂 Maybe you can find it via checking the options via the VIN number (single xenon / bi-xenon), you could also try by asking in a E46 group/forum 🙂

  24. I have a 2003 325i wagon with the factory hids Is there a lot (edit: kit) to convert to halogen?

    1. We do have a kit, but it is important that you know which headlight you have, the single xenon or bi-xenon, and if it’s made by ZKW or AL (bosch). In this blogpost, you can find how you can identify your version and which kit is suitable.

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