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If the reflector is faulty it will be not nice and silvery and shiny but dull and corroded however it is unlikely to be the reflector. If you have a known working bulb of the old type, disconnect the connector and connect it to that. You can leave the bulb hanging in space, it's only going to be on for a few seconds.
Do not to handle the bulb envelope or let it touch anything (put a clean tissue over it).
Test it by switching on lights for a quick look and if it's not obvious then do the same on the other side to compare. Doing it that way will save you from handling the xenon lamps.
In answer to your question, if the xenon lamp is the same wattage as the original it should make no difference, but if it's a higher wattage or gets significantly hotter than the original, that could cause the connector to become charred and high resistance, but that should be obvious on a visual inspection of the connector. Other than that I agree it could be a poor earth, you can check that with a multimeter or a test lead from the earth side of the lamp to battery -ve. Don't do that unless you know what you are doing, if you get the wrong pin there will be a big flash and some expletives!
Currently in wozz's garage:
2000 Clio 1.4 8v sport