They say that greatness is never born; it is created. And though this holds true for the Mercedes Benz 190E, one cannot neglect the fact that this vehicle had glimpses of brilliance right out of the gate. The 190E was part of the third Mercedes Benz model series, which came in the form of a compact, four-door vehicle. This automobile was highly anticipated, and upon its release into the market, the 190E clearly justified the hype. In terms of design, engine materials, and suspension, this car was clearly in a class of its own.
1982: The birth of a game-changer
The 190E (E for Einspritzung or Fuel Injection) was very powerful and more fuel efficient when compared to non-fuel injected 190 models. Also known as the “baby Benz”, the 190E was the first “small” vehicle released by Mercedes.
1983-1988: Fine-tuning a champion
The September of 1983 marked the debut of the Mercedes Benz’s smallest vehicle at the Frankfurt Auto show. Its unveiling came with much excitement following the Nardo speed record. In 1984, the 190E 2.3 16V won the supporting race of the Germany-hosted F1 races, which were held at the brand-new Nurburgring racetrack. The 190E was available only in black-blue and smoke silver at the time. Interestingly enough, the 1984 Mercedes 2.3-16V models are slightly different from the 2.3-16V models produced in 1985. Some differences include the windshield wiper being positioned on the right instead of the left and the wiper arm including two small wipers rather than one large one.
The engine went through numerous improvements in order to yield more power. In 1986, a catalytic converter became option, with the engine producing 170 bhp. The 190Es manufactured for the US market came with a slightly reduced compression ratio and offered 167 bhp at 5800 rpm and 220 Nm at 4750 rpm. The engine also came equipped with an oil cooler that boosted engine performance.
The 190E was also given a manual five-speed Getrag gearbox for a more versatile performance. And to improve stability and traction, the 190E was standard fitted with 32% limited slip differential. Better braking and fuel capacity were other upgrades.
1988-1993: Ending with a bang
In 1988, the fastest version of the 190 was introduced. Soon after, the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1989. This vehicle provided some serious driving power and improved suspension. The production of this vehicle ended in 1993, but it definitely went out on its shield.