It was nicknamed Baby Benz and it turned out to be the foundation stone that would cement its official return to motorsport.
It was nicknamed Baby Benz and it turned out to be the foundation stone that would cement its official return to motorsport. A year later, the factory developed a sports version called 190 E 2.3-16, and Cosworth’s experience was optimal to power the 190 M 102 2300cc 4-cylinder engine. The 16-valve alloy cylinder head with dual overhead camshafts and mechanically / electronically controlled gasoline injection increased power to 185 hp at 6200 rpm. This was combined with a five Getrag “dogleg” manual gearbox and multi-link rear suspension.
Initially, Mercedes wanted to compete with the 190 E in the World Rally Championship and repeat the successes achieved with the 450 SLC V8, but the dominance imposed by the all-wheel drive Audi Quattro left almost no chance for any two-wheel drive car. Racing on circuits was then the best decision, and the reopening of the Nürburgring circuit in May 1984 was the ideal occasion to present the 190 E 2.3-16 in its natural habitat. Mercedes-Benz organized the “Race of Champions”, a 12-lap competition for 20 world-class drivers, including several former and future Formula 1 champions. A young Ayrton Senna was the winner, followed by Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann.
Its German rivals -Audi, BMW and Opel- produced increasingly competition-oriented versions in order to homologate them, so any driver who accessed these limited editions had more powerful engines, optimized suspensions and aerodynamic kits developed in wind tunnels.
Mercedes-Benz then understood that he had to bet big and put aside the typical German sobriety to get into the ring and fight with the best. A major change took place at the end of 1988 when the engineers increased the displacement to 2500 cc and the engine power from 185 hp to 194 hp. This new engine served as the basis for presenting a more aggressive version in terms of performance and design at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1989: the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution.
Under the hood, the improvements were noticeable. The rev limiter climbed to 7250 rpm, compared to 7000 rpm on the previous engine. It reached 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h. For better acceleration, the rear differential ratio was shortened, and a sport exhaust was fitted. There was also a 225 hp AMG Power Pack available for the Evolution which allows it to climb up to 7700 rpm, with a top speed of 236 km/h and 7.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h. It is estimated that of the 502 units manufactured, less than 30 were upgraded with the AMG Pack, which makes them true rarities.
The body exhibited more muscle thanks to the new front spoiler, larger wheel arches, redesigned rear spoiler and 16-inch aluminum wheels. This also allowed the incorporation of larger diameter brake discs. The suspension offered higher stiffness values, which contributed to better dynamic behavior at high speeds. Mercedes also offered the possibility of adjusting its height through a switch located in the cabin in which the leather upholstery stood out. In just three months, 502 units of the 190 Evolution were built, all of them in metallic Blue-Black paint. Its commercialization lasted only one year; in 1990 it was replaced by the brutal Evolution II.
Maintenance performed by Squadra Lupo:
– Original engine never opened. Compression measurement of each cylinder guaranteed. – Repair of the front spoiler.
– Paint restoration
-Wheel Refinishing – Full Set
-Change of oil, filters and fluids
-Wet Sand & Polish / Paint Correction – Full Vehicle,
-Including multiple Touch-Ups
-Rear Body Panel – Repair & Refinish