Mercedes 190 E 2.3-16 Review

190 E

The Mercedes 190 E was in itself a small revolution for the brand to the star that went down in range to expand its market. Launched in September 1982, it proposed a resolutely modern style and yet totally in tune with the stylistic trend.



Engine: 4 cylinders in lines, 16 valves

Displacement: 2299 cm3

Food: KE-Jetronic Bosch Injection

Power: 185 horses at 6200 rpm

Couple: 235 Nm at 4500 rpm


Driving wheels: Propulsion (32% self-locking)

Gearbox: Manual 5 (rarely automatic)


Front brakes: Ventilated discs (+ ABS)

Rear brakes: Solid discs (+ ABS)

Wheels / Tires

Rims: 15 inches

Pneumatic: 205-55 VR 15


Length: 4420 mm

Width: 1678 mm

Height: 1390 mm

Unloaded weight: 1220 kg


Max speed: 230 km / h

Production: 19487 copies, 1984-1988

With the baby-Benz, Mercedes tried to rejuvenate its image. Not only, without doubt to reach a new clientele, but also to regain a touch of sportiness that was missing a bit. With the introduction of the 190 e 2.3-16 to the IAA in Frankfurt on 1983, Mercedes introduced the concept of the sport family sedan.

At that time, Daimler-Benz knew how to build reliable, big and torquey engines, but lacked experience in a sporty and raging engine. There had been the amazing 450 SEL 6.9 in the 70s, but the 190 E 2.3-16 was another philosophy. And for that, Mercedes appealed to an English wizard whose fame began to be well established: Cosworth!

For if the 190 E 2.3-16 inaugurated a series of “Marcos” sports incarnated in the 90s by the C36 AMG, the time was not yet the collaboration with the German pharmacy. And in a way, to call on the English of Cosworth allowed remaining discreet on the origin of the modifications made to the M102 developing at base 136 horses.

At the British engine, the M102 (a 4-cylinder) received a new 16-valve cylinder head, a mechanical injection Bosch KE-Jetronic, an oil cooler, and various modifications to obtain a power of interest for the time of 185 horses (for 1220 kg) allowing a 230 km / h peak and 0 to 100 in 7.5 seconds. For the transmission, Mercedes will opt for a manual transmission and get to his countryman Getrag: the 5-speed gearbox has the distinction of being reversed, with the 1st down. 2.3-16 was of course propulsion.

Despite the very massive Mercedes style, the 2.3-16 and its few aerodynamic appendages had an excellent CX of 0.32! But, it is true that his style trend “tuning” (admittedly discreet) cut with the Mercedes production. Then, as if working on a new market allowed some eccentricities. But, when you know the heirs 2.5 Evo, we cannot help but find the “16s” relatively sober. And then, it was a time, the automobile in Germany in the 80s: it was in Germany that the tuning was born.

In addition to its 185 strong horses respectable at the time, the 2.3 could boast of a handling particularly effective for propulsion. Already the W201 had been able to benefit from a big engineering work and a consequent investment. But the “16S”  added a little more serious to take advantage of the Nags revealed by Cosworth. Due to rigorous and agile, the 2.3 proved to be an excellent sport sedan. From now on, in the ranges of the manufacturers, one would find sedans “16 valves”, “Turbo” or simply “sporty”, discreet but powerful.

It was in September 1984 that the production of the 2.3-16 series began. And then, in May of the same year, Mercedes had organized a race of 2.3 with all the great F1 champions of the moment. An event that will be remembered, with Ayrton Senna back as a clock. Despite a salty fare, and an austere interior, the 190 E 2.3-16 met its audience. Produced until June 1988, it will run to 19 487 copies. And, continues today to make dream the busts. Then, pushed up its rating.

In 1988, Mercedes changed the model by increasing the engine capacity, becoming the 190 E 2.5-16 and winning a few horses: a story coming soon on Red Box and its rare derivatives EVO 1 and EVO 2.

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