1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16

Last week I wrote up a tidy looking 190E 2.3-16, the boxy, 80s DTM-racing inspired version of the W201 from Mercedes that has never really gained the same kind of attention as its obvious competitor, the E30 M3. Perhaps that is changing, as more of these come to market in respectable shape. The general consensus among enthusiasts, however, seems to be that these cars are neither desirable nor fast enough to merit the higher price tags we’re beginning to see. (Once upon a time they were firmly in the sub-$10k category, whereas now sellers seem to want the mid teens and up for non-basket case examples.) But maybe the skeptics will be won over by a an imported 2.5-16 like this one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

While the regular 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth had originally been intended to be a rally car, by the time the company got to producing the “Evolution” models they were fully embroiled in the DTM war of the late 1980s. Massive wings mounted trunklids, fenders flared, and engines roared to new heights of power. While most probably associate the E30 M3 as being the pinnacle of this period, the wildest road-going warrior was the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Mercedes-Benz made 502 of these cars, replete with AMG-tuned motors and enough wings and flares to make an M3 jealous. It should be no surprise that these cars hold a special place in enthusiast’s hearts and they’ve led the market in value because of their very limited nature:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16

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Last Saturday, I went to the local Cars & Coffee with fellow GCFSBer Craig. While there, we met a gentlemen who showed up in a Smoke Silver 190E 2.3-16. Being the Mercedes enthusiasts we are, we had a lengthy conversation about Mercedes we’ve owned and the car amongst us. But revisiting this vehicle in the flesh made me realize what a departure it was from Mercedes of the era. When this Cosworth engined W201 appeared, we were all getting used to the idea of a smaller Mercedes at the time, but were just emerging from the era of the W123 but were still in an age when you could pop on down to your local Mercedes forecourt and buy an R107 SL, a classic design that had been with us for over a decade at that point. So here comes a tuned version of the baby Benz along, designed originally for homologation purposes the rally circuit but wound up competing in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) instead.

These cars competed viciously against the BMW E30 M3 on the track and while the Mercedes wasn’t an outright speed demon in a straight line, they had respectable balance and poise that led them to be a success both on and off the track. These days, they are a downright bargain as compared to what we see E30 M3s pulling in the marketplace. This 190E 2.5-16 for sale by Gruppe H in the Czech Republic is a variant that we did not see in the US market. This engined offered a slight horsepower bump and double-row timing chains to fix issues surrounding the single chains on the 190E 2.3-16 model.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Feature Listing: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 at Gruppe H

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

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The 1980s and early 1990s rare DTM inspired car market is hot right now. The Audi Ur-Quattro now costs more than a loaded up Honda Accord and a BMW E30 M3 in nice shape is about as much as a starter home. The next car that’s on the rise is the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16. For years this was a $5,000-8,500 car. Not anymore. Prices have more than doubled. But this post isn’t about that the lowly 2.3-16. This is about the 2.5-16 Evolution II.  The king W201. About a month ago Paul featured a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II that was listed for $279,000. If you missed out on that one, don’t worry, this 2.5-16 Evolution II for sale outside of London is your second chance at DTM glory — if you have $333,352.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on Fast Classics

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II

A few months ago, I happened to stop by Keenan Mercedes in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. For those not aware, the owner of the dealership has acquired a car similar to the one we see here for sale in California, a 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Those not familiar with this winged beast might mistake it for a gussied up 190E 2.3-16, but it was so much more. While 235 horsepower might not seem like much in this day and age, getting that much grunt from a four-cylinder engine 25 years ago was no mean feat. Add into this mix self-leveling suspension, adjustable rear wing and those tasty Evo alloy wheels and you had a limited production car which would sell out before it went on sale. Expensive when new, prices for these rare Evo IIs are heading through the roof. This one for sale in California has just 10,000 mies on the clock and is surely amongst a handful that have found their way to these shores.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II on Classic Driver

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way: this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E’s asking price is $700,000. No, I’m not joking. For that amount, you could purchase many things; planes, sailboats, vacation homes – all on top of your normal home. You could send many disadvantaged youth through secondary education, or you could feed most of Darfur through the rest of the year. But you’re not into those things, you’re into cars – so what makes this Batmobile-inspired W201 so special? Like the M3 and V8 quattro, it was a DTM star, and like all of the Evolution models they were not imported to the United States. That makes them covetous for marque fans, cars that adorned true racing fan’s walls and imaginations in the late 80s and early 90s, and gives you instant credibility at any European event you turn up to. Well before “Evo” became synonymous with Mitsubishi’s physics-defying Lancer, Evo meant that BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz were attempting to homologate some aero tweaks and a hotter motor to win in the DTM race series. Along with the M3 and Quattro, these were the cars that spawned an entire generation of go-faster flares, vents and wings that can still be seen evolving on the WRX and, aptly named, Lancer Evolution. But while the M3 is a known quantity and the market star of the three big DTM cars from the early 1990s, to me the Mercedes-Benz was the one that really nailed the look with their road going version. The Evolution II looked the business; more aero and extreme than the M3, more special looking than the V8 quattro’s Evo kit, it stood apart from the crowd. All of them were special, but somehow the Evolution II was a bit more special:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on eBay

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1989 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5-16V EVO I

As I have mentioned previously, there are not many Mercedes models that I really lust after. Sure, there are models that I certainly wouldn’t mind driving if someone handed me the keys to them but very few that I really desire. The car you see here is one of those few, in fact it’s at the very top of the list. I would take this car over an SLS, C63 or even the new AMG GT any day because while those cars might be luxurious, pretty and insanely fast, they lack the uniqueness Mercedes and AMG were able to instill in the car you see before you. The 190E 2.5-16 was a rare car to begin with, but in 1989 Mercedes added the Evo I designation to the mix creating a new tier of rare for the brand. Only 502 of these fantastic machines were built and like the regular 2.5 liter equipped 190Es, none of them came to our shores. If you want to own what I consider the coolest Mercedes ever built, you’ll have to import one or move out of the U.S. I hear Portugal is quite nice almost year round.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5 16 Evo I

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1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16

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Some forbidden fruit today, coming to us from Japan via Canada. It’s the beefier 2.5 Cosworth that we never got in the US, bringing with it dual timing chains and 17 extra horsepower. The optioned automatic gearbox is interesting as most 190E 16s came with a dogleg 5-speed to keep the racy feel. The 2.5-liter 16-valve should keep things at a nice pace though, even if it needs some love. The whole car needs some attention, from a few interior and exterior blemishes to the too-low suspension. Sitting on Lorinser monoblocks, though, it’s hard to deny the appeal of this E30 M3 counterpart, especially when you take into account that it will cost at least 75% less than the Bimmer.

Click for more details: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 on eBay

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